Saturday, December 27, 2014

Chaz Got It Right

I just finished reading Chaz's post and was reminded of a meeting I attended at the college several years ago.

The chair people of the college had a lunch meeting with the assistant principals of the math departments of many of the high schools that feed into it.  The college is stressed as students are coming in totally unprepared.  Their arithmetic skills and algebra skills are non existent and they feel a sense of entitlement, an expectation of passing without doing any work.  The point of the meeting was to find a way to work with the high schools to help these students succeed after they receive a diploma.  I remember the college representative telling that students who do not pass the placement exam must take remedial math.  The high school AP was upset about this.  Her students "worked hard" and "succeeded".  She thought it was cruel to make them take remedial.  She did not want to hear that the kids with 75s, who did not pass the placement test were just not ready to go ahead.  She wanted a graduating class that would not take remedial math even if they graduated knowing no math. Other APs started blaming middle and elementary schools.  The idea of the meeting was to fix the problem and not blame anyone.

High Schools could have 100% graduation rate but that would not mean anything if the kids who graduate are not ready to succeed in the world after high school.  I started teaching in the college over 10 years ago.  I've seen a steady decline in the ability of my students.  It is not them.  It is the way they have been taught and the low standards they have been held down to.


Anonymous said...

The students just wanted to get by and pass the class, not have to learn anything. It's easier to pass the students than fight with the administration. In the end, everyone loses.

Anonymous said...

One of my students recently told me that they didn't need math because they were going to be a nurse. I was shocked since I knew she hadn't passed the science regent exam as yet. I asked her about her love for science, she replied, "I hate science. I can't even pass the exam!" She went on to explain that she will be a nurse because she is good at things after she watches them .

Good Luck!

Entitlement. Yes!

PDS8232 said...

I hope she'll let us all know where she finally gets her nursing job.

We Must Dissent said...

I teach high school math, and I completely agree, at least for the district I teach in. Every year, students' abilities get lower and lower. I think there are two reasons. First, there has been a move away from skills to "big picture" understanding. The latter is great and informs skills, but many skills just need a lot of practice, which the students no longer get. Second, nominally higher standards mean dumbing down courses. My state moved from requiring two years of math to three years of math to three years of math at Algebra 1 or higher. As result, Algebra 2, for example, went from a class for students headed to four-year colleges to a class most students take no matter their plans after high school. As such, it has been dumbed *way* down. "Everyone should take Course X" means Course X becomes a course almost everyone passes.