Guilford County Schools students’ grades are lower compared to last school year

Guilford County Schools students’ grades are lower compared to last school year

The pandemic is taking its toll on students’ grades and it’s a big reason why the Guilford County Schools Board of Education voted to bring more students back to classrooms later this month.

Leaders cited data from tests taken over the last few months to emphasize the importance of bringing students back to school.

The data showed that students who have been in the classroom longer performed better than their peers who were learning remotely.

In a statement, Guilford County Schools’ Chief Academic Officer, Whitney Oakley, said, “We have been saying for months and have presented data showing that students learning remotely are not nearly as proficient as those learning in-person. The more data we receive, the more this is confirmed.”

The Istation K-3rd Grade Reading Assessment was given remotely in September. The assessment indicated 60.8% of GCS K-3rd graders demonstrated being on track to meet year-end expectations – that’s below the state average of 63%.

Preliminary results for the NWEA MAP Growth Assessment, which students began taking in early December, show that 44% of K-2nd graders scored average or above average in reading. But kindergarteners, who at the time had already done five weeks of in-person learning, had the highest rate at 49%.

On the NWEA MAP Growth Assessment for math, preliminary results show that 38% of K-2 students scored average or above average. Once again, kindergarteners, who had five additional weeks of in-person instruction up to that point had the highest rate of students scoring average or above average in math with 51%. Overall, kindergarteners scored at least 17 percentage points better in math than first or second graders.

Fall End of Course (EOC) test scores and participation were down across all subjects. The largest performance decline from fall 2019 to fall 2020 was in Math I with a decline of 18.7 percentage points, while the smallest performance decline was in English II by 4.3 percentage points. GCS students declined in Math 3 performance by 13 percentage points from last year and the decline in Biology was 17 percentage points.

Lastly, more students are failing in 2020 compared to 2019. Students got lower grades and higher failure rates in the first semester of 2020 compared to the first semester of 2019.


Joe Batiste

Joe hails from central Ohio, where he covered Education and Neighborhood news for the Columbus Dispatch. Joe has two teen daughters and enjoys the independent music scene in Greensboro.