CHATTANOOGA, TN. (mocsnews.com) — Covid has changed the everyday world we now live in, but the learning experience of students nationwide has been drastically affected. School closures in the Spring of 2020 brought forth a time of uncertainty in the educational system. We had very little data on how remote learning would affect the progression of students in their education, yet every single school nationwide was forced to become online. Zoom has become the new classroom. We are still in the current battle of deciding between health risks and the need for in-person learning.
When schools were forced to close, there were many predictions released that presumed students would fall behind because of the shutdown. The data for fall of 2020 conducted by NWEA found that students in grades 3–8 performed similarly in reading to same-grade students in fall 2019, but about 5 to 10 percentile points lower in math. “I was in my Junior year of high school when we had to shut down and I can honestly say I have learned very little, if anything,” stated Amalie Robinson, a high school student at Giles County High School that has dual enrolled in college courses for the last two years. “All we have done is busy work.”
David Ross, a professor at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said that he could see a decline in his students’ grades when his courses were forced to be online. He stated, “Even though the exams are online and open notes, students are doing remarkably worse than when the exams were in person and not open notes.”
Students seem to be putting forth less effort during this time of uncertainty. “With everything being online, attendance being voluntary, and no ability to become involved with the professors, I have very little care to actually learn,” states Bailey Nelson, a Psychology major at UTC.
When looking at the current report by National Student Clearinghouse Research Center of the first look into the spring 2021 student transfer patterns that are attributable to the effects of COVID-19. With 74 percent of colleges reporting as of February 25, 2021, data represents 8.8 million undergraduate students. The decline in transfer enrollment was 3.8 times larger than the pre-pandemic rate of decline, and non-transfer enrollment decline was 3.6 times larger.
Many students have questioned what they are paying for because they have learned so little during this time. Blake Lovell, a UTC student, has said that he considered dropping out many times and would have gone through with it if he wasn’t so close to being finished.
The vaccine being so easily available is bringing back a sense of normalcy and safety. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is set to return to in-person classes in the fall of 2021, along with many other schools nationwide. In person classes and a sense of normalcy is more important now than ever. With students all over the world losing motivation and feeling as if their education is declining as a result of the pandemic, we must do all that we can to return to in-person classes.