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8FillTheHeart

"The high stat kids can't think; they can't apply what they supposedly know."

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I didn't read anything other than your post Janice, but if they are expecting a 4th grader to read 3 different stories and write a comparitive essay as a response, then that is way out of whack with appropriate skill levels for 4th graders, IMHO. Considering how many high schoolers' essays I have read that can't write as coherent Of a comparison as that paragraph, I would suspect the only way they will get 4th graders there will be by doing nothing but replicating that assignment repetitively for months. (Which to me defeats the entire purpose behind writing instruction) But it does not surprise me bc I completely disagree with the ps goals of most elementary level subjects.

 

Connections, CC professes to address critical thinking, but call me completely skeptical. In order for those goals actually to be achieved, teachers really need to have freedom to teach vs being constrained by constant dictates and that means teachers need to know how to teach. I'm convinced of neither.

Agreed. You are pulling off my rose colored glasses through which I was seeing a distant gleam of hope. Thanks. :)

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This is an extract from an English literature mark scheme for GCSE (taken at age 16).  

 

01 Answer Part (a) and Part ( b ). 
Part (a) 
 
How does Shakespeare make the following extract from Act 1 Scene 1 dramatic 
and interesting for the audience? 
 
and then Part ( b )
 
Explain how Shakespeare shows the witches as a powerful influence on Macbeth 
in another part of the play. 
 (30 marks)
 
 
Indicative Content 
 
Examiners are encouraged to reward any valid interpretations. Answers 
might, however, include some of the following: 
AO1 
ï‚· Evaluation of dramatic effect of setting, atmosphere and the characters of the 
witches. 
ï‚· Appropriate details of characters' behaviour and attitudes, prophetic abilities, 
knowledge. 
AO2 
ï‚· Shakespeare's craft and purpose re language: tone, imagery, rhetorical 
devices, rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, paradox. 
ï‚· Themes introduced and hints of what is to come. 
ï‚· Interpretation and response to the witches, Shakespeare's stagecraft. 
 
Indicative content ( b )
AO1 
ï‚· Explanation of context and situation in chosen scene. 
ï‚· Appropriate details of the witches’ behaviour and Macbeth's response. 
AO2 
ï‚· Shakespeare's craft and purpose re language, structure and form. 
ï‚· Interpretation and response to the behaviour of the witches and Macbeth. 
 
Candidates should deal with both parts of the question. To achieve a mark 
in Band 4 or higher, candidates should offer a substantial treatment of both 
parts 
 
This is the explanation of the AO levels
 
AO1 
ï‚· respond to texts critically and imaginatively; select and evaluate relevant 
textual detail to illustrate and support interpretations 
 
AO2 
ï‚· explain how language, structure and form contribute to writers’ presentation of 
ideas, themes and settings 
 
There are higher AO levels that happen not to apply to these questions.
 
L

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It doesn't stop there.... there are multiple choice on the exams for graduate and professional school as well - GRE, MCAT, GMAT, etc.

 

 

But I think there is a big difference between multiple choice on a test that thousands of students will take, after different classroom and homelife situations, under subtly different testing situations (I never took the SAT at my home high school and had to travel to unfamiliar areas of our city and once to a neighboring state), that is used to try to rank students across the country vs tests given by a classroom teacher to 30-100 students (if there are multiple sections) after instruction by that teacher in the subject at hand.

 

I think part of what has happened is that districts and teachers are no longer willing or able to withstand the pushback from students or parents who want to argue about grades.

 

When I was in junior high in the 1980s, my US history teacher would give unit tests like this: "Describe the causes of the Civil War." That one line would be at the top of a mimeographed test page, with the rest of the page (and the back) blank for us to use answering the question. We didn't tend to write formal 5 paragraph essays, but she did expect references to specific Congressional Acts, court decisions, political movements and at least a general sense of timeline if not specific dates.

 

I think many teachers would shy away from tests like this. Not only are they somewhat harder to write (The question is easy, but determining acceptable ranges of answers takes time. Plus many curriculum come with multiple choice test banks), but you open yourself up to disgruntled parents complaining about grades (and may not have much back up from administrations). It is also much more time consuming to grade. When I did an Intro to Literature course in our coop, it took me 30-60 minutes to grade student essays, especially if I was going to make corrections, suggestions or remarks. This was manageable with nine students but would have been a real burden with sixty.

 

So I understand some of the pressures to use multiple choice. I even think they are appropriate in some cases.

 

I do wish that MC were restrained more to lower level questions, with more preparation and emphasis on thinking and writing. Students will find it hard to rise above what is expected of them. If the assessment requirements are recognition of correct answers, they will prep one way. If they know they have to problem solve or write out actual definitions or short essays, they will prep differently.

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What this particular quote says to me is

 

1. All children start out with the potential to be geniuses, and we (the parents, the system, life, the universe) ruin the vast majority of them

 

or

 

2. Better tests need to be written

 

or

 

3. Testing is useless

 

 

An interesting discussion all in all.

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

 

Or that tests that measure divergent thinking in young children are a real bear to write, because young children are still in the process of learning about the world and making sense of it. They haven't yet learned where the box is to be in or out of.

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My son's high school has essay questions on his English, history, science and Latin exams but not computer science or math.

 

Unless it's changed, the first six or so actuarial exams have multiple choice and thereafter they're essays.

 

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I received a phone call from his teacher.  She told me that my son was at a serious disadvantage coming from a Montessori environment since he did not have any experience taking multiple choice test.  She told me that my son would not be successful unless he learned how to take multiple choice tests.  This conversation terrified me and was the straw that broke the camel's back: we withdrew my son the next day.

I heard this repeatedly on the soccer fields or other places where parents congregated.  Teachers and classroom assistants would regularly tell me how "behind" those Montessori children were.  One of the problems that the public schools had was interpreting the Montessori progress reports.  Full mastery of a topic like division might take several years to achieve.  The progress report indicated when a topic was introduced and what steps were being made in the subject.  It seems like people in the traditional paradigm could not wrap their heads around that one.  Imagine my surprise when a public school teacher friend in another state (now retired) said that her system was converting to a Montessori-like progress report!  They were doing away with letter grades in the hope of explaining to parents where their kids stood on a broader array of topics.  Apparently the parents were not taking it well.  They liked seeing all of those shiny A's next to their kid's name--even if the A's were quite meaningless.

 

Those parents on the soccer fields thought that I was a snob since I refused to enroll my child in the local public schools.  Parents would corner me to tell me of their brilliant children and of their intellectual prowess.  But everything changed around junior year of high school.  Their little geniuses were not succeeding in AP classes or they were getting in trouble or they refused to remain on whatever track the parents felt they should be on.  It was then that I had a couple people say "Well I never could have homeschooled but you were smart to do this."  Perhaps they realized that the emperor was not fully clothed?  It can be lonely though if you are one of the few in your community who recognize this.

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I agree. I am using multiple choice questions in class discussions, as part of all my exams.

When constructing the answers, I work in the common misconceptions and typical mistakes, and seeing a student's answer can tell me much about his level of understanding. It is also possible to require a student to work out a complex problem and to use multiple choice only as the answer format. Guessing will not be terribly useful - with four choices, a sole guesser would achieve an average of 25%.

The format multiple choice does not say anything about the quality and value of the assessment. If the questions are well designed, they can be as valuable as a full page of calculations.

 

Yes.

 

For a much simpler example: Let us say that I am putting together a multiple choice exam to test fractions. Let us say that I put the problem 1/2 + 1/3 on there. I will of course put the correct answer on there. I know that one of the biggest mistakes students make will be adding the numerators and the denominators, so I will also put 2/5 as an answer. Another mistake that students make will be forgetting which operation they are using, so I will also put 1/6 and 3/2 as answers. This encompasses virtually all of the mistakes that I have seen students make with fractions.

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Yes.

 

For a much simpler example: Let us say that I am putting together a multiple choice exam to test fractions. Let us say that I put the problem 1/2 + 1/3 on there. I will of course put the correct answer on there. I know that one of the biggest mistakes students make will be adding the numerators and the denominators, so I will also put 2/5 as an answer. Another mistake that students make will be forgetting which operation they are using, so I will also put 1/6 and 3/2 as answers. This encompasses virtually all of the mistakes that I have seen students make with fractions.

 

I can see how this would encompass the mistakes, but why not just have the children write the correct answer?  Is the test being machine marked?

 

L

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I can see how this would encompass the mistakes, but why not just have the children write the correct answer?  Is the test being machine marked?

 

L

For the nationally standardized ones, yes.  Some schools have the means to do so as well.  In college and some high school classes, instructors will use something along the lines of powerpoint and clickers to quiz the room throughout the class, often using multiple choice as the format.  Many graduate or professional exams are a combo of multi choice and essay.  AP exams are often multi choice and essay or problem solving.

 

I was listening to one program where they discussed how with the digital format they are able to study the dwell time a student has per question, attempts and corrections, patterns of answering, skips and returns and so forth and are beginning to derive some data that may be very "helpful" in determining student placement, relative ability and so forth. 

 

There is a lot of buzz now about machine graded essays.  With rubics and algorithms they are showing some pretty amazing results in grading essays via "machine".  I want to be skeptical and nay-say, but if they continue to improve it may well be that by the time Dd is in college the blue book will be replaced with a blue box.

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Yes.

 

For a much simpler example: Let us say that I am putting together a multiple choice exam to test fractions. Let us say that I put the problem 1/2 + 1/3 on there. I will of course put the correct answer on there. I know that one of the biggest mistakes students make will be adding the numerators and the denominators, so I will also put 2/5 as an answer. Another mistake that students make will be forgetting which operation they are using, so I will also put 1/6 and 3/2 as answers. This encompasses virtually all of the mistakes that I have seen students make with fractions.

 

You should add 1/5 to the list. Just saw that the other week.

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Those parents on the soccer fields thought that I was a snob since I refused to enroll my child in the local public schools.  Parents would corner me to tell me of their brilliant children and of their intellectual prowess.  But everything changed around junior year of high school.  Their little geniuses were not succeeding in AP classes or they were getting in trouble or they refused to remain on whatever track the parents felt they should be on.  It was then that I had a couple people say "Well I never could have homeschooled but you were smart to do this."  Perhaps they realized that the emperor was not fully clothed?  It can be lonely though if you are one of the few in your community who recognize this.

I get this sometimes as well from the local parents. Homeschooling is not common at all where I live, and I never mention that we homeschool unless another parent asks what school my kids attend.  Many times, once the parent finds out that I homeschool, they immediately feel the need to tell me how happy they are with our local schools and how their kids are so brilliant that they get 100% on every test.

 

A couple of times I have been extremely tempted to offer my condolences that their children are not engaged in a challenging educational program, but I always just change the subject instead.  ;)   

 

I don't think the parents around me have realized that the emperor is not fully clothed.  I had one mom tell me that her daughter received all A's in every class she took in high school.  However, after multiple attempts, her highest ACT score was in the low 20's.  Rather than thinking her dd's education had been lacking, the mom concluded that her dd was a poor test taker.

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No, you're not alone.  We've been visiting a variety of colleges up here (recently moved north).  It's so dang depressing that last week, in desperation, dc and I were pondering the possibility of applying directly to grad school, skipping all the supposed 'undergrad' garbage which, in reality, is just catchup for high school kids who were never taught to think/write/math .... in the first place. 

...

... So, basically, the undergrad is irrelevant.  It's the grad school that he's aiming for.  And that about sums up how I've been feeling as we visit these colleges  --  let dc pick the undergrad which makes them LOOK the best (and feel lucky if they get a little bit of an education in the process).  Then, participate in as many extras as possible, and aim for the best grad school they can find in hopes of getting some kind of an education ....... at some point along the way. 

I could have quoted your entire post, but snipped to avoid taking big space.  The "...basically, the undergrad is irrelevant..." bit is one we keep encountering from students and professors.  It is frankly scary.  I can understand why so many teens we know are opting to start at age 16 (understand, but not sure how I feel about it).  It just seems more and more it (a BA/BS) is viewed as the next certification to say I am what a high school grad was assumed to be decades ago.  The thing is they are paying a lot for it and are having to think in terms of paying for a masters, professional degree and/or PhD as well. 

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I don't think the parents around me have realized that the emperor is not fully clothed.  I had one mom tell me that her daughter received all A's in every class she took in high school.  However, after multiple attempts, her highest ACT score was in the low 20's.  Rather than thinking her dd's education had been lacking, the mom concluded that her dd was a poor test taker.

 

This is super common.  Once in a great while, it is likely true, but not nearly as often as the reason is used.

 

It was a bit interesting keeping my job at school while choosing to homeschool my own during their high school years (older two anyway).  The questioning stopped when I got to answer the questions related to how mine did on the SAT/ACT... sometimes others were also genuinely inquiring as to how I did it.

 

My youngest is just as academically talented as his brothers, but his scores are a good bit lower due to his choosing to return to ps.  He's realizing the effects this year when we went on our college visits.  Scores aren't everything in life though.  He still has a top choice that will work for his desires in life - IF he can get enough $$ (easier with higher scores).

 

Our school is trying to improve, but it's difficult to change entrenched ideas when few have been places/seen things to show them that it can be done.  Change also needs to start at a younger age.  When there's a shallow foundation, it's hard to add the high school material on top.

 

Then there are plenty who feel that those who score high on state tests (not difficult to do) need no other challenges.  They feel those students should be spending their time helping their lower level peers.  I cringe when I hear that.  It would be fine if they helped AND got more advanced material suitable to their ability, but it's not an "and."  It's "instead of."

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I get this sometimes as well from the local parents. Homeschooling is not common at all where I live, and I never mention that we homeschool unless another parent asks what school my kids attend.  Many times, once the parent finds out that I homeschool, they immediately feel the need to tell me how happy they are with our local schools and how their kids are so brilliant that they get 100% on every test.

 

 

The last couple of years, I am seeing it with the homeschoolers.  The trend that really makes me wince is cramming math hard in the middle years, then taking a year to prep for the SAT/ACT and then college acceptance and attendance by age 15/16.  To produce transcripts, credit is given for just about anything remotely close to content (watching History Channel = World History, Writing practice for the SAT/ACT writing = English Credit...) I am not sure how I feel about it, not sure at all.  On the one hand, why not get on with it and knock out that first degree.  On the other, it all has to be about something more.  Sigh....

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This is super common.  Once in a great while, it is likely true, but not nearly as often as the reason is used.

 

 

:iagree:

 

The same situation occurs with AP exams.  A few years ago, I asked for the results of the AP tests.  The highest score on the AP Calc exam was a lone 3.  16 out of the 18 students that took calc that year received a 1 on the exam.  I am friends with one of the moms that had a child in that class.  He received an A in the class, and a 1 on the exam.  Grade inflation is rampant at this school, and I am sure that this child was not the only one who received an A in the class along with a 1 on the exam.

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:iagree:

 

The same situation occurs with AP exams.  A few years ago, I asked for the results of the AP tests.  The highest score on the AP Calc exam was a lone 3.  16 out of the 18 students that took calc that year received a 1 on the exam.  I am friends with one of the moms that had a child in that class.  He received an A in the class, and a 1 on the exam.  Grade inflation is rampant at this school, and I am sure that this child was not the only one who received an A in the class along with a 1 on the exam.

If I didn't know better I'd swear you were in my district.  Those are essentially the same stats we had back when we offered those classes as AP.  Now we have them as DE instead and an "A" (or "B") comes with college credit without needing to take the AP test.  It's one of the main reasons I suspect many colleges are refusing to take DE credits - or are very hesitant about them.  The course content and ability of the students hasn't changed.  The AP test might not be perfect, but it does set a standard across the nation.  An "A" is meaningless unless one knows the specific course/teacher.

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If I didn't know better I'd swear you were in my district.  Those are essentially the same stats we had back when we offered those classes as AP.  Now we have them as DE instead and an "A" (or "B") comes with college credit without needing to take the AP test.  It's one of the main reasons I suspect many colleges are refusing to take DE credits - or are very hesitant about them.  The course content and ability of the students hasn't changed.  The AP test might not be perfect, but it does set a standard across the nation.  An "A" is meaningless unless one knows the specific course/teacher.

We have an explosion of DE in the schools (stimulated by monies from the Race to the Top grants) and I have been a bit suspicious about this happening.  It may explain what I have seen the last two years...

 

Agree with the bolded, just wish the AP exams were more accessible (not dependent on a given school allowing a student to sit) and maybe even done twice a year instead of once.

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 Imagine my surprise when a public school teacher friend in another state (now retired) said that her system was converting to a Montessori-like progress report!  They were doing away with letter grades in the hope of explaining to parents where their kids stood on a broader array of topics.  Apparently the parents were not taking it well.  They liked seeing all of those shiny A's next to their kid's name--even if the A's were quite meaningless.

 

Those parents on the soccer fields thought that I was a snob since I refused to enroll my child in the local public schools.  Parents would corner me to tell me of their brilliant children and of their intellectual prowess.  But everything changed around junior year of high school.  Their little geniuses were not succeeding in AP classes or they were getting in trouble or they refused to remain on whatever track the parents felt they should be on.  It was then that I had a couple people say "Well I never could have homeschooled but you were smart to do this."  Perhaps they realized that the emperor was not fully clothed?  It can be lonely though if you are one of the few in your community who recognize this.

 

I was shocked when the teacher at the Montessori school provided me with scores for my son on a California standardized test.  I didn't know they were administering the test and told her I was shocked that they would even administer the test as it is anathema to the Montessori philosophy.  The teacher sighed and said she wished all the other parents were as well informed as I was -- most WANTED the standardized scores.  She was, by the way, hugely supportive of my decision a year or two later to start homeschooling.

 

I also see, by the way, homeschool grads who are floundering in community college or in food service jobs, who are not on any kind of path for their lives, whether academic or trade or craft.  Through the years I was alternately perceived as the snob whose educational choices were too rigid, or the creative unschooler who gave her kids too much freedom.     

 

No, you're not alone.  We've been visiting a variety of colleges up here (recently moved north).  It's so dang depressing that last week, in desperation, dc and I were pondering the possibility of applying directly to grad school, skipping all the supposed 'undergrad' garbage which, in reality, is just catchup for high school kids who were never taught to think/write/math .... in the first place.  Most of my dc aren't wanting to go into STEM majors, so I don't really see why they couldn't just skip on over to grad school for the things they are wanting to do.  We were kind of half kidding, but still ...... 

 

[snip]

 

At one point, dc just looked at me and said, "All these colleges are the same no matter where we are."

 

[snip]

 

So, basically, the undergrad is irrelevant.  It's the grad school that he's aiming for.  And that about sums up how I've been feeling as we visit these colleges  --  let dc pick the undergrad which makes them LOOK the best (and feel lucky if they get a little bit of an education in the process).  Then, participate in as many extras as possible, and aim for the best grad school they can find in hopes of getting some kind of an education ....... at some point along the way. 

 

 

I could have quoted your entire post, but snipped to avoid taking big space.  The "...basically, the undergrad is irrelevant..." bit is one we keep encountering from students and professors.  It is frankly scary.  I can understand why so many teens we know are opting to start at age 16 (understand, but not sure how I feel about it).  It just seems more and more it (a BA/BS) is viewed as the next certification to say I am what a high school grad was assumed to be decades ago.  The thing is they are paying a lot for it and are having to think in terms of paying for a masters, professional degree and/or PhD as well. 

 

I think this is a bit cynical and alarmist.  Not every undergraduate program is expensive remedial high school.  Several of us have kids who are doing very challenging coursework at small LACs in addition to doing hands on research with faculty.  There are excellent professional schools, too, such as the one my oldest attended to study lighting and stage-craft.  Even at the biggest state universities you can find challenging courses and engaged professors.  Of course there are huge numbers of unprepared students who drop out, or who cruise through it all simply to experience all that college life can offer such as greek life and football. Not my kid's cuppa, but important to some. But there many undergraduate programs across the country where serious students can learn while they finish growing and maturing.

 

Several LACs have special engineering programs where you spend the first 3 years at the LAC getting a liberal arts education, then transfer to an engineering school for a 2 year's masters degree.   

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I have been thinking about this topic all morning. My dh was always a bit worried about homeschooling high school until this year. This year, he has made several new friends with senior or freshman in college.  The common thread is "they had an A in AP calc, why are they flunking out of calc 1" or the more common lament, "they have straight A's in the IB program, why are their ACT scores so low?"

 

I feel for the kids and the parents. It is late in the game to realize that that your kids' GPAs are not a true indicator of what they know.

 

We are struggling with my dd2's education. We have to play the NCAA game, but between her sports and transcript needs, she doesn't have the down time to really learn and explore. I feel like I am two people, like JennW said, the crazy pushing parent and the crazy unschooler who is demanding that her teens have free time.

 

I don't know what the answer to any of this is, but the problem seems to be deeper than just our educational system.

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We are struggling with my dd2's education. We have to play the NCAA game, but between her sports and transcript needs, she doesn't have the down time to really learn and explore. I feel like I am two people, like JennW said, the crazy pushing parent and the crazy unschooler who is demanding that her teens have free time.

 

I don't know what the answer to any of this is, but the problem seems to be deeper than just our educational system.

The top schools on my junior's list are all Div III schools, so thankfully, I will not be dealing with the NCAA for my oldest. 

 

My freshman may end up playing Div I, so I am keeping records that satisfy the NCAA.  I am curious if you think that the NCAA is affecting how you homeschool?  (I hope this doesn't sound judgmental because, obviously, that is not my intent.) 

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If I didn't know better I'd swear you were in my district.  Those are essentially the same stats we had back when we offered those classes as AP.  Now we have them as DE instead and an "A" (or "B") comes with college credit without needing to take the AP test.  It's one of the main reasons I suspect many colleges are refusing to take DE credits - or are very hesitant about them.  The course content and ability of the students hasn't changed.  The AP test might not be perfect, but it does set a standard across the nation.  An "A" is meaningless unless one knows the specific course/teacher.

 

Are the DE classes taught on the high school's campus? While searching for colleges for ds, I noticed many said that DE credits "may" transfer, but only if they were taken on a college campus. DE classes taken at the high school were not even eligible for transfer consideration.

 

I grew thick skin *fast* when we started homeschooling. I was accused of everything from "trying too hard" during our first year (I actually had people a bit put out that none of us burned out, and even said I was making them look bad!) to being an "overachiever" and a "slave driver" after a few years. My kids are reaping the benefits now, and several of theirs are struggling. The funny thing? I provided/am providing the level of education I received. It isn't that difficult for 'average' kids (LDs not withstanding) to do well, yet I heard about it all.the.time. I don't hear about it anymore, as I don't socialize much! :lol:

 

 

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Are the DE classes taught on the high school's campus? While searching for colleges for ds, I noticed many said that DE credits "may" transfer, but only if they were taken on a college campus. DE classes taken at the high school were not even eligible for transfer consideration.

 

 

Most of ours are taught in the high school with the same teacher who used to teach AP (if they are still teaching).  A few courses kids have to take at the local cc as there's not enough interest to have a full class in the high school.

 

Our state schools and state related schools do give credit for the courses.  Some privates still do.  Some don't.

 

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I think this is a bit cynical and alarmist.  Not every undergraduate program is expensive remedial high school.  Several of us have kids who are doing very challenging coursework at small LACs in addition to doing hands on research with faculty.  There are excellent professional schools, too, such as the one my oldest attended to study lighting and stage-craft.  Even at the biggest state universities you can find challenging courses and engaged professors.  Of course there are huge numbers of unprepared students who drop out, or who cruise through it all simply to experience all that college life can offer such as greek life and football. Not my kid's cuppa, but important to some. But there many undergraduate programs across the country where serious students can learn while they finish growing and maturing.

 

Several LACs have special engineering programs where you spend the first 3 years at the LAC getting a liberal arts education, then transfer to an engineering school for a 2 year's masters degree.   

That is a fair response and taken to heart because I often find my faith renewed by reading the adventures of so many of those posting here.   

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That is a fair response and taken to heart because I often find my faith renewed by reading the adventures of so many of those posting here.   

 

School A is not equal to School B.

 

Even within a school, Student A is not equal to Student B.

 

One needs to find a school that fits academically and financially, then ignore those there for different reasons (well, they can still be friends, but...) and walk their own path at the school.  Chances are, they'll find peers who are just like them in the process if they seek those out who enjoy similar things via clubs or other ECs and in class.  Their peer group won't necessarily include everyone at the school though.

 

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Through the years I was alternately perceived as the snob whose educational choices were too rigid, or the creative unschooler who gave her kids too much freedom.     

 

 

I have been thinking about this topic all morning. My dh was always a bit worried about homeschooling high school until this year. This year, he has made several new friends with senior or freshman in college.  The common thread is "they had an A in AP calc, why are they flunking out of calc 1" or the more common lament, "they have straight A's in the IB program, why are their ACT scores so low?"

 

I feel for the kids and the parents. It is late in the game to realize that that your kids' GPAs are not a true indicator of what they know.

 

We are struggling with my dd2's education. We have to play the NCAA game, but between her sports and transcript needs, she doesn't have the down time to really learn and explore. I feel like I am two people, like JennW said, the crazy pushing parent and the crazy unschooler who is demanding that her teens have free time.

 

I don't know what the answer to any of this is, but the problem seems to be deeper than just our educational system.

 

 

I grew thick skin *fast* when we started homeschooling. I was accused of everything from "trying too hard" during our first year (I actually had people a bit put out that none of us burned out, and even said I was making them look bad!) to being an "overachiever" and a "slave driver" after a few years.

Just relating with the above...big time!

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This is tangential to the thread topic, but it bothers me that so many students fail to see the relevance of a BA/BS or recognize that their professors have knowledge to share.  Frankly the "know it all" students whom I have met, for the most part, display the arrogance of youth.  They don't know it all!  They just think they do!

 

For example, when I taught at an engineering school, I once had a student yell at me in a Calculus course because I did some algebraic operation differently than a high school teacher did.  He had learned one method and thought it was the only method.  I was ignorant in his eyes.  I shrugged my shoulders and told him that his way worked too--then demonstrated it.  Why didn't I do that in the first place?  Because there is more than one way to solve a problem in mathematics.

 

If a degree is viewed as a check off sheet, then maybe it is irrelevant. I think that adults who return to school or use online programs to expedite a degree may have reason to view the degree as a check off sheet, a means to an end.

 

But it saddens me that an eighteen year old would be so close minded to think that he already knows more than the PhDs on a college campus.  I wonder if he has coffee with his professors, if he tries to go beyond what he sees as the superficial. 

 

Sorry for the tangential rant.  Now back to the regularly scheduled program....

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The top schools on my junior's list are all Div III schools, so thankfully, I will not be dealing with the NCAA for my oldest. 

 

My freshman may end up playing Div I, so I am keeping records that satisfy the NCAA.  I am curious if you think that the NCAA is affecting how you homeschool?  (I hope this doesn't sound judgmental because, obviously, that is not my intent.) 

I don't know that it is affecting my homeschool that much, but I am more aware of things like course titles and textbooks. The bigger issue is that my dd1 is already less likely to go out of the box, and because of her sports dreams, does not want to go "'off the beaten path."

 

I don't want her high school to be just checking off boxes, if that makes sense.

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"The high stats kids can't think; they can't apply what they supposedly know."

 

I'm assuming that the high stats they're referring to are their grades from schools which grade inflate.  I really don't see how a student scoring in the top percentages of the SAT/ACT can't think.  These tests require being able to think.  Certainly those who have spent quite a bit of time prepping or being tutored on how to take the test have an advantage, but I don't think that you can take a student who is truly not capable of reading, understanding and answering questions for which the answer isn't always obvious, or doing math problems which require thought, and produce a high stats (SAT/ACT) student.  But that same student can certainly come out of their high school with a 4.0/5 or 6 point something.

 

As far as a student who is very advanced in math having an advantage when it comes to the standardized tests, I think the opposite is true.  Calculus and other college level math isn't on those tests, and what is isn't exactly fresh.  Yes, most of that is used/needed for the upper level math, but some of it really isn't and requires a refresher to get back up to speed.  Students taking a heavy college course load don't have the time, or honestly the inclination, to do that. 

 

What also strikes me is that we can look at any stats or info which apply to students in general, but it may mean little when it comes to what it means for one individual student.   At my dd's college, there are many withdrawals and failures in classes.  Has that affected her learning experience?   Honestly, no.  She has chosen to challenge herself and work hard regardless what some others may be doing.  The professors don't change the syllabus, or the tests, or anything else.  Help is always available to the students who need it and take the steps necessary to get it.  So while choosing a good fit for college is ideal, it is also true that even at a "lesser" college, a motivated outstanding student will likely be outstanding and seek the classes, professors and opportunities which will continue to challenge them and prepare them for graduate school or their career.

 

As the reality is that the high stat colleges/universities are admitting only a very small percentage of those who apply, I think that part of our job as parents is to work with this reality and assure students who think they can only get educated at a top university, that they can get a good education at a less selective school as well.  Every college my dd has visited she says she could see herself there.  She recognizes the ways in which her experience would likely be different, but she would make it work for her.   We all have restraints whether it be academic, financial, geographic, or whatever and we need to be flexible.   Visiting and asking questions is probably the best way to figure out the fit, but as you've mentioned, sometimes we can't visit and just have to go with what's available on the web and then ask specific questions as needed.  That's why the visit reports here are so helpful.  Thank you to all who share their experiences!

 

 

 

 

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Jane, I think one reason that students may see a BA/BS as nothing more than a check list without purpose is because that is how their education has felt to them from K-12. After 13 mind numbing years of modern educational theory, coupled with zero tolerance policies that make NO SENSE, administrators that do not seem to care a lick about the students, all attempts at creative thinking and problem solving put down with prejudice in order to create "a standard product", no room for individuality, passions, or talents, and mindless bubble test after bubble test after bubble test without any opportunity to link learning to real life application, they are just burned out and the BA/BS just appears to them, from the outside looking in, like it will be more of the same. If their parents have not been able or unwilling to counteract those messages or if they had to "jump the hoop" just in order to stay employed in a job in which the degree would not be particularly pertinent, or ... you get the picture. It is just so sad. But, I think this is at the root of the problem. They don't see the positive side of education because their experiences are just so negative. I have no evidence, but I'd be willing to guess burnout accounts for a lot of this attitude, and that the rest is a certain "I'm the top of the heap" attitude that comes from a culture in which for sake of "self-esteem" students are praised without achievement and come to believe that whatever way they do things, this must be the best way or even the only way. Couple that with many times, burned out teachers, unqualified teachers, substandard curriculum,...it's a recipe for disaster.

 

On top of that, there are kids who not because of lack of intelligence but due to personality traits and passions, are being funneled to college through the one size fits all policies of modern education even though it's not a good fit. The fact that the economy has taken such a beating that many of the trade skills they would have liked to pursue through apprenticeship, work, and trade school are not employing people, is causing many of them to feel trapped. I think that comes out in attitude as well.

 

I am afraid that many students now arrive on campus dazed, jaded, and rather tired.

 

And, I'm probably jaded myself because I'm having a health problem and still stare at 4.5 years of running this educational rat race on a conveyor belt that seems to increase in velocity/intensity every year in order to poise the boys for the programs of their choice with much needed merit money. I want to collapse, and I can't. So, possibly my opinion is of no value because, hmmm... it rained this morning, and then snowed -dropping the temp a good 10 degrees in one hour, and I'm anemic so I have enough brain fog that after years of teaching algebra, I actually had to sit and think about how to teach my tutoring student how to graph the solution of a simple set of linear equations. I sure would like my brain back. You all may need to disregard this post if it makes no sense!

 

Faith

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"The high stats kids can't think; they can't apply what they supposedly know."

 

I'm assuming that the high stats they're referring to are their grades from schools which grade inflate. I really don't see how a student scoring in the top percentages of the SAT/ACT can't think. These tests require being able to think. Certainly those who have spent quite a bit of time prepping or being tutored on how to take the test have an advantage, but I don't think that you can take a student who is truly not capable of reading, understanding and answering questions for which the answer isn't always obvious, or doing math problems which require thought, and produce a high stats (SAT/ACT) student. But that same student can certainly come out of their high school with a 4.0/5 or 6 point something.!

No. He was not referring to grade inflation. He specifically stated NMF in his rant. He obviously was not in a dialogue mood, so I can't elaborate very much since it was not a discussion. :p I am only restating what he said. What he said was(paraphrasing) their campus was full of NMF with pages of AP classes and 4.0GPAs that entered into his honors physics classes not being able to use any of the calculus they supposedly learned in their AP cal classes to actually solve physics problems and that he had students crying bc they didn't know what they were supposed to do and claiming they had never seen before what he expected them to know.

 

Just repeating what he ranted. No interpretation or opinion here.

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I think what Faith said was right on the money.  Kids seem to be checking off boxes, as if there is a perfect recipe for success. It is very hard to convince them that there are many ways to get to college and to be successful in life.

 

And I think that a high score (earned through serious test prep and taken many times) is often just another box to check. For some kids, it is just another way to perform and not to learn.

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Sounds like their AP calculus classes were lacking.  No AoPS done here, but dd had no problem applying her calculus knowledge, from self-study and CC classes,  to her physics classes.   I can't speak to how well the AP test score translates to using calculus in physics as I'm not at all familiar with the test.  What I do know is that a CC class covers in 10 to 16 weeks what is covered in a school year in AP Calculus AB.   I don't think that a student lacking in good work habits would succeed in the CC class, but they could probably manage to do well in the AP AB class as the material is covered at a much slower pace. And we've heard many accounts here of inflated grades in AP courses.  Just my thoughts.

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. I sure would like my brain back. You all may need to disregard this post if it makes no sense!

 

Faith

 

Faith -- I hated clicking "like" because I don't like that you are having a tough time from not feeling well.  But I do like what you wrote -- your brain is functioning and you were articulate in spite of the fog.

 

Take care, and have a cup of hot tea.  Or come to Southern California where it is supposed to be in the 90s on Wednesday!

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Sounds like their AP calculus classes were lacking.  .

:iagree:

 

My public school does not list the AP scores on the high school transcript (which is a good idea), so all that the colleges would see is that the student received an A in AP calc and have no way of knowing that the same student's exam score was a 1.

 

In my opinion, the SAT/ACT is not the best indicator of a student's ability and knowledge. That is why the top colleges also request SAT Subject Tests (which do test actual knowledge) and AMC scores. 

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Sounds like their AP calculus classes were lacking.  No AoPS done here, but dd had no problem applying her calculus knowledge, from self-study and CC classes,  to her physics classes.   I can't speak to how well the AP test score translates to using calculus in physics as I'm not at all familiar with the test.  What I do know is that a CC class covers in 10 to 16 weeks what is covered in a school year in AP Calculus AB.   I don't think that a student lacking in good work habits would succeed in the CC class, but they could probably manage to do well in the AP AB class as the material is covered at a much slower pace. And we've heard many accounts here of inflated grades in AP courses.  Just my thoughts.

 

FWIW, my take is that the professor was referring students who scored well on the AP test itself rather than students who performed well within a course, as the test does not involve a lot of depth.  If the AP courses were lacking, they were lacking depth not required by AP.

 

I think the professor's lament is a bit like what Rusczyk noted with regard to problem solving and high school prep.  A couple quotes:

 

I saw this a lot at Princeton. Students go through, they get hundreds on everything, they get a five on the AP Calculus exam, they get 800 on the SAT, and then they go off to Princeton and this happens to them [they get turned off by the difficulty of college courses]

 

...

The AP calculus exam is extremely easy. You take the AP calculus exam and you compare how students do on it to, say, the AMC contests or contests like this. You’ll see lots of kids who get fives on the AP calculus exam but can’t get anywhere on tests like the one the girls are taking today. But, you don’t see that streak going the other way. You don’t see people who can crush these really hard problems like the ones in The Math Prize for Girls and can’t do the AP calculus. It just doesn’t work that way

 

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It doesn't stop there.... there are multiple choice on the exams for graduate and professional school as well - GRE, MCAT, GMAT, etc.

I just finished taking my Internal Medicine Boards (for the second recertification-it's every 10 years) and it was a 6 hour long multiple choice test.

 

Urgh.

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The following taken from About.com:

The average overall SAT score (50th percentile) in the United States for 2012 was a 1498:

  • Critical Thinking:  496
  • Math:   514
  • Writing:  488

National ACT score averages look like this for 2012

  • Average Composite Score: 21.1
  • Average English Score: 20.5
  • Average Mathematics Score: 21.1
  • Average Science Reasoning Score: 20.9
  • Average Writing Score: 7.1

-------                           --------

I pulled these for the sake of discussion.  The ACT score for the Ivies is 30-34, the SAT 2200+.

 

 

 

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Wapati I don't see what he said as being in conflict with what I had written.  Hard work is the stumbling block.  IMO an AP course should be able to offer more depth than a college course as they have more than twice as long to cover the material, but obviously that isn't happening as they're just teaching to the test, which apparently doesn't require much depth.   And clearly those who can do intensive problem solving in math should have no problem acing standardized tests, barring some testing difficulty.

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No, you're not alone. We've been visiting a variety of colleges up here (recently moved north). It's so dang depressing that last week, in desperation, dc and I were pondering the possibility of applying directly to grad school, skipping all the supposed 'undergrad' garbage which, in reality, is just catchup for high school kids who were never taught to think/write/math .... in the first place. Most of my dc aren't wanting to go into STEM majors, so I don't really see why they couldn't just skip on over to grad school for the things they are wanting to do. We were kind of half kidding, but still ......

 

One dd was sitting in on a class in the subject area she wants to major in. The kids in that class told her that the prof 'lured kids into his major/program with alcohol and trips abroad' (wine and cheese get-togethers and internships).

 

At one point, dc just looked at me and said, "All these colleges are the same no matter where we are."

 

At the college which my ds is attending, he says the kids he talks to are dropping classes left and right. (Ds is an extrovert and talks to anyone and everyone.) In fact, he just told me this weekend that he saw his "Orientation Advisor" working in Wal Mart this weekend. When ds asked him why, the kid told him he had to drop classes to avoid failing them and he wound up with too few classes to be considered full-time (aid decreased) - so he's working at Wal Mart and going part time now.

 

Ds also has a friend who is in some of his classes. This kid's plan is interesting. He was accepted to much more 'reputable' colleges, but he chose this particular college because he has his whole education/career mapped out. He chose the school where he knew he could get the highest GPA in preparation for applying to big name colleges for grad school. He's purposely participating in a variety of activities and such just to CRAM his transcript/resume with stuff that 'looks good' with that goal in mind. So, basically, the undergrad is irrelevant. It's the grad school that he's aiming for. And that about sums up how I've been feeling as we visit these colleges -- let dc pick the undergrad which makes them LOOK the best (and feel lucky if they get a little bit of an education in the process). Then, participate in as many extras as possible, and aim for the best grad school they can find in hopes of getting some kind of an education ....... at some point along the way.

Well, I hate to say it, but my sister is getting her graduate degree in special education and she says it's nothing but a bunch of busywork. Maybe it is just her major, though.

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FWIW, my take is that the professor was referring students who scored well on the AP test itself rather than students who performed well within a course, as the test does not involve a lot of depth. If the AP courses were lacking, they were lacking depth not required by AP.

That is the context I took from his comments. Considering he knew that ds was taking linear alg and the point of his rant was to tell ds that he needed to stop skipping across the surface and slow down and actually learn physics......the only context that makes sense is that test scores are meaningless. :p Still completely confused as to why he never asked ds a single question unless he is so jaded on "advanced students" that he can't fathom any real advancement except th superficial.

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I still think that those with ivy level SAT/ACT scores should have no problem in physics classes, unless their high school courses were too easy, didn't require hard work, and they couldn't manage the level of hard work needed for most college classes.   Or maybe they never met a challenge and learned to ask for help when it's needed.

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I still think that those with ivy level SAT/ACT scores should have no problem in physics classes, unless their high school courses were too easy, didn't require hard work, and they couldn't manage the level of hard work needed for most college classes. Or maybe they never met a challenge and learned to ask for help when it's needed.

I don't know about that. SAT/ACT math is nothing like cal based physics. Neither test covers math at that level. The ACT only includes something like 4 problems beyond alg 2.

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In fall 2013, a record 21.8 million students are expected to attend American colleges and universities, constituting an increase of about 6.5 million since fall 2000.

Nearly 7.5 million students will attend public 2-year institutions, and 0.5 million will attend private 2-year colleges. Some 8.2 million students are expected to attend public 4-year institutions, and about 5.6 million will attend private 4-year institutions.

http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372

----------------------                                                       -----------------------------

Somewhere between the Ivies and the averages on the SAT/ACT are a whole lot of students going to colleges. 

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I still think that those with ivy level SAT/ACT scores should have no problem in physics classes, unless their high school courses were too easy, didn't require hard work, and they couldn't manage the level of hard work needed for most college classes.   Or maybe they never met a challenge and learned to ask for help when it's needed.

 

"Managing" a freshman course doesn't mean being able to think. I entered college with high SAT and ACTs and plenty of AP 5s, I got a near 4.0 in my physics major 12 years ago (and several of my friends with similar grades in the same courses went on to decent scores on the Subject GRE and got PhDs and MS), but I will tell you right now that I'm the kind of student Ruscyck was talking about in that speech, and probably close to what the professor was talking about to 8. AP Calculus *is* easy. But I tried a couple of mathematics contests when I was a junior in college and couldn't even begin. Actual problem solving was completely foreign to me.

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I still think that those with ivy level SAT/ACT scores should have no problem in physics classes, unless their high school courses were too easy, didn't require hard work, and they couldn't manage the level of hard work needed for most college classes.   Or maybe they never met a challenge and learned to ask for help when it's needed.

 

But most high school courses are too easy for kids who score in that range. (Which of course makes sense: a school can not provide a course that is of appropriate level for the top 1% of its students - nobody else would pass.)

One of the biggest problems for the smart students is that they never learned how to work. They coasted through high school, easily got their 4.0 without much effort, never encountered material that was so difficult that they could not understand it upon first hearing - and then they go to university and take math and science.

I see a lot of these students. Bright, hard working - it is not that they are slackers who don't put in the time. They simply do not know HOW to do it. They spend hours upon hours, to no avail. Some show up in my office in tears. And I have a lot of sympathy for them, because that was *I*, during my first semester at university: I had graduated from my German specialized high school top of the class. I was on a verge of dropping out of the physics program because it did not make sense and I though I was too stupid, because that had never happened to me before. It took me an entire semester figuring out the "how", and from then on it was plain sailing.

It is not that the smart students can not manage the level of coursework. It is that they have never been taught what to do if things do not click immediately. The schools have been failing them, because they never provided an adequate challenge for the bright kids.

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You're right that SAT/ACT math is high school math and doesn't include calculus.  But IMO those who score well - as in ivy level - on those tests, took a calculus class (as it's a pre-req for calculus based physics) and did well enough to go onto the physics class, shouldn't have a problem with applying the calculus to the physics, unless they're just not used to used to hard work or haven't learned to ask for help.

 

I can't imagine that "managing" a calculus based physics class doesn't require the ability to think.  I would imagine that the math contests are a whole different thing and require a more intense level of problem solving than is required in most classes.   From what I understand here, AoPS is good prep for that.  Looking at college course offerings, I also see mathematics problem solving, for upper level math, included.   As an analogy, although probably a poor one as will likely be pointed out : P, is that a general practitioner can be an excellent physician, but not capable of brain surgery.   Few doctors are capable of brain surgery, and few need to be.  That doesn't mean that the general practitioner couldn't be a brain surgeon if given the proper training.  In any case, there's always time in college to pursue the more intense problem solving whether in a class or outside of it.

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