Wednesday, May 18

Fewer drop out of high school than before the pandemic. But it is not certain that the students have learned more.

The school researcher still believes it is too early to say that home schooling has been positive for the pupils.

Teacher Merim Krslak instructs Salman Qader in tire balancing, while the other students on the transport line at Kuben upper secondary follow.

How has the pandemic with a lot of homeschooling affected dropout? That question many are wondering.

New figures from the Directorate of Education can say something about the change from before and after the pandemic.

  • They show that a total of 87.4 per cent of the students went on from the 2nd stage to the 3rd stage in upper secondary school in the autumn of 2021, compared with 86.8 per cent in the autumn of 2019.
  • In the transition from 1st to 2nd stage of upper secondary school, the proportion of students will increase from 87.2 per cent in the autumn of 2019 to 88.4 per cent in the autumn of 2021.

The proportion who continue in the study program in 2021 is thus greater than in 2019. Although there has been a steady positive trend from 2013 to now, the increase from 2019 to 2021 is greater than in previous years.

The development applies to both study specialization and vocational subjects.

More apprenticeships last year

The figures also show a slight decline in 2020, before increasing again in 2021.

If you look at the last year, from 2020 to 2021, it is in vocational subjects after the second stage that the increase in the proportion of students who go on is greatest.

The main reason for this is that the supply of apprenticeships was much greater in 2021 than in 2020.

For Salman Qader, who is on the transport line at Kuben upper secondary school, home school was not a positive experience.

– It was hard to be at home and have so much theory. I was very happy when we could come back to school, says Qader.

Abdul Karim and Samson Tekle go on the transport line at Kuben upper secondary. They are going to be car mechanics. Here they measure the sensor on the ABS brakes.

The schools may have been “kinder” to the students

It is positive that more students have progression in the educational process, but school researcher Marianne Takvam Kindt at NIFU is still careful to conclude. She believes the numbers do not mean that a lot of home schooling in general has been positive for the students.

Together with colleagues in Fafo, she wrote a report on the corona situation one year after the closure, in the spring of 2021. It was based, among other things, on interviews with teachers and students.

It emerged that teachers and principals were concerned that the school closure should not go beyond the students.

– It was generally with teachers and school leaders I interviewed, that they did not want the students to be harmed by the fact that the school was closed. It was important to them and may, for example, have led to the threshold for setting a “non-assessment basis” on a student being higher, says Takvam Kindt.

“No assessment basis” means that there is not a sufficient basis for grading a subject, for example because the student has been away in the subject too much.

In addition, several other factors may have affected the image, including:

  • The absence limit was temporarily lifted. Pupils with a lot of absenteeism were thus not in danger of not receiving an assessment basis in subjects.
  • Exams were also canceled. It may have affected who goes on to the next school year.

– Did not necessarily learn more

Takvam Kindt says that the teachers she interviewed were concerned that some low-performing students experienced home school as positive. This was especially true of those who struggled with the social.

At the same time, teachers were concerned that other low-achieving students were finding it more difficult at home school.

– It is important to remember that progression in upper secondary school does not necessarily mean that students’ competence has increased. They have not necessarily learned more, perhaps they have even learned less. But the conditions for moving forward in the school race have changed, says Takvam Kindt.

The Minister of Education and Research: – Must look more closely at whether lower requirements have been set

Minister of Education Tonje Brenna (Labor Party) says she is relieved that there is a lower proportion who have dropped out during upper secondary school than before the corona.

– These figures are much better than feared. This indicates that teachers and school staff have managed to keep students within the system in a demanding time. They have done a good and important job. Then we have to look more closely at whether lower requirements have been set for the students, and whether it will have consequences for further learning, says Brenna.

She is even home with coronary heart disease this week.

Brenna says we must also take seriously that the pandemic has had negative consequences for some.

– High school is a very social time, where you have to find yourself and find out who you are in a meeting with others. But during the pandemic, for many there has been a lot of digital teaching and little social. I am concerned about loneliness and the consequences of adolescence in a state of emergency. I think we need to find out more about this.

She is also happy that more people are now getting an apprenticeship again. In February, there will be more figures showing how many people have applied for apprenticeships, who actually get a place.

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