The Scars of Online Learning

Online learning from two years ago is having a ripple effect on students today.

Sally Kim, Staff Reporter

Students this year who took Algebra 2 Honors and freshman Biology online are struggling more than any other years in Calculus BC and GBBE at Troy High School. The average test scores in Calculus BC for Jenny Sobczynski’s class for the first test was lower than that of last year, and GBBE is adjusting the curriculum to be easier. Not having had the traditional in-seat experience of the foundational classes, Algebra 2 and 9th grade Biology, is suspected to be the cause.

It is common knowledge that during this period, many students cheated and didn’t absorb the knowledge as they were supposed to during online learning. Jerusha Ondra, Algebra 2 teacher, said, “A lot of them told me afterwards that they looked things up or you know, whatever.”

If online learning was the cause, those who took Precalculus Honors online and took Calculus BC last year should’ve also struggled. However, this year’s Calculus BC students are struggling more.

“My students in BC Calc, they are not as strong as my students last year,” stated Calculus BC teacher Jenny Sobczynski. “The concepts in Algebra 2 are the basis of the calculus class. Algebra 2 and Geometry,” she added.

Although students who took Algebra 2 online have been struggling more than those who took Precalculus Honors online, the value of Precalculus Honors should not be underestimated. Some units in Precalculus Honors aren’t taught in the Calculus BC curriculum at Troy High School, such as matrices. However, the last chapter of Precalculus Honors, limits, is one of the fundamental concepts of calculus. Precalculus also goes more in depth to concepts learned in Algebra 2.

“I don’t think it’s good to miss either of them to be honest, but I definitely think that skipping Algebra 2 is very problematic.” Ondra said. 

GBBE teachers are modifying their curriculum to adjust to students that are struggling. GBBE teacher Jeff Forshey said that freshmen who took Biology online are struggling with the testing portion of the class more than students this year that took freshmen Biology in person last year. 

“We’ve had to modify [testing for] students coming in with different experiences. We used to test a lot more in terms of depth of knowledge and we’ve had to step back because students weren’t ready for it. We’ve given up on some of the testing a little bit and we focus more on the lab component,” Forshey said.

Although this is the second year after coming back in person to Troy High School, consequences of online learning still persist. “I think it’s going to have a ripple effect, and I think it’s going to be years until we go back on track,” said Forshey. Online learning seemed temporary, but the result was permanent and the scars are showing up.