What did we lose? The Effect COVID has had on Education

Testing was effected greatly due to COVID

A Student learns during COVID

Lauren Murray

 

It was 3:25 on Thursday March 12th, 2020, the final bell had rung, and students were fleeing to their after-school destinations thinking about the three-day weekend that was about to begin. However, outside the walls of Hidden Valley High School (HVHS), a world-wide pandemic was starting to take shape. The students left their school not knowing that it would be a lot more than three days until they returned.

On March 13th, the school system made the hard decision to shut down schools for two weeks, until COVID-19 calmed down. Two weeks of no school turned into two months, finishing off the 2019-2020 school year online and starting a very anti-social summer for most of HVHS students.

Monday August 24, 2020 was the first day of the 2020-2021 school year. One group of students drove to HVHS, while the other group of students stayed home and opened their laptops. Students missed out on friends, social gatherings, sports, and the better part of their education. For some, it felt like their lives and education was put on hold.

Many schools made changes to adapt to this new way of life and learning. For example, some colleges didn’t require the SAT or ACT test to apply for the 2021 school year. Locally, Virginia made adjustments by lowering the SOL passing score from 400 to 350.

The testing coordinator Margot Tingelr stated that on a normal year when compared with other schools in the state, “Hidden Valley is usually on the top.” Ms. Tingelr also said, “The scores did go down a bit last year, but when we look division, we did drop a little. The test is mandated by the state as a graduation requirement for high school, so the drop was not a result of students dropping out of the test.”

According to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) website the test scores under all schools In Roanoke County dropped in English from 84% to 78%, Science 89% to 71%, and in Math 87% to 70%.

From a student’s perspective, it was hard to get up and do work every day on subjects they didn’t quite understand, not because of lack of teacher involvement, but because it took some time to adjust to this new learning routine. Sophomore Alayna Dragoo who completed school all online last year commented, “School was different because I didn’t go to school for a while, so it feels as if this is my first year of high school. My teachers did a good job teaching me, and last year helped me because I had more time to do other things because school wasn’t as fast paced. My SOLS last year went a lot better because I had more time to prepare.”

There are many mixed opinions about last year and the way education was handled. One year of testing will not show how students are affected. “It will take years to fill the gaps in education that has been lost,” Ms. Tingelr said. Perhaps we will never know the true impact of last year.