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Teachers, parents concerned as study shows students falling behind amid remote learning

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 6:30 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - With nearly half of the school year already in the books, parents say their children are continuing to slip in the classroom.

He’s a Riley High School teacher and a father to three students of his own.

“I’m a Project Lead the Way teacher at Riley High School. I teach engineering and computer science,” Seth Ponder says. “My wife and I have two boys at the elementary level and one at the middle school level.”

And like his kids, Ponder says he has seen the struggle many other students continue to have in a remote learning dependent lifestyle.

“Not just the South Bend students, but this is a nationwide problem where many students are struggling academically,” Ponder says.

According to one of the largest studies on student assessment since the pandemic, research by the NWEA, a national non-profit organization, shows that data from 4.4 million students revealed scores from 3rd-8th grade are slipping in math, dropping 5 to 10 points from where they were this time last year.

NWEA CEO Chris Minnich spoke to 16 News Now on Wednesday to with more on why.

“It’s not that kids are so far behind in mathematics, it’s that they aren’t growing quite as fast which is why we need to pay attention to that as we bring kids back for fourth grade, for fifth grade, or 6th grade that they may have missed something from a previous grade,” Minnich says.

New teachers, new subjects, new material, all while trying to do all of it from home is a difficult task for any student, which is why South Bend mother of two, Arielle Brandy, says her straight-A students are also falling behind.

“They have always done well in school. They’ve always been honor students, straight A’s, sometimes a ‘B’ occasionally, but with virtual learning, I have noticed a decline in their work, specifically math is the biggest hindrance on them,” Brandy explains.

It is a hindrance too many students are discovering leaving Ponder poised to find a solution before students fall too far behind.

“Whether you are a CEO working from home, or a student working on chemistry, we’re just in it together. We just got to help each other out and make sure we finish strong in this first semester and do the best we can,” Ponder says.

Data is missing from the latest study by NWEA, who say 25 percent of students were unable to be tested by their schools because of COVID-19, students inability to access WiFi to take the test remotely, or simply because some students are not attending school at all.

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