Experts have warned since the beginning of the pandemic, and the unexpected national experiment in online learning, that remote schooling would take a serious academic toll on children.
Educators have struggled with the question of how to grade students in a virtual environment since the spring. Many districts opted for a pass/fail system to close out the final quarter of the 2019-2020 school year because students and teachers had been thrust into an online-only world with almost no time to adjust or prepare.
But the tactic led to significant dips in engagement and attendance, as families forced to navigate the vagaries of the pandemic prioritized other concerns. So, after school districts built remote learning curriculums from scratch over the summer, many advised teachers they should grade as close as possible to what they normally would come fall. School officials hoped to send a message: Students must take virtual school seriously.