Carroll County Times
Carroll County Education

Carroll schools’ fourth-quarter grades show fewer F’s than in third, but still 5 times more than last year

The number of Carroll County Public Schools students with at least one failing grade in the fourth marking period dropped by about 7% since the third quarter, but the number of students who received at least one F in the fourth quarter was still five times higher than the previous year.

The school system reported 2,707 students received at least one failing grade in the last quarter of the 2020-21 school year, compared to 535 students receiving at least one failing grade during the same quarter in the 2019-20 school year.


“Although we saw a decrease in the total number of failing grades this past quarter, we still see a significant number of more failing grades in comparison to 19-20,” said Jason Anderson, chief of academics, equity and accountability officer.

The coronavirus pandemic and changes in learning environment were the culprits for the significant spike in failing grades, school officials said.


Conversations about academic recovery at school board meetings started after the December report on first-quarter grades, when officials learned 2,939 students received at least one F. Since then, Carroll school staff have planned and implemented a summer recovery program, currently taking place, to help students who struggled academically.

After an even greater number of students — 3,313, more than triple the previous year — received at least one F in the second quarter, grades began to improve once students began gradually returning to in-person learning in their classrooms during February and March, after the second marking period had ended.

School staff reported 2,915 students received at least one F in the third marking period.

The third marking period lasted from Feb. 2 through April 9. The Carroll County Board of Education voted to allow students to return to in-person classes at least four days a week on Feb. 10 with all students phased in by March 22. All students were mostly virtual in the first quarter while three-fourths were in-person by the fourth quarter.

Although the number of students receiving F’s is significant in comparison, most students — nearly 90% — received no F’s in the fourth quarter.

Joseph Marsicano, who recently graduated from Liberty High School, said he was slightly disappointed with the way his grades turned out this school year. He was hoping for a stronger senior year, but the pandemic “threw a wrench in the plans.”

However, the 18-year-old acknowledged that his grades could have been worse and credited the teachers for helping him and being the “unsung heroes” of the school year. His calculus teacher, Kevin Giffhorn, for example, went above and beyond, he said.

“He undoubtedly put in the extra mile,” Marsicano said, noting how challenging it must have been to simultaneously teach AP Calculus in-person and virtually.


Marsicano attended school in-person as soon as he could since he learned better in the classroom, he said. He praised the school system for bringing students back quicker than other districts and for its effort to mitigate the spread.

Of the 7,743 high school students in Carroll County, 64% were in person during the fourth quarter, and 18% of high schoolers received at least one F. For middle schoolers, about three quarters were in person and 15% received at least one failing grade. Of the nearly 11,000 elementary school students, 86% were attending in-person in the last quarter and only 3% had at least one F.

By the numbers

Number of Carroll County Public Schools students with at least one failing grade:

First quarter

2020-21: 2,939

2019-20: 684


Second quarter

2020-21: 3,313

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2019-20: 952

Third quarter

2020-21: 2,915

2019-20: 544


Fourth quarter

2020-21: 2,707

2019-20: 535