Thursday, June 24, 2010

Can Success Be Measured Without Numbers?

I was asked how my Inclusion Boy did on the regents and rather than answering it in a comment, I want to answer that question here.

Unfortunately, he did not pass the regents. He seems unable to score more than 55 although his knowledge of the course is close to 100%. I am no special ed expert but I can see that he can't seem to get what he knows from his brain to his hand. He has no trouble getting it out his mouth. I passed him regardless, he deserves to pass more than almost every other kid in the class, but now the problem comes.

Mr. AP does not want Inclusion Boy to take trigonometry. He feels he will not pass. Inclusion Boy wants to take the class and his parents want him to take it as well. Mr. AP was quite adamant in his refusal to let this child go ahead. I suggested grading him differently from the other kids in the class. He doesn't need the regents to graduate, so why stress over it. Mr. AP was no so agreeable. He asked me if I wanted Inclusion Boy in my class, should I be teaching trig. I told him definitely. He told me he would hold me accountable for Inclusion Boy's passing. I said "fine" and then he started yelling at me, repeating the same question. Again, I answered "fine." Then, he said "You couldn't even get him to pass geometry, how can you get him through trig?" I just said "There is more to learning than the numbers show" and I got up and walked out. I don't know where he will put Inclusion Boy. At one point I did say "You are the boss, you can do whatever you want."

Mr. AP considers himself the "father" of our department and as such, no one should question his moves. Since he is not my father (I do question my father when I disagree with him) and I do question all his moves, you can understand my problems with him.

Inclusion Boy learned quite a bit this year. While his grades don't say mastery, his words do. He only got a 55 on the English regents, yet his English teacher made him student of the month every month and thought he was the class star. His American History teacher has the same glowing things to say about him.

Inclusion Boy will probably not be able to pass the trig regents, but that doesn't mean he can't benefit from being in the class. Differentiated learning should mean evaluating what kids know not only on tests. Besides, all the kids in the class benefit from being around Inclusion Boy.

I don't know what is in store math wise for Inclusion Boy for the fall. I don't want to ask Mr. AP. I will let his mom handle it. It is just so sad to see statistics take over for education and seeing statistics determine who goes ahead and who stays behind.


Anonymous said...

Have him see his ophthalmologist -- a good one. K went for years not knowing that she has near-point convergence and has to wear prism eyeglasses in order to really see the decimals in mathematics problems. Who knew? No one ever picked it up until she went to a new ophthalmologist in her mid-twenties -- turned out that J has this problem too but not as severely -- and her father has it and never knew.

Kathy says that she finds it baffling that no one ever figured out the problem -- we all just told her not to be so careless. She could literally teach her classmates the mathematics but then would make "stupid" mistakes on the regents.

Inclusion Boy sounds like a similar thing -- worth a try for him.

Math Teacher said...

It is so sad that your AP does not value the good senior teachers he has. Because I have learned the most from the senior teachers I worked with at the school I student taught then then newbies. Which I'm hoping to be soon.

Keep on fighting for what you believe in for your students.

Rachel Grynberg said...

What's the point of inclusion if you can't vary the way you test the kids?
Aren't we supposed to be differentiating instruction, etc? You know, this kid's parents should sue the DOE and he should be able to go to a private school like St. Ann's where, if you were his teacher, you could write a report describing this issue and THAT would be his grade. Numbers, in his case, are useless. I wish you worked somewhere in which you could be appreciated and there was a method to the madness.