Thursday, August 08, 2013

Sometimes Failing Is A Good Thing

I am not a supporter of the Common Core, I don't want kids to be given tests they have been pre -ordained to fail and I certainly don't believe teachers should be evaluated on test scores, and, that is something I must point out before anyone reads this post.

Sometimes failure is good.  It points out weaknesses and encourages the harder work necessary to achieve a goal.  Tony was a sweet young boy with an award winning personality and a smile that could melt the coldest heart.  His eighth grade math teacher fell under his spell and passed him every quarter, with decent grades and his parents were very proud of how well their son was doing in his weakest subject.  Unfortunately the math regents was not introduced to this charmer and he scored 27 out of 100.  (This was back in the days when a student actually had to know something to pass.). His parents were devastated and spoke to the teacher who assured them he was very bright and she had no idea how this had happened.  His parents asked me to tutor him so he could retake the exam in August.  I quickly realized what he knew all along,  he knew no math.  In  6 weeks he managed to bring the grade up to a 60 but he still had severe deficits in the subject.  Thankfully the high school he attended made him repeat the class.  He did well that year and went on to pass geometry and trigonometry.  Failing didn't destroy him.  It made him stronger.

I also tutored Fey, another charmer.  Luckily for her, the charm did not work her first two years.  She struggled, but succeeded.  Good grades were important to her. The third year was her down fall, as she had done service for this teacher and, no matter how badly she did on exams, she still passed the class.  Because she was passing, she never pushed herself. Her parents, seeing her grades were happy as well.  Regents time came and Ashley  failed big time.  She was crushed and had to spend her summer repeating the course.  She did learn a lesson about studying.

Maybe the results of the Common Core exam are misleading and based on some topics students have not been taught, but these exams should be an eye opener.  Exams of the past have had grades so inflated that they had no validity at all.  Years ago teachers wrote exams.  I know many who spent a week in Albany doing just this.  Teachers, not book companies, made the exams and tested what kids have been taught.

Please, don't cry over failing test grades.  Cry over the lack of education today's students are suffering with.

1 comment:

burntoutteacher said...

Wonderfully said. Bottom line is there can be no success unless there is also failure.