Online school has sent F’s spiking by 83 percent in Virginia’s largest school system

Between the last academic year and this one, which for most students is taking place remotely, the percentage of F’s earned by middle school and high school students jumped from 6 percent of all grades to 11 percent — representing an overall increase of 83 percent from 2019 to 2020. Younger students were more seriously affected than older ones: Middle-schoolers reported an overall 300 percent increase in F’s, while high-schoolers reported a 50 percent increase.

The effects were particularly pronounced among students with disabilities, who saw their percentage of F’s increase by 111 percent to account for nearly 20 percent of all grades achieved, and among children for whom English is a second language: Their percentage of F’s rose by 106 percent to account for 35 percent of all grades achieved.

The impact also differed by race. F’s received by Hispanics jumped from 13 to 25 percent of all grades achieved, while Asian-earned F’s jumped from 2 to 4 percent of all grades achieved. White students’ F’s rose from 3 to 5 percent, and Black students’ F’s rose from 8 to 13 percent.