ABILENE, TX – Just under 50% of Abilene ISD remote learners have failed at least one class during the first six week grading period, according to Abilene ISD Superintendent Dr. David Young.
It's an issue that not only affects Abilene ISD, but a multitude of districts across the state of Texas.
"I will tell you that the success rate of online learners is a topic of much conversation across the state," said Young on Wednesday.
Approximately 27% of Abilene ISD students started this school year in virtual classrooms from their homes and by the end of the first six weeks, Young said, many returned to in-person instruction, dropping the number of remote learners to right around 17%.
"We have some kids that are truly thriving in the remote environment, but we have a lot who aren't," said Young. During that first six week period, about 50 percent of remote learners failed at least one class.
"It's a smaller number than many districts that I have heard, but it's unacceptable," Young added.
For comparison, the failure rate among in-person learners sits right around 13%, a rate that Young says is, "higher than normal."
When asked why he believes the failure rate for remote learners is so high Young went on to say, "It is primarily due not to kids being unsuccessful at the work they're turning in, but kids not doing the work," he said.
With kids not attending their virtual classes, it makes things very tough for teachers trying to connect with their students.
"They are accustomed to having kids in front of them, that they can make sure that they get the work out of and, and just follow up," explained Young.
Young went on to say the higher failure rate is seen more among middle and high schoolers, and noted that the district is currently looking for new ways to improve the virtual learning system.
"We are looking for ways to retool our instructional delivery model for the spring to make the remote learning experience even better and keep students much more engaged," said Young.
Young reiterates that it's extremely important for parents to get involved in their student's success, urging them to take advantage of all resources available.