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regentrude

Vent: just another example of high schools letting students down

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Calc at 15 is common here in techy areas as we have december cutoff. Those high schools have double accel options and usually a PhD who can mentor . Keep in mind many advanced seniors are compelled here, since they are 16 at the start of senior year, offering them five study halls or child care, art, and nutrition in lieu of AP/IB is despicable. Also realize how much is being spent on MckinneyVento for savvy parents who start in a wealthy district..middle class districts pay for the bussing back to the rich district with its single and double accel options, but their own advanced students get nothing, no funding after all unfunded mandates and litigation is paid for.

 

 

 

What was done in my day, rural high school, was independent study with the dept chair if the student elected not to transfer at the districts expense to the nearest city high school that had the academics. One had to provide ones own transportation to the nearest bus stop if one didnt want to drive in.

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We are at the library almost every afternoon and math tuition from 3rd grade onwards is rampant here. The tuition by private tutors at the library is mainly to get the school homework done. Students bring their school math textbooks and homework to the library.  I am seeing lots more girls than boys having tuition at the library but that could be because the library is a safe place for tutors and their students to meet.

My local high schools are letting students down in another way.  No SAT or ACT awareness and no PSAT profiles for parents and students. Four students from my district made the NM semifinalist list while other districts with similar demographics has lots more public school students making the list.

 

 

One difference of course with the American system is that GPA is a big factor in college acceptance and scholarship opportunities. In much of Europe, high school grades have little impact on college admission--it is scores on the end of high school exams that matter most, so neither high schools nor students are well served by grade inflation--they need to be prepared for the exams, full stop.

 

While there was grade deflation in 9th-12th for my husband and me because the schools did not want us to be complacent for the Cambridge GCE exams in 10th and 12th grade, the same problem of test prep remains.  My husband had forgotten most of his high school math and physics, as good as forgotten all of his high school chemistry and biology because his schools were elite (high scoring) ones that focus on test prep and getting the most As out of students for the college entrance exams. So it would be the equivalent of public and private high schools here who prep and drill for the AP and IB exams.  

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A tragic and possibly common example.  I have always wanted DD to "take it low and slow" with Math, so that she will have a solid foundation. That student should be in a Community College, repeating High School Math courses.  Very sad.

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This scenario could definitely happen in my neck of the woods:

 

1. The new teaching method requires that the kids "discover" the concepts on their own in groups.  The teachers no longer provide direct instruction and the textbooks are so poorly written that a student can not use the textbook to teach himself.

 

2. Students now take group tests, so a big part of their grade is dependent upon the other kids in their group.

 

The schools in my area are all using the same textbooks.  My tutoring business has exploded as a result.  The math instruction in our schools is really pathetic.  I have more than one friend who has moved her kids to private school as a result (at the tune of $25K+ per kid per year)

 

I can't begin to imagine group tests! :confused: :confused:

 

There are times when I've seriously considered just quitting my job to do math tutoring. There's definitely a market, and if the PS keeps doing this sort of stuff there'll continue to be one!

 

The local high schools here don't even have math textbooks any more. Good luck learning if you have a poor teacher.... Like snowbeltmom, I have more tutoring requests than I can handle. I love one-on-one teaching & the money & flexibility are great. :)

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Yeah and imagine what happens to some of the non college bound people.  My sister's step son (she has had no involvement in his life) graduated from high school, but can't do basic stuff at all.  All those years spent in school and he can barely function in the real world.  He probably should have been evaluated for learning problems or other disabilities, but he wasn't.  Whatever his deal really is (lousy education, falling through the cracks, or learning disability) he graduated and has a high school diploma.  Which means what?  Basically nothing obviously.  I guess it shows he met the attendance requirements. 

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When DD was starting Algebra I and I was wondering how to grade her tests and assign a grade, I asked a friend who has a son in  public school what the grading procedure was for Algebra I.  She said 50% of the grade was based on tests, and the remaining 50% was on homework completion and projects.  Full homework credit was assigned to the homework if it was done, regardless of how many problems were wrong or how thoroughly the homework had been completed.  No projects had yet been assigned, so the neighbor didn't have any way to describe what the projects were or how they were graded.  In our district, the lowest grade given for anything that has been handed in is 50%; even if only 1 problem was completed on a test, 50% was the floor for an "F".  So basically, a student could get zeros on all tests (he'd have a 50 average for 50% of his grade because of the grade floor), and then homework and projects could be given an "A" for completion and would be the remaining 50% of the grade.  So this hypothetical kid could get a "C" in the course and still have received zeros on all tests.  It's nuts....

 

ETA:  I have another friend who was in DD's GT fifth grade class; sharp kid, and mom is a high school math teacher.  He recently told a neighborhood middle schooler that  Algebra II was "impossible" and he didn't know how he was going to get a decent grade without after school tutoring from his mom.  This was one of the brightest kids I knew from elementary school, but the schools here just don't teach basic arithmetic well, so the kids fall flat on their faces when they get to high school math.

 

This kind of administrative sleight of hand from my district also hides the failures and low scores of middle school students, which sets them up for future failure:

 

http://pilotonline.com/news/local/education/report-blasts-norfolk-schools-tactics-on-testing/article_de6cafd7-641c-50b8-9e15-320880363604.html

 

I suspect many urban districts pull this nonsense in order to meet federal and state testing goals. 

 

 

YES! This is crazy! I experienced this when I had to put ds into middle school last yr for 7th grade.He would constantly tell me that he was doing his homework at the end of class. I saw in the on-line gradebook that his "homework and participation" grades were always 100%. I knew something wasn't right because this was the kid who literally fought me and pelted me with pencils at home over doing any work. So I had a sit down with the teacher and demanded to see this work.

 

He pulls out sheet after sheet of nonsense answers. I mean total crap that looked like a kindergartner scribbled it. One was a 'quiz' on loose-leaf that was written on upside down and backwards (holes on the right) with 5 numbers in a column-ish format not even on the lines. The teacher acknowledged that ds had not written the problems or showed work as directed. Plus they were all wrong! Yet he gave ds 100% grade! :huh: I asked in what world does this get an A. The teacher said it wasn't actually a quiz (though labeled as one). It was class work and fell under "participation." Because ds did the assignment it was an A. I argued that unless the assignment was to write down 5 random numbers, then NO, he did not do the assignment and to please grade him accordingly! Nope-not their policy he said.

 

On tests they got a second shot at each wrong answer. They went over them in class. If the kids copied down the work and right answer and turned it back in thy were given 50% credit back. I could see doing this if the kids were actually re-working the problems, but they were just copying them off the whiteboard!!! It was impossible to get a bad grade in this class. The teacher called it "confidence building." I called it an injustice to the students! Appalling!  :rant:  

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I think if homework is given credit though it should not matter if it is right or wrong.  Sure some students might just write down some gibberish and be done, but homework should be practice and not graded for correctness.  Two semesters ago the CC instructor I had gave 10% for homework, and he graded it for correctness.  Which come on, it's supposed to be practice!  10% isn't so much that it would make or break someone, but I still think this is unfair. 

 

 

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That student should be in a Community College, repeating High School Math courses. Very sad.

He is actually better off at the U, as he can remediate with enough depth there to handle subsequent courses. The CC wont offer the serious prep the U does, and their tutors dont teach for understanding - its still procedural. He can then take a math course over the summer so he isnt off track badly to grad in 4.

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I can't begin to imagine group tests! :confused: :confused:

 

 

The local high schools here don't even have math textbooks any more. Good luck learning if you have a poor teacher.... Like snowbeltmom, I have more tutoring requests than I can handle. I love one-on-one teaching & the money & flexibility are great. :)

 

 

This also drove me crazy! I saw one textbook that was actually a workbook for science and that was it. No online textbooks nor physical ones.

 

I was called to the 7th grade principal's office over an issue and as soon as I walked into the office all I could see was floor to ceiling stacked math textbooks! There were even stacks rimmed around the front of this man's desk! I wanted to stick my head out of the door and holler, "Hey teachers, I found all your math books!" It was actually hard to focus on our conversation. It was like a bad episode of hoarders. I found myself counting them  :lol:. I had been asking ds why do I never see a textbook come home. He said they don't use them except in one class where they remained stacked against the wall because the teacher said they aren't allowed to go home. According to the teacher, if they went home then the school would never see them again.  :001_huh:  I don't know about ya'll but I was taking home and bringing back books every single year from elementary on. What the heck?

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He is actually better off at the U, as he can remediate with enough depth there to handle subsequent courses. The CC wont offer the serious prep the U does, and their tutors dont teach for understanding - its still procedural. He can then take a math course over the summer so he isnt off track badly to grad in 4.

 

I don't know.  When I started off in my class I was a little concerned it would lack instruction in understanding, but the instructor does talk about that quite a bit as we go along.  It's not just memorizing procedures.

 

She is turning out to be one of the best math instructors I've ever had.

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Realize that most students wont use an issued text, whether its on the ipad/chromebook or is actual paper. Most cannot read in English on grade level. The district is strapped for money, so no tex tbooks is a cost savings.

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I was called to the 7th grade principal's office over an issue and as soon as I walked into the office all I could see was floor to ceiling stacked math textbooks!

...

. According to the teacher, if they went home then the school would never see them again.  :001_huh:  I don't know about ya'll but I was taking home and bringing back books every single year from elementary on. What the heck?

 

My friends' kids did lose some textbooks that went home. They have a security deposit for books I think, not sure as we are in different districts.

 

My district did change the math textbooks to the common core ones a few years ago.  All the non-common core math and LA curriculum have to be disposed off by a contractor to prevent dumpster diving.

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This also drove me crazy! I saw one textbook that was actually a workbook for science and that was it. No online textbooks nor physical ones.

 

I was called to the 7th grade principal's office over an issue and as soon as I walked into the office all I could see was floor to ceiling stacked math textbooks! There were even stacks rimmed around the front of this man's desk! I wanted to stick my head out of the door and holler, "Hey teachers, I found all your math books!" It was actually hard to focus on our conversation. It was like a bad episode of hoarders. I found myself counting them  :lol:. I had been asking ds why do I never see a textbook come home. He said they don't use them except in one class where they remained stacked against the wall because the teacher said they aren't allowed to go home. According to the teacher, if they went home then the school would never see them again.  :001_huh:  I don't know about ya'll but I was taking home and bringing back books every single year from elementary on. What the heck?

 

Ridiculous.  Yes, every year we brought them back and if not there was a bill.  And if not paid the student did not get their diploma or whatever else they could dangle over their heads.

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I think if homework is given credit though it should not matter if it is right or wrong.  Sure some students might just write down some gibberish and be done, but homework should be practice and not graded for correctness.  Two semesters ago the CC instructor I had gave 10% for homework, and he graded it for correctness.  Which come on, it's supposed to be practice!  10% isn't so much that it would make or break someone, but I still think this is unfair. 

 

But what good does it do a student to practice at something, but spend their time doing it wrong?  This is a reason I really like the online homework supplements for courses that include problems to work through (math, physics, chemistry).  My kids can work on the problems and immediately know if they got it right or not (no waiting for homework to be collected and returned or worse do the homework and get no feedback on if the answers were correct).  

 

If they get the problems wrong, they either redo it or get an explanation of the solution and a new related problem with different numbers to work.  Because they are generally completionists, they keep working at the problem sets until everything has its green checkmark.

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My friends' kids did lose some textbooks that went home. They have a security deposit for books I think, not sure as we are in different districts.

 

My district did change the math textbooks to the common core ones a few years ago.  All the non-common core math and LA curriculum have to be disposed off by a contractor to prevent dumpster diving.

 

 

I could see that it would make sense to store old/discontinued books wherever they need to in order to avoid storage fees. But, these were the current books. I know because I asked, I couldn't help myself. They used photocopies of the work pages and the books were "taking up too much space in the classrooms because each math teacher taught different levels of math which would result in too many books." That was the explanation and I kind of get it, but it must cost a lot more money to make all those copies than to risk a few kids not returning books. I'm sure it happens, but how else do we teach responsibility? Twelve and thirteen year olds should be able to take home books and bring them back without the majority of them getting lost. 

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There are no actual book textbooks here, either.  All of the kids have Chrome books and all the districts are using the same horrid online math books.  The parents of one of my students was complaining to me recently that his son doesn't have any type of textbook for science (he is a 9th grader).  The teacher has them do nothing but ACT science practice tests.  His school is on block scheduling, so he only has science until December, and the class has done nothing but ACT prep.

 

If I didn't see this stuff first-hand, I would never believe it.  

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I don't think homework should be graded, either.  But nor should a student get homework credit for doing a half-assed job (not showing their work, not doing all assigned problems, being so far off base with a formula that it's non-sensical, etc..).

I think if homework is given credit though it should not matter if it is right or wrong.  Sure some students might just write down some gibberish and be done, but homework should be practice and not graded for correctness.  Two semesters ago the CC instructor I had gave 10% for homework, and he graded it for correctness.  Which come on, it's supposed to be practice!  10% isn't so much that it would make or break someone, but I still think this is unfair. 

 

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What the *bleep* is a "group test"???

 

This does not compute in my head.

 

We used to call it cheatin' in my high school days.   :lol:

 

Not only do 3-5 students work together on a test, but many of the teachers (all?) wander around offering hints if groups get stuck.  And many "hard" questions have been removed from the tests.   (Our students have to each hand in a copy and the teacher randomly picks which one to grade, so at least they are all writing things down unlike experience written before).

 

As an "old school" teacher (type), I find it incredibly frustrating.  When I sub, teachers allow me to handle things as I want to, so almost all "self instruction" disappears and guided lectures reappear.  Kids continually ask me why I don't go full time and I rarely have behavior issues.  There are three reasons.  One... I'm too lazy to work five days per week every week.  Two... it would interfere too much with our travel schedule.  Three... I would have to conform to their "teacher" standards and not be able to run things the way I want to.  I'm not willing to give up on any of the three.

 

The vast majority of kids do not learn much with the newer "fuzzy" math as presented via high schools.  It's really, really frustrating for many of us old school types.  Newer teachers tend to like it though - less work for them.  It goes along with the not caring about copying bit I mentioned earlier.

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But what good does it do a student to practice at something, but spend their time doing it wrong?  This is a reason I really like the online homework supplements for courses that include problems to work through (math, physics, chemistry).  My kids can work on the problems and immediately know if they got it right or not (no waiting for homework to be collected and returned or worse do the homework and get no feedback on if the answers were correct).  

 

If they get the problems wrong, they either redo it or get an explanation of the solution and a new related problem with different numbers to work.  Because they are generally completionists, they keep working at the problem sets until everything has its green checkmark.

 

I suppose a compromise would be to require it to be redone until correct (and if you don't the grade you got on it stands).  Of course in school that might not be practical. 

 

I don't disagree, but I don't think homework should even be graded at all nor really count towards the grade, but if they go that route to encourage kids to do it, then don't penalize them for using it for its purpose (practice and learning). 

 

I never did understand the whole do the assignment, get tons wrong, then move on thing.  That's not really about learning.  I once had a chem teacher in high school who would let you retake the exams for a better grade so long as you came in for at least one session after school with her for extra help.  She really wanted students to learn the information.  I found that very helpful and I did learn more than in most of my classes.  

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...and yet we have second graders writing reports with parenthetical citations using MLA format. Why!?

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I graduated high school with an international baccalaureate degree from a school in Europe. High school courses were HARD--and teachers graded exams and assignments using IB test standards (i.e. you didn't get an A unless your work merited top marks on the actual IB exams). My GPA was not fabulous.

 

College in the US, by comparison, was a breeze. It was interesting to me to hear my friends talk about what a huge step up from high school it was.

 

I found that the variations in "college" are huge. The difference in difficulty level of courses with even the same name is astounding. Most of our grad students are not capable of solving the problems DD had for her Freshman honors physics. There are colleges where even the students who come from pressure cooker high achieving high schools struggle. And then there are colleges where you just have to show up and are guaranteed to pass....

 

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My DS is in public school and this is totally what is happening! We are not in a techy/smart area but he is in the most advanced math class in the middle school with the most mathy kids - in fact there are only 6 kids in the county they have advanced to this math class. And it is the same - 10% of his grade is homework scores - just have to have pencil marks, not even a good attempt, 20% of the grade is participating in logic type problems during the first 5 minutes of class, 10% of the grade is a notebook check, and the remaining almost 60% is the actual quizzes and tests. It's like that in all classes. This is a rare class without extra credit possibilities. It makes me sad for my DS because I know he deserves a better education. But, we do some afterschooling and I'm involved and financially able to provide him with other opportunities. Most other students don't have that. Their parents see A's or C's or whatever their standard is and think, great! I hear from recent college students how unprepared they are for the rigors of our state university. Students who have gone on to more selective schools are fortunate to be extremely bright and able to catch up in time, but none say they were prepared by our local school system.

My niece is in 5th grade and her Dad told me the other day that they don't even have to memorize the multiplication tables any more! It's ok to know them pretty well. How do you succeed year to year when you don't have to master the material? We had to know them without a mistake in 3rd grade when I was in school.

I know my DS could get a much better education if he were homeschooled, but he does not want to at this point. He likes school, he's an easy going extrovert with friends he enjoys seeing and we really have a very small homeschooling community here. So, we continue to supplement and after school and hope for the best. 

But the education system is a sad mess in our area for sure. 

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In my local high school several things cause this. First, the principal and superintendent mandate that half the grade be based on attendance so that they can keep pushing students on the bottom along. Second, they are required to give full credit for homework turned in even if the homework is incorrect, in order to encourage the student to "keep trying homework", and this counts for 10% of the grade. So attend and turn something in on paper, you can get a D. Third, they are no longer allowed to give cumulative tests. Only chapter exams. This way the student isn't punished for forgetting something. Grrr....so if the student studies up on say, completing the square or whatever, he or she can pass that test. But the student will NEVER see that kind of problem again for the duration of the course. Obviously, without some repetition, it is going to become rusty, and not committed to long term memory. Fifth, the entire book is never covered because of all of the school chaos. Sixth, whatever the top score is in the class that is less than 100% must be made the A. So if the best performing student is a 92%, then everyone else must be curved accordingly. Again, so they can claim high graduation rates, and everyone passes algebra 1, 2, and geometry. Due to lack of mastery, the trig teachers are mostly babysitting and making it up as they go because there isn't anything else to do while waiting to retire from the mess in which they are engulfed. Thus A's become easy to get, teachers are demoralized, and students have a false sense of what they do and do not know.

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Well another breezy aspect here by comparison is there is usually more hand holding.  Your grade doesn't tend to ride on one big final. Here you barely have to have any self discipline.  With some instructors you just do what they tell you when they tell you to do it and easy peasy.  It's not here is the book, I'm giving lectures at X time if you are so inclined to show up, and then you take big exam at the end. 

 

 

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...and yet we have second graders writing reports with parenthetical citations using MLA format. Why!?

 

Oh yeah and writing book reports in Kindergarten and essays in first grade.  For what I don't flipping know.

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If I graded homework on completion instead of correctness, I'd never be able to get students into my office hours to try and actually work the problems correctly. They'd just write down anything in order to get the points.

 

If I didn't grade it at all, almost nobody would do it and 80% of the class would fail.

 

So I *have* to grade it and I have to do it on correctness. 

 

I'd far, far rather assign homework, write a detailed answer key including types of common errors, post it publicly, and allow the quick students to do only as much as they needed while assigning sufficient for the slower students to learn the material and self-correct. 

 

But I just can't have that percentage of students failing. 

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If I graded homework on completion instead of correctness, I'd never be able to get students into my office hours to try and actually work the problems correctly. They'd just write down anything in order to get the points.

 

If I didn't grade it at all, almost nobody would do it and 80% of the class would fail.

 

So I *have* to grade it and I have to do it on correctness.

 

I'd far, far rather assign homework, write a detailed answer key including types of common errors, post it publicly, and allow the quick students to do only as much as they needed while assigning sufficient for the slower students to learn the material and self-correct.

 

But I just can't have that percentage of students failing.

I could have written every word of this.

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My instructor now doesn't grade homework and doesn't look at it.  At the start of every class she asks if people have questions.  I love it. 

 

Last class the guy had the homework all on-line scored immediately.  So he didn't do anything in that department.  The thing was glitchy and the wording of the questions was quite different than how he instructed in the concepts which made things very confusing.  Probably the only thing he did that made it somewhat fair is allow 5 tries to answer each question.  I got 100 on all the homework, but the way it was stressed me out to hell and honestly me finding practice outside of the crappy computerized thing is what helped me most. 

 

 

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This is maybe the most depressing thread I've ever read. My 14yo wants to know why the schools aren't fixing things. Haha.

 

It is depressing for those of us living it, too. :(

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Yeah I don't get it.  The instructor I have makes it so gosh darn easy to succeed that I'm starting to think some of the students just try to do a lousy job.  She gives a review sheet for the test.  And it's 100,000 times more grueling than the test so it prepares you.  No going back through notes and wondering what will be asked about.  No overlooking some topics accidentally.  Plenty of time to clear up any confusion over topics.  If everything was that easy in my life, I'd be now ruling the universe. 

 

 

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Last class the guy had the homework all on-line scored immediately.  So he didn't do anything in that department.  The thing was glitchy and the wording of the questions was quite different than how he instructed in the concepts which made things very confusing.  Probably the only thing he did that made it somewhat fair is allow 5 tries to answer each question.  I got 100 on all the homework, but the way it was stressed me out to hell and honestly me finding practice outside of the crappy computerized thing is what helped me most. 

 

I do a fair amount of online for things with simple answers. Like, if the question is "Solve this quadratic", the answers are going to be two numbers, and I do give multiple attempts. But if the question is "Graph this quadratic", the computer interface is terrible. I found that students who can solve quadratics with the computer can still do so on paper (well, aside from the ones who are cheating and using something like mathway, but frankly those students would cheat on paper too) but that graphing on the computer did not translate well. 

 

But what I do do is work the homework myself and slightly alter the way my classroom examples are phrased so that the students will not be confused by the software. I agree that that shouldn't be happening. 

 

I do really like it for being able to give multiple attempts so that they can actually use it for practice and you don't get the "I did the whole stupid assignment wrong?! Oh well, on to the next one" 

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I do a fair amount of online for things with simple answers. Like, if the question is "Solve this quadratic", the answers are going to be two numbers, and I do give multiple attempts. But if the question is "Graph this quadratic", the computer interface is terrible. I found that students who can solve quadratics with the computer can still do so on paper (well, aside from the ones who are cheating and using something like mathway, but frankly those students would cheat on paper too) but that graphing on the computer did not translate well. 

 

But what I do do is work the homework myself and slightly alter the way my classroom examples are phrased so that the students will not be confused by the software. I agree that that shouldn't be happening. 

 

I do really like it for being able to give multiple attempts so that they can actually use it for practice and you don't get the "I did the whole stupid assignment wrong?! Oh well, on to the next one" 

 

Yeah he was rather lousy, but maybe he was just doing too much.  He taught full time in a high school, 2 courses at the CC, trained for marathons, and had a family.  I really did not feel like he paid much attention to the class. 

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I found that the variations in "college" are huge. The difference in difficulty level of courses with even the same name is astounding. Most of our grad students are not capable of solving the problems DD had for her Freshman honors physics. There are colleges where even the students who come from pressure cooker high achieving high schools struggle. And then there are colleges where you just have to show up and are guaranteed to pass....

 

 

:iagree:  :iagree:  :iagree:

 

I have taken courses at three community colleges and three universities in three different states.  In some cases I have taken the "same" course at two different institutions, and the expectations and material covered varied wildly.

 

Two of the community colleges offered courses at about a middle school level/complexity.  One community college and one university were at about a high school level.  One university was "good", average, accessible post-secondary level. 

 

The other university was MIT.  I had already taken Spanish and psychology and calculus at the university level.  It is hard to even explain how different those courses were when I retook them at MIT.  What the other universities had considered a complete course, was compressed into a few weeks at MIT.  The rest of the semester was spent thinking and puzzling and grappling with deeper ideas about the subject.  The types of questions the other universities had asked on final exams were not even deemed meaty enough for MIT homework assignments.  It was considered trivial to complete a problem that you had been taught how to solve; the only thing worth testing was if students could use what they had learned to improvise solutions to problems they had never encountered. 

 

As you said, the difference in difficulty levels is astounding.

 

Wendy

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A house of cards...I wonder when the masses will reject the model?

 

GAH!  This is the part that makes me insane.  You will hear parents complain generally about "the schools," but those same people will speak glowingly of their kid's school and their kid's teacher, I think because to say otherwise would require that they actually DO something.  The public school lobbyists just constantly call for more money, more money, but per pupil spending continues to go up and up (in inflation-adjusted dollars) but outcomes do not.  Heaven forbid,however, that one suggest a more competitive market in K-12 education (i.e., charter schools, vouchers); no, we just continue to make the current system more uniform and rigid which, in my opinion, limits the likelihood of solutions being devised.

 

I can't help but contrast it to my mother's experience in an inner-city Catholic school, back in the days when the nuns were in charge.  Most of the kids were the children of immigrants, kids whose parents spoke limited English, if at all.  Nonetheless, virtually all of them graduated with a higher level of basic skills than (apparently) the average college prep student has today.  And, I can assure you, it was not a high-cost operation.

 

I'm just really glad that homeschooling is an option for us.

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GAH!  This is the part that makes me insane.  You will hear parents complain generally about "the schools," but those same people will speak glowingly of their kid's school and their kid's teacher, I think because to say otherwise would require that they actually DO something.  The public school lobbyists just constantly call for more money, more money, but per pupil spending continues to go up and up (in inflation-adjusted dollars) but outcomes do not.  Heaven forbid,however, that one suggest a more competitive market in K-12 education (i.e., charter schools, vouchers); no, we just continue to make the current system more uniform and rigid which, in my opinion, limits the likelihood of solutions being devised.

 

I can't help but contrast it to my mother's experience in an inner-city Catholic school, back in the days when the nuns were in charge.  Most of the kids were the children of immigrants, kids whose parents spoke limited English, if at all.  Nonetheless, virtually all of them graduated with a higher level of basic skills than (apparently) the average college prep student has today.  And, I can assure you, it was not a high-cost operation.

 

I'm just really glad that homeschooling is an option for us.

 

What can they actually do though?  Here when they were hashing out the common core stuff they had info sessions where people could voice concerns.  Granted, it got often out of hand so that's probably the biggest reason they stopped offering them, but the point is parents were obviously upset and wanted changes and said so and they were just shut down.  Even teachers' complaints fell on deaf ears. 

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What can they actually do though?  Here when they were hashing out the common core stuff they had info sessions where people could voice concerns.  Granted, it got often out of hand so that's probably the biggest reason they stopped offering them, but the point is parents were obviously upset and wanted changes and said so and they were just shut down.  Even teachers' complaints fell on deaf ears. 

 

To add, my district takes this to an extreme.  The district suffers from a serious PR problem.  In part this was caused by having a superintendent who overlooked illegal activity on the part of someone under his direction.  That guy is now in prison for terrorism.  That is how bad it was.  So that mixed with anger over stuff like common core, rapidly declining graduation rates, and being on the persistently dangerous list for years made people pretty angry.  The first approach was to ask parents what changes they wanted and to get them more involved.  When that just resulted in them voicing their anger and concern they shut that all down.  Now they don't have means for voicing concerns publicly (like they did) and they basically highlight whatever positive story that comes along.  They jump up and down about how great this or that little thing is.  Which ok that's good.  I like some positivity, but don't ignore the problems.  There is also evidence they just stopped reporting all suspensions and crimes in the schools to get off the dangerous list.  And magically the graduation rate has skyrocketed within a matter of a couple of years.

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Parents really want to believe that the recent higher graduation rates reflect an improvement in public education.

Edited by Jewels
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Last class the guy had the homework all on-line scored immediately.  So he didn't do anything in that department.  The thing was glitchy and the wording of the questions was quite different than how he instructed in the concepts which made things very confusing.  Probably the only thing he did that made it somewhat fair is allow 5 tries to answer each question.  I got 100 on all the homework, but the way it was stressed me out to hell and honestly me finding practice outside of the crappy computerized thing is what helped me most. 

Our student do that in math and chemistry and HATE it. If the format is not absolutely how the system wants it, it counts as wrong.

I have just surveyed the 500 students in my course whether they would like physics switching to an online homework system, and 80%of the students oppose, some vehemently with detailed comments.

 

There is no substitute for working out a complex problem on paper and having the result evaluated by a human.

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Realize that most students wont use an issued text, whether its on the ipad/chromebook or is actual paper.

 

Same is true at college.

In an anonymous survey, I asked my students whether they read the assigned reading before attending lecture. Less than 20% of the students do.

Edited by regentrude

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Our student do that in math and chemistry and HATE it. If the format is not absolutely how the system wants it, it counts as wrong.

I have just surveyed the 500 students in my course whether they would like physics switching to an online homework system, and 80%of the students oppose, some vehemently with detailed comments.

 

There is no substitute for working out a complex problem on paper and having the result evaluated by a human.

 

Yeah I hated it too.  And it felt like just another way for the textbook companies to bleed your wallet.  It basically means you have to buy the book new or used with codes unused (which weren't easy to find).  They sold the on-line stuff separately if need be, but charged $80 for it.  So $150 for a used basic stat book without codes, $80 so you can turn in your homework, and a graphing calculator.  Rotten crap.  Some students just flat out didn't buy the on-line component and accepted not getting credit for the homework.  I don't blame them.

 

Two other math profs I've dealt with (the other two are profs and not adjunct) so far didn't use the on-line stuff. 

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Parents really want to believe that the recent higher graduation rates reflect an improvement in public education.

 

And I doubt that is going to show up within 2 years. 

 

One change they made is they offer more options to graduate.  Stuff like you can go and sit in a room all day and do your classes on-line.  My state of residence has some weird laws that don't allow one to get a degree from on-line schools (like K12), but they use it and get around that by just having the kids do it while sitting at the school.  They do a ton of other credit recovery programs. 

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The stories in this thread are one reason I'm frustrated with academic competitions that structure competions solely around school teams.  It leaves students at the mercy of schools that have a budget, willing teachers and a culture of such competitions.  It leaves out the kids who are hungry to participate, but don't have the in school support.

 

I'm also frustrated with the way that grants are awarded for various programs.  Science Olympiad in our state is seriously underfunded.  There are few corporate donors.  It seems like there were some a few years ago, when the competition was new, but now non-profits want to award grants to new initiatives rather than keep supporting something that has already gotten off the ground.

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Same is true at college.

In an anonymous survey, I asked my students whether they read the assigned reading before attending lecture. Less than 20% of the students do.

Shhhh....ds reads all the assigned reading. Last week's history required reading 100 pages. He managed it, but grumbled quite a bit about it. 

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What gets me are the naysayers about homeschooling.  I could think of more ideal situations than me homeschooling my kids if I'm being 100% honest with myself, but that ideal situation does not exist for us so I am doing what I think is the best I can do.  Most teachers I've encountered have been very positive.  There are several teachers at the choir, for example, and they have never made any negative comments and they are supportive of the idea.  But some basically wonder how I can pull off an authentic public school education that looks like a public school education as I (we) know it.  I don't argue with them because whatever, but I'm not trying to pull that off.  i want something different. 

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To add, my district takes this to an extreme.  The district suffers from a serious PR problem.  In part this was caused by having a superintendent who overlooked illegal activity on the part of someone under his direction.  That guy is now in prison for terrorism.  That is how bad it was.  So that mixed with anger over stuff like common core, rapidly declining graduation rates, and being on the persistently dangerous list for years made people pretty angry.  The first approach was to ask parents what changes they wanted and to get them more involved.  When that just resulted in them voicing their anger and concern they shut that all down.  Now they don't have means for voicing concerns publicly (like they did) and they basically highlight whatever positive story that comes along.  They jump up and down about how great this or that little thing is.  Which ok that's good.  I like some positivity, but don't ignore the problems.  There is also evidence they just stopped reporting all suspensions and crimes in the schools to get off the dangerous list.  And magically the graduation rate has skyrocketed within a matter of a couple of years.

Ugh. The school district is about to split up and give parents more local control. Way back when I was on the PTA, the biggest concern was raising funding for a marquee sign out front and school uniforms. Meanwhile we had 30 to a class and portables a/c breaking down. I'm not confident things will be different. 

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What gets me are the naysayers about homeschooling.  I could think of more ideal situations than me homeschooling my kids if I'm being 100% honest with myself, but that ideal situation does not exist for us so I am doing what I think is the best I can do.  Most teachers I've encountered have been very positive.  There are several teachers at the choir, for example, and they have never made any negative comments and they are supportive of the idea.  But some basically wonder how I can pull off an authentic public school education that looks like a public school education as I (we) know it.  I don't argue with them because whatever, but I'm not trying to pull that off.  i want something different. 

 

Quite honestly, if I were only exposed to the local homeschooling group near where I am now I would be a naysayer too. 

 

I have had a lot of students come in with very poor knowledge of algebra. But it's the former homeschoolers (who seem to follow an unschooling or rather a nonschooling philosophy around here) who have students who have apparently never seen a variable. I am not kidding, I have never had students before who had no idea about what to do with something like x+3 = 5. A few of them have talked to me about how they had never done math. They just read books. 

They're lovely and articulate kids and they do fine in any class that isn't STEM. Even though they haven't written much in the way of papers, their reading is extensive enough that they do fine. But their math preparation is so bad that it's really hampering them. PS output is bad. Whatever they're doing is worse, as far as math goes.

 

Also, remember that most PS teachers (especially elementary/middle school) only rarely see anything but the students for whom homeschooling has not been successful and the parents have finally given up and enrolled them. They don't see the successful ones, because those tend to homeschool all the way through unless forced into school by external considerations. 

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Quite honestly, if I were only exposed to the local homeschooling group near where I am now I would be a naysayer too. 

 

I have had a lot of students come in with very poor knowledge of algebra. But it's the former homeschoolers (who seem to follow an unschooling or rather a nonschooling philosophy around here) who have students who have apparently never seen a variable. I am not kidding, I have never had students before who had no idea about what to do with something like x+3 = 5. A few of them have talked to me about how they had never done math. They just read books. 

They're lovely and articulate kids and they do fine in any class that isn't STEM. Even though they haven't written much in the way of papers, their reading is extensive enough that they do fine. But their math preparation is so bad that it's really hampering them. PS output is bad. Whatever they're doing is worse, as far as math goes.

 

Also, remember that most PS teachers (especially elementary/middle school) only rarely see anything but the students for whom homeschooling has not been successful and the parents have finally given up and enrolled them. They don't see the successful ones, because those tend to homeschool all the way through unless forced into school by external considerations. 

 

You haven't had my kid in your class then.  :thumbup1:  

 

Hehe, but yeah that makes sense.  Last instructor struck up a conversation about what I do and so I told him I homeschool my kids.  He wanted to know which curriculum I use because obviously the former homeschoolers he had encountered in his classes at the high school weren't using the right curriculum.  (because yeah that's all it comes down to...)

 

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Shhhh....ds reads all the assigned reading. Last week's history required reading 100 pages. He managed it, but grumbled quite a bit about it. 

 

It is definitely different in the humanities. Students are more likely to read English and history than they are to read physics - and many of the few who do to "read" a physics text the same way they read a novel. Not how that works. You gotta read with pencil in hand and take notes and work through all problems - skimming and watching for the bolded vocabulary words won't cut it.

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