Monday, February 22, 2010

The 27% Woman

One year, many years ago, I taught three geometry classes. My passing percentages were 27%, 53% and 92%. What does this say about me? Did I not teach the class with the lowest number of passing students? Did I teach only half the time in the second class? Did I only teach the third class? Is there something wrong with these numbers?

Luckily for me, passing percentages weren't used way back then to judge a teacher. And, if they had been used, the fact that I taught three different groups of the same subject probably would have saved me. Imagine if I only had the class with the 27% passing rate? Would I have been out of a job? Would I be the teacher without merit? Would I now be known as the 27% woman instead of the 60% woman?

I need a drink!


NYC Educator said...

I accept the idea that we need to help kids pass, of course. That is our job. I can't accept the notion that we are the only factor in whether or not kids pass, which seems to be the assumption that Joel Klein has taken.

Actually, I think whenever a kid fails in New York City, it is 100% Joel Klein's fault. I think if he ever makes it anywhere near the pearly gates, he'll have a lot of 'splainin to do.

Anonymous said...

It isn't just Joel Klein who has this superman view of teachers. I sometimes think the kids believe this as well. I know the parents appear to.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny how much power the admins have to stack classes in such a way that any teacher can come out being below or above the magic percentage.

Many years ago, we could still track the progress of a child who scored below the 50 percentile. The stats still showed how much progress the student made--in some cases a year's growth which in itself is a wonderful achievement. But if the bar is only passing grades rather than actual growth then Houston we have a problem.

With all this test prep, we are getting students to pass a test when the reality is, the score does not reflect the actual performance level of the child. Everyone is happy except the teacher who knows that child still needs services, or that child is not in fact ready to move to the next grade.

Like my friend always says after the scores come in, "Didn't you know they are ALL geniuses!!"