Report: Failure Rates Doubled Or Tripled During Second Semester At Most Maryland Public Schools

As Maryland schools continue to allow more students to come back to in-person learning this week, a new report shows that most of the public school systems saw failure rates double or triple during their second semester.

Video Transcript

- Well, with students now back in the classroom, there's a new poll out showing that most parents worried about their kids falling behind in school. And a new report from the State Education Department says they've also noticed high rates of failure, much of it because of the disruption caused of course, by the pandemic. WJZ is live tonight.

Rachel Menitoff is breaking down this report and explaining just how many of our students are actually struggling tonight. Rachel?

RACHEL MENITOFF: Nicole, this report shows that failure rates increased in all key subject areas for middle and high school students at the majority of Maryland schools. A new report out of the State Department of Education shows that most public school systems saw failure rates double or even triple during the second semester.

- Most of the school systems, the percent of students who failed a particular course, approximately doubled or more.

RACHEL MENITOFF: For instance, 23 out of 24 Maryland schools say that the number of middle school students failing math doubled or tripled during second quarter. In high school, 21 school districts report that the failure rate in science doubled or tripled. English learners and students with disabilities lagged behind the most.

20 Maryland schools report a noticeable drop in attendance. And attendance is down for economically disadvantaged students in 22 schools. In a statement to WJZ, the Maryland School board says these metrics, quote "Demonstrate how much our children are struggling academically, compounding the emotional and social toll they are experiencing."

In Baltimore County, the school district is starting to offer more in-person schooling on Saturdays.

MARY MCCOMAS: School, as we all know it, was interrupted. And we have moved through different phases of reinventing teaching and learning.

RACHEL MENITOFF: It is optional for both teachers and students.

CINDY SEXTON: But we have to realize as well, that it's certainly not going to be the-- the magic fix. It's just another tool in the toolbox to be able to reach some of those students.

RACHEL MENITOFF: And the school board wants everyone to know that course grades are not a perfect measure of student learning, because there are a lot of other factors that go into a student's grade, like attendance or participation. We're live tonight in Paterson Park. I'm Rachel Menitoff for WJZ.