Trips help students improve pass rates

Published 8:17 am Friday, November 17, 2023

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Students at Randolph- Henry (R-H) High had almost universal pass rates in their English exam last May. In fact, while most districts are still struggling to get close to pre-COVID scores, the pass rates at R-H exceeded those of 2019, the last pre-pandemic test. At that point, 90% passed the test. Now it’s up to 94%. 

 And part of that stems from the hands-on experience. Students in some classes don’t just learn about these subject in books, but go on trips to study things in person. For example, Mrs. Kristin Barton’s dual enrollment English classes recently went to the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in downtown Richmond, to learn about Poe’s life and his contributions to the literary world. They also got a bit of a history lesson, stopping by Agecroft Hall, a Tudor style manor house. There they were able to tour the house and gardens, as well as handle replicas of artifacts from the 15th and 16th centuries. 

“We did a short unit on Poe in American Literature, so visiting the museum really helped students get to know him better as an author and be able to appreciate his contributions to modern literature,” Barton said. “This is the second year I have taken a group to visit the Poe Museum, but I hope to be able to continue giving students great experiences like this in the future! “ 

Staff believe that visit, along with going to the Agecroft Hall, helps students remember these concepts when it comes test time. Instead of just words on a page, they can connect the questions to the time they visited the Poe Museum or took a trip through the worlds of Shakespeare 

“(Mrs. Barton) takes a lot of wonderful field trips,” said Randolph-Henry High Principal Erin Davis. “(They help) enrich the content students are studying.” 


There’s plenty of evidence backing up the practice. A study done by the Tucson International Academy found that 59% of students who take field trips have better grades than those who didn’t go. There’s also a 95% higher high school graduation rate among those who went on trips. A 2015 study by the Brookings Institute echoed those numbers. It found middle school students who went on a science field trip scored higher on their tests that year than those who didn’t go. 

As districts try to recover from the pandemic, it’s worth pointing out the things that work and those that don’t. Clearly it’s working in Charlotte County schools, where all the schools are accredited, with pass rates continuing to climb.