Guest Commentary

Brainly survey reveals student concerns to start 2021

Posted 1/13/21

While it’s no secret that Covid has upended almost every aspect of life in 2020, perhaps no one has faced as many unique challenges and disruptions as U.S. teachers, educators, parents, and …

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Guest Commentary

Brainly survey reveals student concerns to start 2021

Posted

While it’s no secret that Covid has upended almost every aspect of life in 2020, perhaps no one has faced as many unique challenges and disruptions as U.S. teachers, educators, parents, and students.

Many a parent has made this comment in recent months — I’m glad I don’t have a child in school right now.

And as we head into the first month of the new year, many of us are beginning to reflect on the 2021 school year.

At the end of 2019, homework help and online learning community Brainly surveyed 1,000 U.S. students about their thoughts on the past school year. Now, at the end of 2020, Brainly has surveyed another 1,000 U.S. students to find out how the pandemic has impacted their educational outcomes, attitudes, and overall thoughts about the school year in review.

The survey revealed dramatic year-over-year changes in students’ experiences and perceptions about the school year. Here are some highlights from the survey data:

• Stress took center stage in 2020. Roughly 80 percent of students said they experienced moderate to high levels of stress during the 2020 school year, which is up significantly from 59 percent in 2019.

“Teachers and students managed to show up in the face of adversity, from adjusting to new safety guidelines to working from home and perhaps the biggest challenge of all…virtual learning,” said Patrick Quinn, a parenting expert at Brainly, former educator, and father of three school-age children.

• College plans are being reconsidered. Nearly 46 percent said the pandemic and shift to online learning in 2020 has impacted their plans to go to a traditional four-year college or university after graduation. When those students were asked why, 33 percent said it was because of safety concerns about COVID while another 25 percent said it was high tuition costs.

The two other most cited reasons among those rethinking college were “the risk of graduating and still not being able to find a job” and “lack of real-world career/industry experience in my chosen field.”

• Many students have struggled to focus while learning from home. When students were asked what the biggest “new” challenge or academic hurdle they faced in 2020 was, a whopping 35 percent said it was overcoming distractions and trying to stay focused while learning from home. Another 27 percent said their biggest “new” challenge was not fully understanding the material due to lack of in-classroom instruction time.

• Math is still the toughest part of the equation for most students. Mathematics was cited as the number one subject students had trouble with during 2020, with 45 percent of students saying it was the subject they performed worst in.

“Math is different from reading development in that the skills are much more sequential, so if you miss Step A, it’s harder to get to Step B,” said Brainly’s parent educator, Quinn. “If parents aren’t confident in their own math skills or if they have other demands on their time, students can turn to online homework help communities and tutoring resources like Brainly for help.”

• Online learning resources continue to rise in popularity. Approximately 26 percent of students said they sought homework help from online resources and tools every day last year, while 44 percent said they used online learning resources at least several times a week over the past year. During the 2019 school year,

only 42 percent of students reported using online learning resources to assist with their schoolwork.

“As the global pandemic continues to reshape the education landscape, hundreds of millions of students and parents have turned to online learning resources like Brainly for support,” said Quinn.

While the pandemic will eventually end, the world’s realization of the power of online learning will have a lasting impact on global education.

“Brainly grew to 350 million monthly users in 2020 with 30 million in the U.S. alone, which shows you just how important these online learning platforms and homework help communities are outside of the classroom.”

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