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regentrude

Vent: just another example of high schools letting students down

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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.

Same here. I finished high school at 16 under independent study. I had the department chair in science and math, regular 2nd year French class, band, and college profs for mentors for English and History. It worked just fine. I even found my college profs and and made sure they could work within my schedule. The school paid them the going per hour tutoring rate for someone with an advanced degree.

 

That is not an option now. And the crazy thing is that the dingbat principal at the local school looked appalled when I suggested they bring back an independent study program after eliminating AP's and only offering one DE class per semester. His response, "PH.D.'s don't have teaching licenses. We can't expect them to know how to teach children!"

 

I should get an award for not smacking him on the back of the head! Really. Just so dumb.

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Same here. I finished high school at 16 under independent study. I had the department chair in science and math, regular 2nd year French class, band, and college profs for mentors for English and History. It worked just fine. I even found my college profs and and made sure they could work within my schedule. The school paid them the going per hour tutoring rate for someone with an advanced degree.

 

That is not an option now. And the crazy thing is that the dingbat principal at the local school looked appalled when I suggested they bring back an independent study program after eliminating AP's and only offering one DE class per semester. His response, "PH.D.'s don't have teaching licenses. We can't expect them to know how to teach children!"

 

I should get an award for not smacking him on the back of the head! Really. Just so dumb.

 

Gosh, I kinda see his point.  Next thing you know, you'll have a bunch of parents rise up and think that THEY might be able to educate their children...

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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.

Yup. Two weeks ago I subbed for my friend that teaches algebra 2. He had a concept he was desperate to kill drill with the kids with lecture, working many examples on the board but this method would be against policy so he asked me to sub because the principal considers subs to be paid babysitters.

 

So I taught them. The kids loved it. They like my friend too, but are puzzled about why I teach one way which they find quite helpful, and he teaches another. They have no idea that he has a calendar he keeps on which he marks off every day until retirement. He bought four years of retirement through payroll deduction so he will have 30 years of pension at year 26 which is 4.5 years away. I have a feeling he is going to throw himself quite a major retirement party.

 

I know many teachers who could be amazing if the darned bureaucrats would just get out of the way.

 

So I shall not be teaching full time when ds graduates. No thanks.

Edited by FaithManor
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Gosh, I kinda see his point. Next thing you know, you'll have a bunch of parents rise up and think that THEY might be able to educate their children...

LOL! Priceless!

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ETA: And no, the student did not just have a bad day on placement test day. He proceeded to struggle in algebra and is currently failing trigonometry.

A student who has A in calculus would have expected himself to be on a math/science-related track in college. He is so shortchanged by his high school.

Reminds me of the physics thread quite some time ago.

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: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

 

We've definitely seen the differences - and even adjusted where our younger two went to college according to their desires and abilities (neither my oldest nor youngest would have been able to do well at middle son's school - even though all three are intelligent - it takes a bit more).  

 

I'm continually amazed by kids and parents who lament that most higher level schools do not accept cc credits, esp when within a major.  It would really help if they sat in on "identical" classes at both places (or compared tests).  There's a teacher at school who used to tell his DE Bio kids that his class was identical to what they would get in any college because "a cell is a cell."  It took him less than 30 seconds to change his mind after looking at middle son's first test.

 

Youngest son took that DE class at school and sat in on one of middle son's classes when visiting.  He called his own class Bio-Lite after that.  I asked him to tell me one of the differences he noticed and he relayed, "In my class we learned there's 'an' enzyme that assists with a certain process.  In my brother's class they were learning about 'multiple' enzymes - by name - and what each did in the process."  It's a huge difference.  FWIW, middle son's school more or less expects a DE/AP level of knowledge coming in to Bio 101.  It doesn't duplicate it.

 

And yes, a good part of the tests are what one would do in hypothetical situations - sometimes situations where even the prof doesn't know the answer, but wants a reasoned guess (possibly getting leads for future research by tapping intelligent minds).

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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. 

 

 

 

This was my 4 years of high school math.  The first half of class time was going over questions in the previous night's homework.  Roughly the second half was spent introducing the next lesson and assigning the next night's homework.  For extra help there was office hours after school.  After about a chapter or so, a test.  Lather rinse repeat.  

 

The burden was on the students to know what they didn't know and ask how to solve a problem, or why their solution was different from the back of the book.  We all benefited from watching the teacher solve problems at the board.  But homework was never turned in or graded.  

 

OT: My high school math teacher would put a smiley face on the front of our test paper if we scored 90% or above.  

 

I lived for those smiley faces.  

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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.

But they still have to pass all the Regents exams to graduate. And there are no other diploma options anymore, even for special Ed, it's all Regents or no diploma.

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

 

Reject this model?  The masses demanded this model.  

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Yup. Two weeks ago I subbed for my friend that teaches algebra 2. He had a concept he was desperate to kill drill with the kids with lecture, woeking2 many examples on the board but this method would be against policy so he asked me to sub because the principal considers subs to be paid babysitters.

 

So I taught them. The kids loved it. They like my friend too, but are puzzled about why I teach one way shich they find quite helpful, and he teaches another. 

 

This may well be one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. :svengo:

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How is it possible that a student who completed precalculus, trigonometry and calculus at his public high school and got As in all three courses takes the college math placement test and scores in the 6th percentile, placing into remedial algebra (not even college algebra)??? What on earth is wrong with those schools?

 

ETA: And no, the student did not just have a bad day on placement test day. He proceeded to struggle in algebra and is currently failing trigonometry.

It's infuriating isn't it? And incredible unfair to the students to have an indication of comprehension of material without actual understanding and assimilation of the material going on. Weighted grades, attendance and participation credit, and a low emphasis on assessments is probably at play. Poor kid :(

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This may well be one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. :svengo:

Yup! And then the world wonders why our high school graduates are so ignorant on topics that were supposedly covered.

 

As long as school funding is tied to graduation rates without a tracked system with three levels of diploma options, this is how it will be. Michigan wants all kids run through merit curriculum (ie college prep) regardless of skill, work ethic, deficits, and learning disabilities and penalizes schools for not railroading the bulk of the students through it added to a ridiculous amount of standardized tests resulting in far too much test prep, and inability to let unwilling students out before the age 18. As incredulous as it is that we have arrived here, it is the logical result of such policies.

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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)

 

 

The part in bold nearly brings me to tears. My oldest was in 7th grade when our district went to the program you described above. It was disastrous and we spent thousands of dollars on tutoring.  That experience was one of the reasons we homeschooled our youngest. He made the same complaints about math that his older siblings had voiced.  After his first year at home (with Saxon!), he loved math and wanted to self-teach, which he did until he reached Foerster Algebra 1 in 8th grade. If I could do it over again, I would never have let him take Geometry and and Advanced Algebra/Trig class at the high school. We lost momentum and even with the fabulous Derek Owens, he never quite recovered that joy he had discovered in the early years.

 

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Similarly, how is it possible that at least 5-6 out of 20 students in an upper level psychology class (for which a basic high school or college intro to psychology class is required) have never heard of Pavlov and his dogs?? It's not that they didn't remember the study, they never even heard the name before!

 

WHAT?? Even I, the no-college, vocational-diploma high-school grad, know about Pavlov and his dogs. :blink:

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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....

I've definitely seen this problem in high school math classes where so much of the grade is based on anything but tests that students never really have to show mastery. The grades in all of my high school and college math classes were based only on exams and quizzes. I never handed in a math HW set until graduate school. Answer keys and help were always available for HW, but if you couldn't show mastery of the material on your own on exams, you didn't pass the class.

 

My high school was pretty average and didn't offer calculus or any honors or AP classes, but when I got to college, I discovered my math education was actually very, very good.

 

One of my nieces has always struggled with math, but this is the first year she is actually failing a high school math class. The main difference from previous years is that her current teacher heavily weighs exams and quizzes and HW barely counts.

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This thread is not reassuring me about putting DD11 in a (good, if typical - 9 on Greatschools) middle school when we move in Jan.

 

I've been struggling with this ALL YEAR. DD loves the social bits and they can't really screw her up English-wise. For LA, I still look over her papers and edit her writing. It's not like they can take away her reading level (although the class is reading books DD read/analyzed last year). It's the math that keeps me up at night. This is DD's pre-A year and the regular sixth grade class is working PM5 skills. Seriously.

 

I've continued to homeschool it a) because they refused to assess for an accelerated placement (they're ONLY using EngageNY which has the previously discussed 'discovery' approach) and b) there are not enough problem sets in the program to ensure mastery. The only class I've been happy with is science (where DD has a C, it was a D and will be a B soon) because the grade is almost exclusively based on tough tests/quizzes (IIRC, they lose points for spelling errors). It knocked DD on her arse to learn she actually had to STUDY for this class. So, not all classes are pointless and not all teachers are easy graders but the ones that are can do real damage.

 

Between the vanity grades, group work, and lack of rigor it's tough. I am FOREVER telling her not to get too comfy. The school she's in is far too easy and she needs to focus on her test/quiz/independent paper grades. Those are the only ones that count in my book. That said, learning to manage and keep track of multiple assignments and deadlines has been a really valuable change and I appreciate the maturity DD now displays in that area.

Edited by Sneezyone
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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.

 

Agreeing 100%. My daughter took physics at her university and the teacher assigned all homework through the online system, and furthermore was unavailable most of the time for office hours or questions. She started college wanting to minor in physics but dropped that goal quickly after dealing with this ridiculous situation for a full school year. The professor really let those kids down and turned what should have been an interesting subject into pure misery.

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But they still have to pass all the Regents exams to graduate. And there are no other diploma options anymore, even for special Ed, it's all Regents or no diploma.

 

I know nothing about the exams.  It seems to me they spend a lot of time teaching to the test.  And that might be ok if the tests are decent, but I have no idea.

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Maybe students memorize how to do the problems for the test without a real understanding of what they're doing...?

 

 

 

Similarly, how is it possible that at least 5-6 out of 20 students in an upper level psychology class (for which a basic high school or college intro to psychology class is required) have never heard of Pavlov and his dogs?? It's not that they didn't remember the study, they never even heard the name before!

 

Weird.  I was a psych major and that's an intro to psych topic. 

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This.  This is exactly what's going on in our district, and I am guessing most districts, as well.

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.

 

Edited by reefgazer

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I've been wondering this for a while now.  But based on what I saw when my kids were in public schools, most of the parents who see an A or B on the report card are satisfied, so they don't ask questions or dig any deeper into what was actually going on at school regarding curriculum and learning.

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

 

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The public schools don't care one whit what parents want or say.  Change won't happen until people vote with their feet and walk out the door, which many parents can not or will not do.

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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Agreeing 100%. My daughter took physics at her university and the teacher assigned all homework through the online system, and furthermore was unavailable most of the time for office hours or questions. She started college wanting to minor in physics but dropped that goal quickly after dealing with this ridiculous situation for a full school year. The professor really let those kids down and turned what should have been an interesting subject into pure misery.

 

The bolded: this may actually not be the professor's fault. Unless the school provides resources for a different way to assess homework, the prof may be unable to grade the homework.

I have 500 students in my course who complete a total of 4,000 homework problems every week.  There is absolutely no way anybody can grade this many problems.

But we have students split up in smaller recitations, have instructors who teach the recitations and discuss homework and call people to the board at random to present their solutions (good incentive to do the hw), have graders who grade a randomly collected subset of the hw each week, have a learning center staffed with peer learning assistants available to students for ten hours per week for just my class.

If the instructor does not have resources, it may not be doable. Even with a small class of 80 students, grading the amount of homework necessary for mastery is a huge undertaking (been there, done that).

With increasing enrollment and no additional faculty, and the push to cut instructional cost, many instructors have no choice but to use online homework.

Edited by regentrude
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This thread is not reassuring me about putting DD11 in a (good, if typical - 9 on Greatschools) middle school when we move in Jan.

 

Definitely be careful.  This new math has taken over.  I have no idea why as far more hate it and don't do well with it than succeed.  It's popularity in schools really leaves me scratching my head, but as stated before, the teachers at our school who like it always mention it being far less work for them.  Kids tell me some just tell them what to do, then go sit at their desks for a long period of time returning at the end to quickly go over answers.

 

Our school switching to it was the final straw for me.  I pulled all three of my kids out that year - no regrets for having done so either.  Youngest opted to return for high school, so had this math from Geometry - PreCalc.  Kids and teachers considered him a genius for his foundational knowledge, but now he's quite afraid to take any math in college because he knows what he doesn't know.  (He refused to afterschool any extra math with me   :glare:, but would at least ask questions when he didn't understand something. )  Fortunately, his desired major doesn't require any extra math classes in college.  When he wasn't sure about majors he took a placement test and tested into PreCalc - not too bad considering the OP - he'd have had to repeat one class.

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The bolded: this may actually not be the professor's fault. Unless the school provides resources for a different way to assess homework, the prof may be unable to grade the homework.

I have 500 students in my course who complete a total of 4,000 homework problems every week.  There is absolutely no way anybody can grade this many problems.

 

Even without this, the big reason I started using online for at least part of it was that what I saw, week after week, was people doing a majority of the homework problems wrong, receiving their paper back, not even looking at the grade, stuffing it in their backpack and going back to do the next week. By the time they turned it in and I had it graded and returned (my turnaround time is typically very fast), they'd forgotten or stopped caring. With the online, at least they have some idea that they're getting it wrong while they're doing it.

 

It's why I'm using it now for most of the 'quick answer' type of questions.

 

Unfortunately I have to teach the students I have instead of the students I wish I had. 

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Definitely be careful.  This new math has taken over.  I have no idea why as far more hate it and don't do well with it than succeed.  It's popularity in schools really leaves me scratching my head, but as stated before, the teachers at our school who like it always mention it being far less work for them.  Kids tell me some just tell them what to do, then go sit at their desks for a long period of time returning at the end to quickly go over answers.

 

Furthermore, a lot of admins love it because it lets them "narrow the achievement gap" by being able to justify assigning a lot of passing grades to the students who really don't get it, which makes the school look a lot better on paper. Furthermore, since even the bright kids aren't learning as much, they aren't as far ahead so again they are "narrowing the achievement gap".

 

I read an article a bit back (lost it now) where an elementary school had switched from Singapore Math to Everyday Math because even though their lower achievers were doing better with Singapore Math, their higher achievers were doing dramatically better and so their achievement gap was widening. This is going to be exacerbated in any curriculum that teaches well, because some kids will just always get it more quickly than others.

 

So incredibly frustrated. It's like tying babies' legs together because the others in their class aren't ready to walk yet. 

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Even without this, the big reason I started using online for at least part of it was that what I saw, week after week, was people doing a majority of the homework problems wrong, receiving their paper back, not even looking at the grade, stuffing it in their backpack and going back to do the next week. By the time they turned it in and I had it graded and returned (my turnaround time is typically very fast), they'd forgotten or stopped caring. With the online, at least they have some idea that they're getting it wrong while they're doing it.

 

It's why I'm using it now for most of the 'quick answer' type of questions.

 

 

Yes, I notice that many students don't care about graded homework. They don't even work through their tests to understand what they did wrong.

 

For us, the main issue is that we have no quick-answer type questions. We need to teach them to follow a certain procedure, set up a diagram, arrive at the answer for the right reason. With online homework, many will fumble around and try, possibly as a group effort with students taking turns sacrificing themselves by going first, and somehow fudge until they get the final result correct - which can be done without fully understanding all steps. 

 

There is currently one system on the market that has an algebra engine that can rearrange the expression the student has input to compare with the correct answer and that will accept identical expressions as correct. MasteringPhysics does not have that capability. But even then, I cannot assign a context rich/multi step problem because that cannot be evaluated - only the final result is.

 

 

Unfortunately I have to teach the students I have instead of the students I wish I had.

 

Right there with you :)

 

Edited by regentrude
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Furthermore, a lot of admins love it because it lets them "narrow the achievement gap" by being able to justify assigning a lot of passing grades to the students who really don't get it, which makes the school look a lot better on paper. Furthermore, since even the bright kids aren't learning as much, they aren't as far ahead so again they are "narrowing the achievement gap".

 

I read an article a bit back (lost it now) where an elementary school had switched from Singapore Math to Everyday Math because even though their lower achievers were doing better with Singapore Math, their higher achievers were doing dramatically better and so their achievement gap was widening. This is going to be exacerbated in any curriculum that teaches well, because some kids will just always get it more quickly than others.

 

So incredibly frustrated. It's like tying babies' legs together because the others in their class aren't ready to walk yet. 

 

And in our school I had an 8th grade English teacher vent to me that she had to assign a 4th grade reading level book as a "class" book to read.  Why?  Because some students weren't ready for 8th grade level reading and the Powers That Be felt they shouldn't feel left behind.  "What about her students who were already reading at a 12th grade level?" she asked.  "They'll succeed anyway.  Don't worry about them."   :glare:

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There is currently one system on the market that has an algebra engine that can rearrange the expression the student has input to compare with the correct answer and that will accept identical expressions as correct. MasteringPhysics does not have that capability. But even then, I cannot assign a context rich/multi step problem because that cannot be evaluated - only the final result is.

 

Yeah, pretty much everything online is stupidly bad for content-rich multi-step problems or anything where the process matters. It's like trying to assign online homework for "compute the derivative using the limit definition"

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Even without this, the big reason I started using online for at least part of it was that what I saw, week after week, was people doing a majority of the homework problems wrong, receiving their paper back, not even looking at the grade, stuffing it in their backpack and going back to do the next week. By the time they turned it in and I had it graded and returned (my turnaround time is typically very fast), they'd forgotten or stopped caring. With the online, at least they have some idea that they're getting it wrong while they're doing it.

 

It's why I'm using it now for most of the 'quick answer' type of questions.

 

Unfortunately I have to teach the students I have instead of the students I wish I had. 

 

I stuff my papers in my bag, but I always go back and look.  I wouldn't assume stuffing it meant they weren't looking.  I do like the idea of instant feedback though. 

 

I blame this on years of schooling teaching us to do just this though.  I never had a teacher insist on redoing stuff.  Often times teachers wouldn't even go over stuff that was handed back. 

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Yeah, pretty much everything online is stupidly bad for content-rich multi-step problems or anything where the process matters. It's like trying to assign online homework for "compute the derivative using the limit definition"

 

yes, that would be difficult to ensure they actually do it that way. Or integrate by actually breaking the area under the curve into small columns, arrgh.

 

Now, with math, in many straight forward cases I'd think students would cheat using wolfram or something similar anyway - do you see this happen? I have gone away from textbook homework because they cheating with online solution manuals is rampant and am now writing all my own assignments.

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I stuff my papers in my bag, but I always go back and look.  I wouldn't assume stuffing it meant they weren't looking. 

 

When I still had my smaller class of only 80 and graded every HW with detailed feedback, I gave my students a questionnaire, and one of the questions was about graded homework. I forgot the exact number, but the percentage of students who, anonymously, self reported never to look at graded homework was astounding.

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I stuff my papers in my bag, but I always go back and look.  I wouldn't assume stuffing it meant they weren't looking.  I do like the idea of instant feedback though. 

 

I blame this on years of schooling teaching us to do just this though.  I never had a teacher insist on redoing stuff.  Often times teachers wouldn't even go over stuff that was handed back. 

 

The reason that I know they're not looking is because (at about this point in the semester) when they finally realize they're failing after they fail the second test, they come to see me to ask for extra credit, I ask them about the notes I've been writing on their homework and they tell me that they never looked at it. 

 

I do agree with you and I always had made the assumption that they read it later but once I started hearing from them I realized that they did not. 

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The reason that I know they're not looking is because (at about this point in the semester) when they finally realize they're failing after they fail the second test, they come to see me to ask for extra credit, I ask them about the notes I've been writing on their homework and they tell me that they never looked at it. 

 

:banghead:

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Now, with math, in many straight forward cases I'd think students would cheat using wolfram or something similar anyway - do you see this happen? I have gone away from textbook homework because they cheating with online solution manuals is rampant and am now writing all my own assignments.

 

Absolutely. Unfortunately there's no way for me to police that other than by completely flipping the classroom and making them do all their work in front of me, and those are exactly the ones who wouldn't watch the videos to successfully flip the classroom anyway. They are going to fail and there's nothing I can do.

 

I do talk to the whole class about how using resources like that to check your work is fine and dandy, but using resources to do your work is going to set you up for failure on the tests. 

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I think it's so sad.  Here is a kid who is being told that she is doing "great" in "college level work" but who is pulling a C in AP classes, doesn't read, and clearly doesn't have a clue that yeah, reading is something you have to do in college.  She's being sold a bill of goods that she is doing college level work, and is ready for college.  I can't imagine that she'll score very well on the AP exams, but more importantly, how will she handle a full load of college classes if she's been skating by in what she thinks is college level classes without reading?  She honestly thinks that she is "one of the smart kids."  

 

 

somebody needs to get the 1 - that might be her wake up call

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Umm, Wendy?  Have you ever worked for a government agency?  Something sadly similar takes place it that environment, as well.  As me how I know. :glare:

 

 

And that is why the saying "close enough for government work" is not quite synonymous with "meets or exceeds industry standards".   :001_smile:

 

Changing the saying to "close enough for public schools" would work, but it would really shift the connotation from gentle mocking of bureaucracy to depressing cynicism about the egalitarianism of the American Dream.

 

Wendy

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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. 

 

(Sorry, Sparkly.  I missed this.)

The public schools don't care one whit what parents want or say.  Change won't happen until people vote with their feet and walk out the door, which many parents can not or will not do.

:iagree: This.  So long as the money is coming in, the attitude is "Shut up and listen to us.  We're the experts.  You just fund raise."  (Although I would add an additional component to the solution of exiting the system:  People should, you know, VOTE.  Intelligently.  Here in our district, the School Board is made up entirely of people within the system.  Because that's who people voted for.  Not surprisingly, they continue to do things the way that makes them comfortable and whine about never enough money.  Quelle surprise. Grr.)

 

Definitely be careful.  This new math has taken over.  I have no idea why as far more hate it and don't do well with it than succeed.  It's popularity in schools really leaves me scratching my head, but as stated before, the teachers at our school who like it always mention it being far less work for them.  Kids tell me some just tell them what to do, then go sit at their desks for a long period of time returning at the end to quickly go over answers.

 

 

 

Here, at least, curriculum decisions are primarily made by "curriculum specialists," both at the state and local level (local public schools must choose state-approved curricula.)  The classroom teachers have, at best, a minimal role in the decision, and then if you add the concern raised above - that some are more concerned with ease of implementation than quality - it's no darn wonder that much of it stinks.  Oh, and don't get me started on the textbook-production-of-poop oligarchy...More GRR..

 

And in our school I had an 8th grade English teacher vent to me that she had to assign a 4th grade reading level book as a "class" book to read.  Why?  Because some students weren't ready for 8th grade level reading and the Powers That Be felt they shouldn't feel left behind.  "What about her students who were already reading at a 12th grade level?" she asked.  "They'll succeed anyway.  Don't worry about them."   :glare:

 

Personal vent:  When we moved here, I sent my child to our local Blue Ribbon School, one of the top 50 in the nation, doncha know.  They do the Accelerated Reader program (of which I am not a personal fan, but I get that it is good for many students.)  Well, after the first tracking period, my child (a very good reader and a wee tad competitive) decided on an ambitious personal goal for reading minutes which she proudly wrote on the board with the others.  The teacher held her in at recess, called her to the board, erased her goal and said that she couldn't put that on the board because it would "make the other kids feel bad," and replaced it with a number one third of my child's chosen number.  But she told DD that "we can have a private goal," as if that made it okay.  Way to go, lady.  Thanks for telling my FOURTH GRADE GIRL THAT ACHIEVEMENT IS SHAMEFUL.  BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE ANY SOCIAL ISSUES WITH GIRLS AND ACHIEVEMENT, OR ANYTHING.  Five years later on, I'm still :cursing: .

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somebody needs to get the 1 - that might be her wake up call

 

Maybe.  She was just saying last night that she always did well on the STAR tests (CA annual testing associated with NCLB) but that she bombed the PSAT, particularly the math portion.  Yet another disconnect between "high achievement" in school vs. college readiness? I dunno.

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And that is why the saying "close enough for government work" is not quite synonymous with "meets or exceeds industry standards".   :001_smile:

 

Changing the saying to "close enough for public schools" would work, but it would really shift the connotation from gentle mocking of bureaucracy to depressing cynicism about the egalitarianism of the American Dream.

 

Wendy

 

:lol:

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Our school switching to it was the final straw for me.  I pulled all three of my kids out that year - no regrets for having done so either.  Youngest opted to return for high school, so had this math from Geometry - PreCalc.  Kids and teachers considered him a genius for his foundational knowledge, but now he's quite afraid to take any math in college because he knows what he doesn't know.  (He refused to afterschool any extra math with me   :glare:, but would at least ask questions when he didn't understand something. )  Fortunately, his desired major doesn't require any extra math classes in college.  When he wasn't sure about majors he took a placement test and tested into PreCalc - not too bad considering the OP - he'd have had to repeat one class.

That's a sign of immaturity - DS also realized his charter school B&M math was deficient so we "after-schooled" math most of that occurred during the summer months.

 

Finally he has a good AP Calc teacher this year and we can do programming or something else next summer!

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I am extremely grateful that when my son went to school he pulled the math teacher he did for his first year.  Many of the students dropped her class and moved to the other teacher because she was "too hard" on them.  My son was thrilled with her.  She made them learn the material, showed them real life applications, and had him aspire to do something with mathematics in college.  He made sure he was in her class the second year, taking her dual credit classes.  This year he is with a different teacher for AP Calculus, and half the class is the product of the other teacher.  They got good grades, sure, but now are floundering. Their classes were more gentle and focused on the attempt, rather than the right work.  Every exam so far in the calculus class has had at least a 50% failure rate.  I don't see many of them sticking with it in the second semester. 

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But even with strong selection, schools not in large cities cannot meet the needs of profoundly gifted students.

ETA: My DD was not just taking, but tutoring ,calculus based physics at the university at age 15. How can a small town school give such a student an adequate challenge? (In a large city, you have enough critical numbers to form a magnet school of profoundly gifted students.)

I agree with this statement but the school counselor could have a clue of online resources that this student could use at school (AoPS) for those periods such as math. Many top math students are just average or just above average in language arts so those could be the normal honors classes.

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She was just saying last night that she always did well on the STAR tests (CA annual testing associated with NCLB) but that she bombed the PSAT, particularly the math portion. Yet another disconnect between "high achievement" in school vs. college readiness?

The STAR testing results have quite a big band/range for advanced. It is not hard for results to fall into that category if the teachers did some test prep. The report also make results look so nice at first glance unless you scrutinize the data and compare to California Dept of Education's dataset on results. My oldest hit the 100th percentile for math on his STAR score reports which is weird, probably a round up error. Since who can be on the 100th percentile.

 

My neighbors had made the same comment about their high school aged kids doing well in the STAR tests in the past and now the CAASPP (smarter balanced common core) tests. Their kids have not taken ACT, SAT or AP exam yet and the school webpage doesn't have AP results data breakdown by subjects and grades.

 

A friend's daughter in a locally top ranking district failed the CAHSEE and graduated last year, that is worse than bombing the PSAT since she doesn't get a high school diploma.

 

We have neighbors switching to private for high school after k-8 in public schools. They consider paying four years of private school less financially taxing than k-12th private.

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This may well be one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. :svengo:

 

It is stupid, but I have one better. When I was in high school they were testing an Organic Chemistry class. My school was a training ground for the soon-to-be-opened Jefferson science and tech school. 

 

But in November our teacher was diagnosed with cancer and couldn't continue (obviously). Since there aren't a lot of organic chemistry high school teachers laying around they were scrambling for a replacement. My dad, who has a PhD in organic chem and was a professor for several years offered to take a leave of absence from his job and teach the course. They wouldn't let him because he didn't have a high school teaching certificate. So they hired a woman with an English degree and she spent each day reading the textbook, clearly with no idea what any of it meant. 

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Personal vent:  When we moved here, I sent my child to our local Blue Ribbon School, one of the top 50 in the nation, doncha know.  They do the Accelerated Reader program (of which I am not a personal fan, but I get that it is good for many students.)  Well, after the first tracking period, my child (a very good reader and a wee tad competitive) decided on an ambitious personal goal for reading minutes which she proudly wrote on the board with the others.  The teacher held her in at recess, called her to the board, erased her goal and said that she couldn't put that on the board because it would "make the other kids feel bad," and replaced it with a number one third of my child's chosen number.  But she told DD that "we can have a private goal," as if that made it okay.  Way to go, lady.  Thanks for telling my FOURTH GRADE GIRL THAT ACHIEVEMENT IS SHAMEFUL.  BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE ANY SOCIAL ISSUES WITH GIRLS AND ACHIEVEMENT, OR ANYTHING.  Five years later on, I'm still :cursing: .

 

I would be LIVID!

 

I was fortunate with my kids' teachers. One teacher was very creative in his way of addressing the fact that DS always won the math games (one of those where you go around and solve a math question and if you get it wrong you sit down and the last person standing is the winner). She decided that they would play one round with DS, and then a second round that he would sit out :)

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I agree with this statement but the school counselor could have a clue of online resources that this student could use at school (AoPS) for those periods such as math. Many top math students are just average or just above average in language arts so those could be the normal honors classes.

 

yes, but the gifted student who excels in all subject areas is not receiving an adequate education by being made to sit in front of a screen for seven hours at school. Especially for an extroverted student who craves interaction I do not see this as a viable solution for schooling.

 

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