Though Diamond Bar High School has maintained its grading standards this school year, for many, there has been a tangible drop in GPA due to distance learning. After seeing a viral video about another district that changed its grading standards, a group of Brahmas decided to survey DBHS students about their opinions on distance learning and modified grading standards.
“I thought it was a pretty cool video and decided to make a survey to collect student opinions. Without the difficulties of distance learning, these same borderline students would be receiving slightly better grades,” said Clara Tae via Instagram.
Sophomores Tae and Jenna Kim and juniors Jaylene Tong, Samantha Chan and Rita Jung presented their survey results to Instructional Dean Julie Galindo and GLC Ginger Auten to analyze responses for possible use by the Wellness Center. Another meeting was scheduled for this week.
Based on the results of the survey, distance learning has negatively impacted both the grades and mental health of Brahmas. Questions regarding distance learning’s impact on hobbies, activities and the work assigned by teachers appeared in the survey as a free-response question. Out of the 400 students surveyed, 68.5 percent believe that their grades were negatively impacted last semester due to online learning, and 96 percent voted in favor of altering the grading system. The group proposed reducing the traditional 90 percent cutoff for A’s to 87 percent.
In addition, 55.3 percent said that they did not have time for hobbies and 67 percent believed that they were getting less sleep each night. One response reflected a common sentiment, discussing how students have had trouble reaching out for help and that the lack of human interaction is a major setback in learning.
“Accessibility is a real issue. Before when we were in school, it was really easy to get teachers’ help on assignments since we could bring them over during lunch or during class. In distance learning, it’s much harder to get help from the teacher and a lot of students rely on that one-on-one interaction,” an anonymous student said.
The tutorial period implemented this year was another major concern for DBHS students, according to the survey. Although many acknowledged that it was designed to help review material that may have been confusing, many complained that tutorial periods had conflicting time frames and that capturing the teachers’ attention is much harder online.
Despite overall dissatisfaction with distance learning, some teachers have embraced the new circumstances and have tried to accommodate for these drastic changes.
“I know that the last year has been a very stressful time for many people so I’ve tried my best to be flexible and understanding with my students,” AP History teacher Lindsay Arnold said via email. “I’ve de-emphasized assessments in my classes to help alleviate stress and have focused on classwork and a variety of projects to supplement assessments.”