Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I cheated.  I rigged my last algebra test to make sure almost everyone passed, at least I tried to do this.  It worked in the small class but not in the larger one.  It's not that I wanted to give grades for free, it's that I wanted to encourage these kids, show them that passing was possible and that getting a good grade was also something they could accomplish.

I gave the exam on a day when I knew the period would be shortened. But, I left the same number of questions on the exam and decided to see what would happen.  As they worked, I realized finishing would be impossible so I told them they could leave out the last two problems.  A few of the kids managed to do them anyway and I promised extra credit.  The test was worth a little over 100 points.

The results were good.  All except for one passed, and passed well.  The kids were excited.  One girl told me this was the first math test she passed since eighth grade and she had no idea how she even got to eleventh with her dismal math record. 

That day, we started a new topic today.  The kids greeted the topic with enthusiasm and worked hard, hopefully boosted up by the good grade.

I'm not worried about inflated grades.  One test out of 8 for a semester won't carry much weight.  I am happy about the effect these grades had on my students and the way they motivated them to keep on plugging.  Let's hope it keeps going strong.

1 comment:

Aimee Cotton Bogush said...

Confidence is so, so critical! Confidence both "that I can do it" as well as confidence "that if I make mistakes it is OK". Seems a gain in confidence primed your learners for more learning ;-)