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Survey: Pandemic Negatively Affected Grades This Fall

January 5, 2021
 
 

Many college students are reporting that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their academic performance, according to a survey from OneClass, an education technology company that provides virtual access to study materials.

OneClass surveyed more than 14,000 freshmen, sophomore and junior students about their fall 2020 experience. Students from 232 colleges, both public and private, responded to the survey.

About 85 percent of respondents said the pandemic had a negative effect on their performance. Another 9 percent said the pandemic didn't affect their performance, and about 5 percent said the pandemic had a positive influence on their performance.

Responses were fairly consistent across students' levels, according to a blog post from OneClass. Slightly more sophomores reported negative outcomes than students in other years.

The two main factors affecting grades this fall, according to OneClass, are academic changes and mental health. Students are navigating a changing educational experience, with remote learning and asynchronous courses in many cases, at the same time they are dealing with stress from the personal effects of the pandemic.

The survey gave students an opportunity to write direct feedback. Some expressed frustration that other online resources, like Khan Academy, were more helpful than their remote classwork. Others said they have a hard time learning online, and their grades suffered as a result.

It's unclear whether academic performance was impacted at a broad level by the pandemic. Initial data on high school performance shows that student failure rates increased in some areas, according to the blog post.

OneClass surveyed about 1,000 students in April about their experiences at the start of the pandemic and received a similar response. About three-quarters of respondents said they weren't happy with the quality of virtual learning.

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