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The failure rate for high school students sits at 12%, up from previous years

For students navigating distance learning this year, attendance has remained relatively steady but failure rates have increased.

The West Linn-Wilsonville School Board received updates from Superintendent Kathy Ludwig on the first quarter of comprehensive distance learning (CDL) during the Monday board meeting Dec. 7.

During Ludwig's presentation, she said elementary school attendance is averaging over 96% across schools and comparable to previous years.

"How we collect attendance during CDL is different from typical years," Ludwig said.

For example, if students couldn't attend synchronously but could make it up later, they may be counted as present.

She said moving forward one thing teachers will be striving for is more engagement for students. That means less talking by teachers and more talking by students.

The average attendance rate across the four middle schools was 95%. The district said the average was consistent across learning groups and up compared to previous years.

Ludwig said one takeaway from parent feedback was that CDL is going better than last spring, but there are still areas for improvement. For example, students still have a hard time staying motivated during distance learning.

Still, middle schoolers took Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments in November and the median scores were comparable to the 2019-20 school year.

High school average daily attendance for the first quarter was 90.1%, which is slightly lower than previous years.

Ludwig said the district is making phone calls and even home visits to find out what barriers are preventing kids from attending class virtually.

Most concerning, Ludwig said, was that 12% of students are failing classes during distance learning, which is up from 7-8% in a typical year.

She said staff follows up with students to help them address incomplete grades.

"We're not waiting for the end of the year to take care of it, or even the end of the second quarter," she said.

Students enrolled in WL-WV's Online Program for the year seem to be faring well. Ludwig said they like setting their own pace.

"Where they're having the hard time, which again is not unusual, is a lack of motivation," she said.

She also said parent feedback suggests that Fuel Ed, the company from which the online program is outsourced, seems to be more academically rigorous than parents anticipated.

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