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Study: Idaho students struggled with hybrid, online learning

Associated Press

Associated Press

LEWISTON – Students suffered significant academic setbacks during the coronavirus pandemic, especially those in school districts that used hybrid or online learning models, according to two studies.

The chief researcher for the Idaho State Board of Education presented the results to the board Thursday.

The Lewiston Tribune reported Cathleen McHugh told the board the GPA for ninth-grade students dropped from March 2020 to March 2021.

She said school districts that used a hybrid model saw a GPA decline of 0.13, and districts that shifted entirely online saw a decline of 0.09. Districts that offered in-person instruction all year saw no change.

“If the students don’t raise their GPAs, this will impact their eligibility for the (Opportunity Scholarship) and direct (college) admission programs,” she said.

McHugh said that economically disadvantaged students saw a 0.22- and 0.23-point decrease in GPA, respectively, in hybrid and online schools.

For English language learners, the drop was 0.38 points and 0.41 points. Migrant students saw a drop of 0.42 points and 0.58 points.

“These students now have to raise their GPAs over the next three years, in order to become eligible for these programs,” McHugh said.

The second study found the likelihood that more students were getting a D or F in some required math and English classes offered in ninth through 12th grades.

“We know there’s been unfinished learning, and it’s been more significant for our (disadvantaged) populations,” said State Board President Kurt Liebich. “From a policy standpoint, I think we’ll be dealing with this for years.”