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Old 06-12-2011, 10:57 PM
 
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Fascinating article.

Have you ever complained to your child's school if...

1. She or he did not master a reasonable amount of the course content AND
2. Received a grade of A or B?

Ever complain if your child's SAT writing or math score was quite poor, but his/her grades had always been quite high...or did you just blame the test?

Why Johnny Can't Fail - Reason Magazine
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:48 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,747,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Wallace View Post
Fascinating article.

Have you ever complained to your child's school if...

1. She or he did not master a reasonable amount of the course content AND
2. Received a grade of A or B?

Ever complain if your child's SAT writing or math score was quite poor, but his/her grades had always been quite high...or did you just blame the test?

Why Johnny Can't Fail - Reason Magazine
I would love to see a fixed standard. I'm still stunned that with over 30% of my class getting A's (addmittedly, I am in a high SES school so it's not that much of a stretch) I was told to teach to the bottom of my class... the VERY bottom.
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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Being a teacher, why wouldn't you want to teach to the bottom, middle and top?
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by magoomafoo View Post
Being a teacher, why wouldn't you want to teach to the bottom, middle and top?
I take it you aren't a teacher.

That's what every teacher wants to do, but it's easier said than done. Try being handed a classroom with 40 kids in it where 10 are pretty smart and want a challenge, 15 are middle of the road, 5 are just challenging kids with behavioral issues, 3 are kids with behavioral issues for which you have an IEP, 2 are English language learners who just moved to the country within the last few months, and 5 who have learning differences ranging from mild to profound. No, you don't have an aide in the room. No, your principal doesn't have any extra resources to offer. You have 45 minutes to deliver the curriculum to this wide range of learners, remembering that the last 15 kids I mentioned are going to need a lot of extra help to get there and that the last 10 are kids for which you will be held legally accountable for not meeting their accommodations, no matter how impossible of a situation your principal has put you in.

This is the reality of many public school classrooms today. If we want different results, it will have to come with a cultural change on how we view education and a major shift in how schools are structured in this country. What we're doing right now isn't working but the majority of taxpayers stop short of doing anything but complain.
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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Well, the reason is simple. The prime objective for schools today is socialization, not education. You are graded largely on your ability to turn in assignments and follow instructions, not on your mastery of the material.

Case in point? We have two different sets of friends with daughters. They both are straight-A students. One has a 4.3 GPA. Yet their ACT scores are 22 and 24, respectively. Okay scores, but certainly inconsistent with what a straight-A student should be making.
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,747,102 times
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Originally Posted by magoomafoo View Post
Being a teacher, why wouldn't you want to teach to the bottom, middle and top?

I challenge you to write a lesson plan to be delivered in 45 minutes that reaches the bottom of the class without boring the top and middle and challenges the top of the class without blowing away the bottom and the middle.

I don't know about anyone else but I have to settle for teaching to the middle. I know I bore my brightest kids and I lose my lowest kids. All I can do is hope they get extra help or go deeper on their own as the case may be.

If I challenge the top of the class and move at the pace they deserve, the rest of the class can't keep up. If I teach to the bottom of the class, the middle and upper groups are texting, talking and playing paper football. The problem is that a topic I can teach to the top of my class in depth in two weeks takes 4 weeks to teach on a very basic level to the bottom of my class.

Personally, I want to teach high because I want kids to reach. If I lower my teaching to their level, they are not growing because they are not challenged. IMO, students need to be challenged to grow. Unfortunately, they are used to being spoon fed.
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,747,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Well, the reason is simple. The prime objective for schools today is socialization, not education. You are graded largely on your ability to turn in assignments and follow instructions, not on your mastery of the material.

Case in point? We have two different sets of friends with daughters. They both are straight-A students. One has a 4.3 GPA. Yet their ACT scores are 22 and 24, respectively. Okay scores, but certainly inconsistent with what a straight-A student should be making.
THAT is the floating standard at work. It would be different if we had fixed standards. With a floating standard, the value of a grade is dependent on the school/teacher giving the grade and there is a strong push to set grades so that everyone passes.
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Old 06-13-2011, 02:08 PM
 
1,248 posts, read 1,836,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Well, the reason is simple. The prime objective for schools today is socialization, not education. You are graded largely on your ability to turn in assignments and follow instructions, not on your mastery of the material.

Case in point? We have two different sets of friends with daughters. They both are straight-A students. One has a 4.3 GPA. Yet their ACT scores are 22 and 24, respectively. Okay scores, but certainly inconsistent with what a straight-A student should be making.
I do not think you can base a student's entire potential/talents on a single test. The ACT does not measure every single skill that one would need to excel, in say, college. My university gpa was much higher than the prized test indicators predicted. That said, automatic passing (or even worse, B's or A's) regardless of performance is ridiculous. I dislike that a lot.
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,747,102 times
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Originally Posted by poletop1 View Post
I do not think you can base a student's entire potential/talents on a single test. The ACT does not measure every single skill that one would need to excel, in say, college. My university gpa was much higher than the prized test indicators predicted. That said, automatic passing (or even worse, B's or A's) regardless of performance is ridiculous. I dislike that a lot.
Actually, we just need a new grade for an unearned pass. Seriously, students who won't do the work this year most likely won't do the work next year. Making them repeat the class just drags everyone down. Give then an unearned pass right into a remedial class at the next level.
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:41 PM
 
1,428 posts, read 2,774,987 times
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Originally Posted by magoomafoo View Post
Being a teacher, why wouldn't you want to teach to the bottom, middle and top?
Well, let's consider this a moment.

It is not uncommon for classes to have a rough grouping of ability correlated with age. That is, in a 9th-grade class, most students should have 9th-grade abilities. At the very least, there will be an average or norm. Most people will be clustered around that average or norm -- roughly speaking, about 70%. 15%, roughly speaking, will be on either side of that 70%. 15% will be way ahead and 15% will be way behind.

By teaching to the very bottom, Ivory is expected to reach ONLY 15% of her students...while neglecting the other 85%. For 85% of the kids in her class, the material -- by administrative fiat -- will be unchallenging, too easy, and minimal. For the 15% who are on the upper end of the scale, at best it will be criminally boring; at worst, torture. Depending on how civilized those 15% kids are, this could really be a recipe for disaster. This is not her fault.
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