Students Comment on Remote Learning

On Friday, October 30 of 2020, Seton Hall Prep announced that classes would be
held virtually for 14 days. Online school is not a new convention; it has been around for
some time now. For Seton Hall Prep, the 2020-2021 school year will be a second
rendition of online school. The third trimester of the year prior (2019-2020) served as a
predecessor to what developed for this year. We changed the way that assignments are graded.
Tests and quizzes were adapted to a virtual format. Students who are at home are allowed
different in-test resources than are those in person. In order to keep academic integrity
among students, many classes allowed open note tests for all students. This allowance
disincentivized memorizing material in preparation for tests, while motivating students to
thoroughly understand material.

Students have different opinions about online school.

The first student I questioned happened to be a highly proficient student, taking
four AP level classes and sporting a very high GPA. It is safe to assume that he is a good
student. He was looking forward to finishing strong with good grades senior year. He
thinks that online school has not had a negative effect on his grades. During the time that we
went virtual, teachers relied more heavily on assignments for grades as opposed to tests
and quizzes. These assignments are usually worth fewer points compared to a test. Due to
this difference, fewer points are entered into the grade book and his grade was not significantly
affected. Despite the minimal affect on his grades, this student found that online school
promoted better sleeping and eating habits for him because he could afford to
wake up an hour later because he did not have to commute to school.

A second student found that online school positively affected his grades. This
student was also highly proficient taking multiple AP level classes for his senior year. He
found that having open note tests and quizzes made studying easier and as a result he found school less stressful. He thinks that in the absence of stressful tests and anxiety
about grades he can focus more on comprehending the material. Still, he
prefers the traditional school format. He thinks that the classroom experience is
irreplaceable and that virtual classes are a poor substitute. Virtual classes are not
sufficient in allowing a free flowing conversation that we have in the classroom.

The third student found that online school negatively affected his grades. He
thinks that virtual classes have more distractions than in-person classes. This fact makes it
harder for him to pay attention, thus making his grades lower. He also thinks that
online school was made worse because of connectivity issues that he has in his house.
With multiple siblings at home who all have virtual classes going at once, his Wi-Fi was pushed past its limits.

To add to this, background noise from his sibling’s classes served as another
distraction. A combination of all of these difficulties made school more difficult for him
and lowered his grades.

Taking into consideration these three student’s unique situations and opinions
on online school, it is difficult to come to a conclusion about whether online school
positively or negatively affects student’s grades. The students I questioned came up with
great points as to why they like or dislike online school. I did actually question

more students than the three I included in the article. Considering everyone, there is a great variability
of opinions. I found that there is no correlation between how smart a student is and his
opinion on online school. It comes down to each student’s personal situation that decides
whether online school has been beneficial.