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Failure Rates Rise in Md. Public Schools During Second Quarter

Many Maryland public school students increasingly failed such subjects as math, English, science and social studies during the second quarter of the 2020-2021 school year, according to new data revealed by the state’s department of education.

The data, which examined year-to-year failing rates from November to January, shows failure levels doubling or tripling in the majority of the state’s 24 school districts, WTOP reported.

“Most of the schools’ systems, the percent of students who failed a particular course approximately doubled or more,” said Dora Shaw, executive director for research at the department, WTOP reported. “Last year, no systems had a failure rate of above 20%. This year, nine systems had a failure rate of above 20%.”

In Prince George’s County, nearly 16% of elementary school pupils failed at least one second-quarter class — up from about 5%, WTOP reported. Department officials speculate the spike in failure could be due to the coronavirus pandemic but acknowledge that observation could be flawed.

“We know that course grades are not a perfect measure of student learning because there are things that go into course grades, especially in term grades that are not related to an objective test of student learning,” Shaw said, WTOP reported. “So things like attendance, participation, coursework, or classwork or turning in assignments. So I want to caveat this by saying that we wanted to do the best that we could to take a look at student learning across the state, knowing that we have imperfect and unstandardized data.”

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