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Austin ISD reports 70% increase of students failing throughout the district due to pandemic changes

AISD said it's something the district predicted, but it believes that percentage will decrease as the school year moves forward.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: The above video states that Austin ISD has seen a 50% increase in students failing because that was the number the district originally reported.

Austin ISD released new data to KVUE showing the school district has seen a 70% increase of students failing throughout all campuses. Chief of Schools Dr. Anthony Mays said AISD has noticed students struggling in a virtual environment or a hybrid environment. 

In the table below, Austin ISD compares the first six weeks grading periods for the last three years, including this year. In the "Student Count" column, those are the number of students with failing grades. In the "School Year" column, 2019 means the 2018-19 school year, 2020 means the 2019-20 school year, and 2021 means the 2020-21 school year. 

Credit: Austin ISD

"We are progress-monitoring and we're working with the campus teams individually to check that data as they drill down and look into what students are failing and how can we go about supporting those students. But, again, it's the first six weeks operating in a pandemic. So, while this is definitely a problem, this is something that we're working through as we operate in this new environment," Mays said. "We recognize that it's going to take a repeated effort to try to help support teachers and students through this challenge."

AISD plans to work on action plans to help those students to be successful at the campus level. 

"A lot of that is professional development for our principals, professional development for our teachers, revisiting some of the protocols that we have for teachers to support students in the online environment," Mays said.

Mays said the next steps include reaching out to parents and making sure parents are aware of the challenges their students are facing. If parents want to meet face-to-face, AISD encourages them to call their student's campus. 

"We want to be able to support those students, any of those students, that are having challenges. We will be providing those students with more time and opportunity to make up those grades and be successful as we move forward. But we're not going to leave a student on an island. We're not going to leave the teachers on [an] island without actually leader principals on either. We're going to be working through this challenge together," Mays said. 

RELATED: Hays CISD reports 30% increase of students failing this year

On Tuesday, KVUE reported Hays CISD officials have seen a 30% increase in the rate of students failing one or more classes from its 3-week progress report last year compared to this year. 

With the rising failures, Hays CISD implemented revisions to the elementary and secondary grading guidelines immediately:

  • Students now have until the end of the first nine-week grading period to turn in late work. The five-day (elementary) and two meetings of the class (secondary block schedule) deadlines are lifted during the first grading period.
  • All work turned in late in the first nine weeks is eligible for full credit. A mandatory grading cap on assignments turned in late is lifted during the first grading period.
  • The five-day (elementary) and two meetings of the class (secondary block schedule) grace periods to turn in late work return in the second nine-week grading period, as does the grading cap on late assignments. However, the maximum grading cap is increased from 70 to 75. This increase remains for the entire 2020-21 school year.
  • Major grades, which are generally not eligible for a re-do, will be eligible for re-do for elementary students during the first 9-week grading period.

WATCH: Students' grades show academic impact of COVID-19 pandemic


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