CHICAGO (CBS) – Newly released data from the Chicago Public Schools sheds light on the struggles the nation’s third largest school district has faced in implementing remote learning over the past several weeks, as students have stayed home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While CPS officials said 93% of students now have digital access, after the district last month distributed 100,000 computers to students who needed them, the district has been unable to contact more than 2,250 students since remote learning began, or less than 1% of the overall student body. Data is missing for 1.2% more students, or more than 3,500 kids.
According to CPS data, despite CPS efforts to help students with Internet access at home, and to provide laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices for e-learning, tens of thousands of students weren’t in contact with their schools for the week of May 11, the only week broken down by the district.
The data includes only the 293,712 students district-run schools, not tens of thousands more at charter or contract schools.
For the week of May 11, schools contacted about 85% of students, but that still means more than 43,000 students were not contacted that week.
The data also shows fewer than 60% of CPS students using Google Meet or Google Classroom to engage in remote learning three or more days during the week of May 11; with 58.8% using Google platforms three or more days that week, 68.8% doing so at least twice that week, and 77.2% doing so at least once.
That means nearly 58,000 students didn’t use a Google platform at all that week to log into remote learning sessions.
First graders were easily the least engaged, with only 32.4% engaging in remote learning at least three days that week. For high schools, seniors were the least engaged, with only half logging in at least three times a week.
Pre-school, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten students were not included in that data, because few of them have CPS login credentials.
Remote learning engagement numbers have steadily improved since the district officially began remote-learning on April 13. That week, fewer than 50% were engaging in remote learning at least three days a week, just more than 60% were engaging in e-learning at least twice a week, and fewer than 70% were doing so at least once a week.
African-American and Latinx students have struggled the most with remote learning, with 78.2% of African-American students and 70.4% of Latinx students accessing Google Classroom or Google Meet at least once the week of May 11. That’s compared to 86.6% of white students, 86.9% of Asian students, 82% of multiracial students, and 84.2% of students of other races.
“While remote learning is not perfect and there’s room for improvement in data collection and participation, we are committed to using every bit of data to determine how we can better serve our schools, students and families during this time,” CPS Chief Executive Officer Janice Jackson said in a statement.
The district said the greatest increase in remote learning efforts has come in the percentage of students receiving at least one grade for an assignment. During the week of May 11, approximately 84% of students in 1st through 12th grades were marked has having a graded assignment, up from only 51% the week of April 27, when the district released remote grading guidance for teachers.