Mumbai: School students upset over bad maths scores

School students explain the reasons behind the drop in their math scores.

Alok ParekhUpdated: Tuesday, December 06, 2022, 10:06 AM IST
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Mumbai: School students upset over bad maths scores | Representative Image

Mumbai: Students of secondary sections all over Mumbai remain perturbed as their performance in the subject of mathematics stands spoilt after two years of online sessions. “A subject like maths needs to be taught and learned when teachers and students sit for a physical class, and not online," said Rihaan Shah, a class 8 student from Bhandup.

Students give details about their maths scores being dropped

Students remain more unsatisfied with the marks of their geometry concepts than that of Algebra topics. According to them, geometry requires the use of rounders, protractors, and other tools; however, when the same is being shown on screen through online classes, it becomes difficult to understand the concepts.

Students from the city decried that they didn’t understand essential math concepts when lectures were being conducted online.

“I have been an average student in maths since the beginning. Moreover, teachers sometimes weren’t able to explain concepts satisfyingly to me during online lectures,” stated Aftab Shaikh, a student from Vashi.

Shaikh said that after his school began offline he is not able to score more than 50-55% in maths, which before the online lectures didn’t go below 65-70%.

Armaan Chauhan, a student from Kandivali expressed his love for the subject. He said that he never used to score below an A* grade in maths before the pandemic hit. Now, he said, “B is the maximum grade I have scored, and I blame the two years of online lectures.”

Chauhan said that despite trying his level best to get back to his initial scores, “it seems nearly impossible.” The student further mentioned that his teacher had skipped teaching certain topics on the Zoom sessions stating that those topics couldn’t be taught online.

Parents blame schools

Parents as well are agitated over the same and are asking schools to take steps to improve their children’s scores in the subject. They say that it is more of the teachers’ job than that of students to get them back on track. According to parents, once the offline schools started the teachers should have conducted crash courses for students which they found tough to understand.

Kavita Parikh, a parent from Ghatkopar, said, the marks of her son, Rudra, have not been up to the mark because of the online sessions. She said, “Rudra didn’t pay attention during the online sessions and it got boring for him to learn maths online. He didn’t even practice enough maths as submitting homework online wasn’t too big of an issue.”

According to parents who spoke to Free Press Journal, students spent most of their free time watching TV shows and movies on OTT platforms and didn’t focus on maths, which is important and needs daily practice to excel.

“My daughter, Amrit, who was brilliant in mathematics prior to the online classes, has the highest score of 60% in maths after the lockdown,” said Gurmeet Singh, the parent of Amrit who studies in a school at Andheri. He added that not only in maths, but teachers of different subjects in Amrit’s school had skipped many topics in wake of the pandemic.

Parents have also mentioned requesting school authorities to keep extra lectures for maths to cover up the lockdown portion but some schools have still not implemented the idea.

Ankur Deshpande, a parent from Mahim said that her daughter’s school didn’t take sufficient steps to help students in maths. “The main issue for my daughter was that the teacher who taught her the subject before the lockdown was not the same one who taught during online sessions. Students took a lot of time to get adapted to the new teaching method,” said a peeved Ankur.

Principals and teachers say the drop in scores was expected

Principals and teachers across the city had expected the scores to fall because of online teaching. They have agreed that several topics were not meant to be taught online but they were helpless due to the guidelines given by the government.

Dr. Kavita Aggarwal, Principal, of D.G. Khetan International School, Malad, said that with the introduction of online classes, mathematics had become more of rote learning than concept-grasping. “Math is a subject that needs to be taught kinesthetically. It should ideally be taught with sufficient use of props, and by proving logical thinking,” she added.

Principals also mentioned the involvement of some AI tools that helped students to compete with themselves and let them know where they actually stood with certain, difficult topics. The AI applications helped better the speed of students while solving problems and maintained their consistency in the harder topics.

“The situation with the maths scores was so bad that the authorities had to intervene and reduce the syllabus despite having more than the required number of offline lectures,” said Sumit Dargan, Principal, JBCN International School, Chembur. On asking about AI tools, he said that they were advantageous as they let students be competitive rather than just being trapped.

Maths teachers have expressed their concerns for students. According to a tutor in Kurla, teaching and learning maths requires an effective form of communication. She said that starting right from the online lectures and until now, students’ attention span has become shorter. “They feel on the edge which is why they are not able to give their 100 percent even during offline sessions,” she stated.

Aarti Punjabi, a Maths teacher, at Beacon High School, Khar, clarified that the major issues for students were concepts like graph-plotting, equations, and data handling, among others that required an understanding of spatial arrangement along with the use of pens or pencils and papers.

“It was a challenge for us as we were not physically in front of the students. With online classes, it was nearly not possible to keep a track of students’ homework and assignments in real-time,” Punjabi said.

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