BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The three largest school districts in Kern County released grade data from the past year, indicating a 14% increase in Ds and Fs for fall 2020 compared to fall 2019.
This data depicts grades from students in grades 6 through 12 across the Kern High School District, Bakersfield City School District, and Panama Buena-Vista Union School District, representing 45% of the Kindergarten through 12th grade students in Kern County.
Data shows that certain student groups are seeing an even sharper decline in academic achievement.
• Socio-economically disadvantaged (SED): +17%
• English Language Learners (EL): +19%
• Students with Disabilities: +16%
• Students who are both SED & EL: +22%
The Kern High School District is Kern County's largest school district representing 21% of the Kindergarten through 12th grade students in Kern County.
The percentage of students in grades 9 through 12 who received Ds or Fs during the fall 2020 semester increased by 14% compared to fall 2019.
Bakersfield City School District is Kern County's largest elementary school district representing 16% of the Kindergarten through 12th grade students in Kern County. During the 2020-21 school year, BCSD transitioned to a trimester system.
The percentage of students in grades 6 through 8 who received Ds or Fs during the fall 2020 first trimester increased by 17% compared to first semester 2019.
The Panama Buena-Vista Union School District represents 10% of the K-12 students in Kern County. The percentage of students in grades 6 through 8 who received Ds or Fs during the fall 2020 semester increased by 13% compared to fall 2019.
During a meeting between officials from the three districts Tuesday, many agreed that it's difficult to give an exact reason behind the increase of Ds and Fs.
"We don't know what's going on in the home environment. So if they can't get an assignment in on Wednesday but they get it in on Friday and they've demonstrated their learning then that should count," said Brandie Dye, Assistant Superintendent Instructional Services with PBVUSD.
Other school officials pointed out that with older students learning at home, there could be unknown factors impacting that student's ability to focus, including helping younger siblings with distance learning or having to watch over them while parents work.
On Tuesday, Kern County Public Health announced schools that teach up to 6th grade could return to in-person instruction in Kern County. School officials during the meeting said that while that is an option now, the decision to return to in-person instruction would be one based on overall safety for students and staff.