Some math teachers still think that they are great explainers. At times, not knowing how little their students understand what is going on. At the end, these teachers tend to have one of the lowest, if not the lowest, passing percentages on the Regents exam. Then, they argue that just because their students fail the Regents exam, it does not suggest that the students do not know the math. They also argue that just because other teachers can get their students to pass the Regents exam, it does not mean that their students know the math. Unfortunately, no one uses Regents failing percentage to figure out how good a school is or how much students have learned.
If you are saying HUH after reading that, you are not alone. This is just a little piece of a memo sent out by Mr. AP.
Mr. AP was "beamed up" a while ago and when they "beamed" him back down they must have kept some vital brain matter if he believes that passing a regents exam means the student actually knows some math. Since when does less than 30 points out of a possible 87 equate to knowledge? The teachers with these lower passing rates, myself included, know exactly what our students know and do not know. The difference between us and the others is that we actually teach math. We give exams that require students to show what they understand. Mr. AP wants our exams to be 70% multiple choice. But, if I am only looking at answers, how can I possibly assess where the problems lie? There are major differences between a kid who accidentally leaves out a negative sign and one who has no clue as to how to approach the problem but a multiple choice answer will not show this.
If you are teaching MR21 or MR21R and you have sophomores or juniors who truly do not belong, I would like you to have a conversation with such students about moving to MM3G, particular if they have exam scores of 40 or below. I had a junior like that and I had her moved to MM3g. Of the 15 homework assignments I gave, she did not complete a single one correctly. Her exam grade was in the 40’s. When she told me x^2 + x = 3x, I had her moved. There is no way I can possibly fill the gaps in her math knowledge so that she can pass the Regents exam.
MR 21 is our school code for trigonometry. Kids can't get to trigonometry unless they passed the geometry and the algebra regents. So, this paragraph contradicts the first one. Passing a regents does not equate to knowledge.
The other part of this paragraph that bothers me is Mr. AP's admission of not being able to fill the gaps in this girl's education. I have to fill the gaps for my students but he doesn't. Also, is it right to move students so early in the semester? Maybe they need time to adjust. I know of kids who claimed they couldn't do the work just so they could take an easier route or escape a teacher they did not like.
We are supposed to be constantly assessing our students. Teachers like me have been doing this for years. No one ever told us to do it, or how to do it, we just did it naturally. Now we are using multiple choice tests and assessing to the point where kids are getting tracked in a way that allows no escape. And, once again, the teacher is being blamed.