The rantings of a teacher who retired from the classroom but not from education.
Saturday, October 17, 2015
How Not To Grade High Schools
How not to grade high schools
Re the Daily News guide to New York’s best high schools: Graduation rates alone are not the only thing that makes a good school. In fact, as a former NYC high school teacher, I am very wary of schools with rates that are too high. I have seen students pushed through and graduated who can barely read and do arithmetic.
Regents exam scores are skewed so that a 65 on an Algebra test is the equivalent of 29 (or less) raw points out of 100. Students who don’t pass the first time have the option of doing a few online problems or going to a two-week after-school program to make up the course they missed. Teachers are pressured to pass everyone. People should wonder why specialneeds students with 70 IQs are suddenly getting Regents diplomas.
A better guide might be a look at courses offered and the number of students taking these courses. Of course college acceptance rates are important, but knowing if these students will have to take and retake remediation courses before they can begin a path to a degree is also important, probably more important. Linda Silverman
The above article was in the Voice Of The People in today's Daily News. It was in response to a supplement to the paper announcing the 50 best high schools in New York City. After years of teaching at Packemin, I know first hand how meaningless graduation rates are. Before I retired I administered a credit recovery program that began with very high requirements and ended up being a joke as the kids just did not do any work. I was ashamed to have to sign off on it. I have heard of students graduating with credits earned by having friends and teachers do assignments online for them. I have heard of special education students who can barely read or do arithmetic getting regents diplomas and have heard of students simultaneously taking 2 courses-signing in for one and attending another, all with the APs approval.
Needless to say, I and most other teachers in the city that care about education were thrilled to see the above in the headline of today's Voice Of The People.