Sunday, March 27, 2011
Taking The Easy Way Out
As we begin the fifth marking period of the year, we are constantly reminded that our grades will be used to determine the placement of students for September. Giving one person that much power over another's fate doesn't seem fair or right. Some of these people have little experience but even the ones with years behind them (me included) have been proven wrong.
A young teacher in my department commented that she hoped the only kids who would be allowed to take geometry/trigonometry next year would be the ones who were given approval by their current teacher. Another was overheard telling a parent that her daughter should drop geometry/trigonometry because the girl had no shot of passing. Isn't it possible the these kids could pass with different teachers or on the second time around? This whole emphasis on statistics and no child being left behind is killing the future education of many.
It is true that many of the students don't belong in higher math classes and don't even want to be there, but this isn't true for all. I've seen students no one ( mostly one person) says will ever pass (we alsways had to find a back door to the more advanced class) go on to ace AP calculus and successfully major in math or engineering in college. I've had kids I never thought could do it, and time and time again I am proven wrong.
My friend over at Math Tales From The Spring is going through some of these same issues now, trying to advise kids on the proper classes to take next term. She and I disagree on this point, but maybe she is right. Maybe we should just put them in the classes we know they can pass. This will be easier on everyone in the long run.