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  • Jonathan Osler

Racial Disparities in Completion Rates During Distance Learning

This graph comes from the Back To School Action Guide to Close the School-to-Prison Pipeline from the Sentencing Project.

Graph showing disparities by race in distance learning completion rates from Spring 2020

In The Classroom


Questions for students to explore:

  • Describe what you see in this graph. In your own words, what information is it presenting?

  • Which school types had the highest completion rates in Spring 2020? Lowest?

  • What is the source of the data in this graph? Where did they obtain this data?

  • What might explain why some groups of students had lower completion rates for distance learning?

Extension Opportunities

  • Explore the impact of COVID on different communities by race

  • Explore how the digital divide impacts low-income communities of color and how lack of access to computers and the internet play a role in disparate course completion rates

How Would You Use This News?

How would you use this graph in your classroom? What math content could it help students explore? Share your ideas in the comments.

5 comments

5 Comments


Edward Schneider
Edward Schneider
Nov 10, 2021

Although the information is important and the students would benefit from discussing the information, there are some concerns; firstly, the graph can be difficult to understand at first. Also, there seems to be missing data as the Black/Latinx or Low Income data only adds up to 95%. It is unclear why 5% is missing. Furthermore, using the link to investigate where the data came from, it looks like the information is from teacher surveys so it makes me question how reliable the information actually is.

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Morgan Lowe
Morgan Lowe
Nov 10, 2021

I'm sure the students would enjoy seeing the pandemic from a teachers perspective. We all experienced the pandemic in different ways. And we could definitely take some time to talk about some of the reasons work was or wasn't turned in.

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Alexandra Leon
Alexandra Leon
Nov 10, 2021

I would use this resource to have a discussion with students on the impacts of Covid 19 on students education. Many students experienced issues out of their control that affected their ability to complete assignments and some students chose not to do assignments. We can have discussions on how they were personally affected and their reasons for completing or not completing assignments. This assignment would require students to know how to read bar graphs and understand the meaning of the percentages.

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Amy Leung
Amy Leung
Nov 10, 2021

I would use the graph as a "what do you notice and wonder" activity before I have my students the answer the "In The Classroom: Questions for students to explore." I like how it allow students drive into reading percentages and bar graphs.

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Akiiki Hopkinson
Akiiki Hopkinson
Nov 10, 2021

I would use this graph and explain the effect virtual learning had on our students. The students had many obstacles which affect them more harshly than traditional learning. The math content we will explore are the proportions between other schools & the majority latinx/black students and dissect the reason why it is like that. - A.H.

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