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regentrude

Vent: just another example of high schools letting students down

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That's a sign of immaturity 

 

In my particular situation, it was due to Aspie tendencies and the knowledge that one doesn't "have" to do anything if they don't want to.  The lad takes the most after me in his thinking - except I loved math and he doesn't.

 

Fortunately, he's doing fine anyway - in his own element.  He's super good with languages - very talented.  He's also only in his junior year of college and has two standing offers of employment after graduation.  He likes them both - or might find something he likes better between now and then.  Who knows?  It helped him a bit when I finally opted to point out his Aspie tendencies.  He could identify easily and then decided he wanted to learn people skills.  

 

Like the majority of Aspie types, he did really well with what he wanted to do.  I would have loved to have him interested in math/science (my specialties), but I'm a firm believer in each kid heading toward their own niche.  His is different than mine - as are all of my boys.  None of them grew up to be mini-me's (or even mini-dh's).  It's ok, all have or are well on their way to success following their own path.

 

I didn't follow my parents either.  If I had, I'd be far more into music than I am.  Both were music/band teachers.

 

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. 

 

My uncle worked in industry, then was a college prof (math).  He wanted to settle down and work in a high school after his kids reached school age - better schedule for him.  Naturally they wouldn't let him until after he got his high school certification.  Simply doing math in industry and teaching college kids certainly couldn't be proof that he could handle high school math/students!   :lol:

 

If I wanted to teach full time I'd have to get my certificate too.  I came from industry.  My school says it would be easy and I could do it while teaching, but I have no desire.  I think I need all the "how to handle paperwork" classes as my Psych major had some cross listed "Learning" classes.

 

Personally, I wish ALL teachers had to come from doing real life situations with their major in some way (at least math/science teachers).  Most of those who have come from those areas know their material far better than those coming in solely from their education classes.  Then, of course, there's the variable as to whether they have teaching talent, but even many with certificates do not IMO.

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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.

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.

 

I know this is a whole other discussion and getting off topic but I want to reply anyway. This amount of grading is impossible for any teacher and I appreciate that. Even a small fraction of this would be extremely difficult. Looking back to my own college days, how in the world was homework handled? We did not ever hand in homework in physics, calculus, or other courses. We did problems, went to study sessions with teaching assistants, checked our answers in the back of the book, asked questions in class, studied in groups in the library, asked questions during office hours, and then took exams. It did take quite a bit of individual motivation to keep that up but it was somehow more human (and humane) to learn that way.

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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.

 

 

Yes, and how is it really helpful to just give more work rather than different work?  So great, they can give one resources for more challenge, but this does not take the place of the gobs of busywork they are still required to do. 

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I was talking with a mom yesterday who told me her now 9th grader (in ps) struggled in middle school but is getting A's and B's in high school. She was surprisingly pleased because her daughter hadn't done anything extra to improve her performance such as summer school or tutoring. She never questioned the sudden improved change.

 

The Running Start program here is really popular amongst homeschoolers however I have some concerns with the quality of education from the community college. A mom told me that her daughter was taking a science class from the cc and that they were studying DNA and did an experiment where they collected DNA from a strawberry. Has community college become the new high school?

 

To be fair, I need to sit in on some classes at this cc to get a better picture however I think dual enrollment at our local satellite university would be a better fit for a kid who was looking for a challenge. I would rather pay out of pocket.

Edited by Jewels

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School admins are convinced they have to pull every student through, no matter the cost to anyone else, rather than expect the student to push their way through with their own ingenuity and hard work.

I know this is a whole other discussion and getting off topic but I want to reply anyway. This amount of grading is impossible for any teacher and I appreciate that. Even a small fraction of this would be extremely difficult. Looking back to my own college days, how in the world was homework handled? We did not ever hand in homework in physics, calculus, or other courses. We did problems, went to study sessions with teaching assistants, checked our answers in the back of the book, asked questions in class, studied in groups in the library, asked questions during office hours, and then took exams. It did take quite a bit of individual motivation to keep that up but it was somehow more human (and humane) to learn that way.

 

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It really depends on the community college, the 4 year university you are looking at, and the admins at each institution.  As much as I think the community college where I teach has dumbed down the curriculum, I have had several students tell me that when they transferred to the local big-name uni here that they were really well prepared by their community college classes.  As an aside, extracting DNA from strawberries is college level.  What you extract DNA from doesn't matter; the principles and detail you teach about DNA, applications, and the procedural knowledge are what matters when determining  the rigor of the course. 

I was talking with a mom yesterday who told me her now 9th grader (in ps) struggled in middle school but is getting A's and B's in high school. She was surprisingly pleased because her daughter hadn't done anything extra to improve her performance such as summer school or tutoring. She never questioned the sudden improved change.

The Running Start program here is really popular amongst homeschoolers however I have some concerns with the quality of education from the community college. A mom told me that her daughter was taking a science class from the cc and that they were studying DNA and did an experiment where they collected DNA from a strawberry. Has community college become the new high school?

To be fair, I need to sit in on some classes at this cc to get a better picture however I think dual enrollment at our local satellite university would be a better fit for a kid who was looking for a challenge. I would rather pay out of pocket.

 

Edited by reefgazer
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Depends on the CC. Some students who transfer here from specific CC's are really well-prepared and are able to do just fine in subsequent classes. Others who transfer from different CC's are ridiculously underprepared by the prerequisites they took at the CC. For example, someone who supposedly passed college algebra at a CC who cannot plot a graph such as y = mx + b or factor a quadratic such as 2x^2 - 3x - 2. It is very saddening. The CC's are now receiving the same pressure that the high schools have been, to put everyone immediately into college math and provide 'support', while still passing a reasonable percentage, with the expected results. But hey, we're getting those students through with associate's degrees!

 

Bah.

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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. 

 

Kiana, the one and only college math class I took was Calculus. I still have nightmares about it.  You went to lecture and turned in your homework, which you never saw again, at the beginning of class. You went to math lab where you could ask the TA questions.  Remember, this would be in the days before you could make copies. I would hand copy my problems that I struggled with and try to work from there. The problems worked on the board where similar to the homework, but not the same. I never knew where I was in the class and my confidence was so shaken that trying to shift the lesson from the homework to the lab was really tough.  I wonder sometimes if it's not always that the student has a poor foundation, but that they may not have the study skill set for certain college classes or simply not know how to work around the class setup. I know now what I could have done, but I've had 30 years to think about it.

 

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Kiana, the one and only college math class I took was Calculus. I still have nightmares about it.  You went to lecture and turned in your homework, which you never saw again, at the beginning of class. You went to math lab where you could ask the TA questions.  Remember, this would be in the days before you could make copies. I would hand copy my problems that I struggled with and try to work from there. The problems worked on the board where similar to the homework, but not the same. I never knew where I was in the class and my confidence was so shaken that trying to shift the lesson from the homework to the lab was really tough.  I wonder sometimes if it's not always that the student has a poor foundation, but that they may not have the study skill set for certain college classes or simply not know how to work around the class setup. I know now what I could have done, but I've had 30 years to think about it.

 

 

Sounds horrific. How can you know whether you've done it right if you never see your homework again? 

 

In some cases it definitely is a study skill set that's lacking. This is something that I can address. There are a lot of people who write on reviews that they thought they knew how to study until they got to _____. I get some "I've never worked harder but I've never learned more" on evaluations. 

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Question for our college professors:  How does one go about evaluating the rigor of the local CC?  My DD will likely be eligible to start taking courses at the CC sometime next year, and I'd love to figure out in advance whether it's going to be worth it.

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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.

 

I am really astounded by this. If I go to the trouble to do the homework, I want to see the feedback.

 

Do you think that many students are so used to seeing minimal to no feedback from their instructors that they've given up?

 

In high school my oldest son wrote a paper that he was serious about and had worked hard on.  His feedback was "Good job."  One of the posters that used to be on here (former lit professor) offered to go over his paper and give him genuine feedback. He was so thrilled with the time and effort she took. He felt like he learned more in that interaction than he had for most of the semester in his class.

 

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Question for our college professors:  How does one go about evaluating the rigor of the local CC?  My DD will likely be eligible to start taking courses at the CC sometime next year, and I'd love to figure out in advance whether it's going to be worth it.

 

Best way but unfortunately the hardest way would be to find some people who took their prerequisites there and transferred to decent schools and ask how well they were prepared by this CC. If you know any local employer, you can also ask them about employing people who went to that CC. 

 

You can look at reviews for places like ratemyprofessor but take them with a grain of salt. Reviews such as "best professor ever" are rubbish. Reviews such as "made math so easy" can be mixed, because sometimes it's a gifted explainer and sometimes it's someone who's just making the class easy. But look for gems such as "I didn't realize how much I learned in professor Smith's precalculus class until I took calculus" or things like that. 

 

I'll try and get more later. 

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I am really astounded by this. If I go to the trouble to do the homework, I want to see the feedback.

 

Do you think that many students are so used to seeing minimal to no feedback from their instructors that they've given up?

 

In high school my oldest son wrote a paper that he was serious about and had worked hard on.  His feedback was "Good job."  One of the posters that used to be on here (former lit professor) offered to go over his paper and give him genuine feedback. He was so thrilled with the time and effort she took. He felt like he learned more in that interaction than he had for most of the semester in his class.

 

 

How do these kids get into college?  How do they get the scores to get in?

 

I'm astounded as well. 

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This is all so infuriating.

 

I nearly put dd12 into a "highly academic" private school in our area for middle school. Several friends were attending and she was interested. So glad I went with my gut feelings. The work she is doing at home is so much more challenging and meaningful.

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Best way but unfortunately the hardest way would be to find some people who took their prerequisites there and transferred to decent schools and ask how well they were prepared by this CC. If you know any local employer, you can also ask them about employing people who went to that CC. 

 

You can look at reviews for places like ratemyprofessor but take them with a grain of salt. Reviews such as "best professor ever" are rubbish. Reviews such as "made math so easy" can be mixed, because sometimes it's a gifted explainer and sometimes it's someone who's just making the class easy. But look for gems such as "I didn't realize how much I learned in professor Smith's precalculus class until I took calculus" or things like that. 

 

I'll try and get more later. 

 

Thank you!  Asking local employers is an excellent idea; I live in a very rural region and the CC is very vocationally oriented.  I'll have to do some thinking about tracking down people who have experience with transfers.  Within our state, the units automatically transfer, so I need to find people who transferred to private schools and/or out of state ones.

 

ETA:  I just looked up "rate my professor."  One of the criteria is "hotness." :huh:

Edited by JoJosMom
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Thank you!  Asking local employers is an excellent idea; I live in a very rural region and the CC is very vocationally oriented.  I'll have to do some thinking about tracking down people who have experience with transfers.  Within our state, the units automatically transfer, so I need to find people who transferred to private schools and/or out of state ones.

 

ETA:  I just looked up "rate my professor."  One of the criteria is "hotness." :huh:

 

Yeah that part is dumb and the numbers are pretty worthless although I rarely see someone who was actually good with a :(

 

But the actual written reviews may have gems in them. 

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Question for our college professors:  How does one go about evaluating the rigor of the local CC?  My DD will likely be eligible to start taking courses at the CC sometime next year, and I'd love to figure out in advance whether it's going to be worth it.

 

Another option is to check with professors at decent 4 year schools the cc students tend to transfer into.  Don't just look to see if credits transfer - many times that is mandated.  Talking with professors in the desired major (or next class) gives far better opinions of those they've seen coming in.

 

Asking students who went from A to B also could be a good idea.

 

Otherwise, with the DNA/strawberry deal... that's a lab we tend to do in 10th grade Bio at the school where I work (statistically average school).  What is taught about DNA should be different between a college/high school class, but the actual lab?  Typical in 10th grade for here.

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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.

 

I'm amazed. My son is being graded harsher in 4th grade math than being described in this thread.

Yes, if they get lower than a 70 on a test, they get a (single) chance to retest. But the highest grade they can get on the retest is a 70.   There are no attendance grades. I do think they get a small percentage of the overall grade based on homework  completion. But it is mostly tests and in-class work.

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I am really astounded by this. If I go to the trouble to do the homework, I want to see the feedback.

 

Do you think that many students are so used to seeing minimal to no feedback from their instructors that they've given up?

 

In high school my oldest son wrote a paper that he was serious about and had worked hard on.  His feedback was "Good job."  One of the posters that used to be on here (former lit professor) offered to go over his paper and give him genuine feedback. He was so thrilled with the time and effort she took. He felt like he learned more in that interaction than he had for most of the semester in his class.

 

 

 

My oldest son went to public school and got a paper back from an English teacher who just wrote "NO" by one of his paragraphs.  He had no idea what she was saying no about.  He was a straight A student up until that class, but that teacher was determined to give him a B.  He had no idea how to improve his work in her eyes to earn an A because she gave him no feedback.  It was so frustrating.  

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Question for our college professors:  How does one go about evaluating the rigor of the local CC?  My DD will likely be eligible to start taking courses at the CC sometime next year, and I'd love to figure out in advance whether it's going to be worth it.

 

You can also browse a community college's online book store.  What books are they requiring students to buy for various classes?

 

At our local community college, they do not require any textbook for Bio 101 or Physics 101...I find that worrisome.  

 

For Anthropology 201 the "textbook" is A Very Short Introduction to Anthropology; I looked it up on Amazon and it is part of a series of CliffsNotes type guides for academic subjects.  It is 168 pages long, so a good start, but makes me wonder how they plan to fill the other 16ish weeks.

 

None of the history courses require the students to read any primary sources, just textbooks.

 

The calculus text got horrible reviews on Amazon.

 

Literature is taught from anthologies instead of complete books.

 

Add to that grim graduation and transfer statistics, and I doubt I will be sending any of my kids there to dual enrollment.  They would get a more rigorous education at the local public high school.

 

Wendy

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You can also browse a community college's online book store.  What books are they requiring students to buy for various classes?

 

At our local community college, they do not require any textbook for Bio 101 or Physics 101...I find that worrisome.  

 

For Anthropology 201 the "textbook" is A Very Short Introduction to Anthropology; I looked it up on Amazon and it is part of a series of CliffsNotes type guides for academic subjects.  It is 168 pages long, so a good start, but makes me wonder how they plan to fill the other 16ish weeks.

 

None of the history courses require the students to read any primary sources, just textbooks.

 

The calculus text got horrible reviews on Amazon.

 

Literature is taught from anthologies instead of complete books.

 

Add to that grim graduation and transfer statistics, and I doubt I will be sending any of my kids there to dual enrollment.  They would get a more rigorous education at the local public high school.

 

Wendy

 

This is a great point.  I was just looking up some of the basic sciences at our CC and noticed that some said "no textbook."  Yikes.

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Add to that grim graduation and transfer statistics, and I doubt I will be sending any of my kids there to dual enrollment.  They would get a more rigorous education at the local public high school.

 

Wendy

 

It doesn't have to be all or nothing.  Middle son had two DE classes that were very worthy even though his school didn't transfer the credits, Microbio 201 (the course nurses had to take) and Public Speaking.

 

Public Speaking is something I recommend for almost everyone actually, and it's tough to do at home or online.  It's really useful to actually speak before "the public."  The course teaches quite a bit about style and mannerisms, etc, - very useful for actual public speaking or college/job interviews and similar.

 

Then he had English 101... while not a great course, it was useful for his older brother in that it provided a LOR for his college/scholarship apps.  Middle son didn't get to use that pro since his prof had personal issues going on at the time.  He used his profs from the other two courses.

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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. 

 

Oh yeah. I've got one of those stories. :ack2:

 

My ex had studied Auslan (Australian Sign Language) and had been doing tech support at the Deaf school, while studying his teacher of the deaf course. So he knew the students, he knew the staff, he knew the system, he knew the language and everyone was delighted that he'd be taking over from the computers teacher when she retired. He didn't interview well, so the job went to a woman who couldn't sign. Instead of hiring one person to do the job properly, they hired two, because she needed an interpreter.

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It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Middle son had two DE classes that were very worthy even though his school didn't transfer the credits, Microbio 201 (the course nurses had to take) and Public Speaking.

 

Public Speaking is something I recommend for almost everyone actually, and it's tough to do at home or online. It's really useful to actually speak before "the public." The course teaches quite a bit about style and mannerisms, etc, - very useful for actual public speaking or college/job interviews and similar.

 

Then he had English 101... while not a great course, it was useful for his older brother in that it provided a LOR for his college/scholarship apps. Middle son didn't get to use that pro since his prof had personal issues going on at the time. He used his profs from the other two courses.

I agree with the Public Speaking advice. So many people are thrust into it without much coaching.

 

We do not have a DE option available, so we have found opportunities for the kids to give presentations. We give them a lot of feedback as they rehearse and look for knowledgeable people on whom they can practice. We took the rocket team to the tech center for GM one year where they gave their presentation to two different panels of engineers and management. It served them well and from the feedback they made some improvements and then won the TARC presentation competition. This new team is nervous about their NASA presentation on Nov. 30th, well except our guy. He is pretty seasoned now. We are looking for opportunities for them to practice on some pros between now and then.

 

Given how much public speaking dh has done for work though it is not technically a part of his job description, and the large amount I have done for 4H, I feel it is very important for high school and college students to be coached and hone those skills. It isn't an easy topic to teach in the home environment, but it can be done.

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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.

In our district there are two sets of textbooks. One stays in the classroom and another stays at home for the school year. This eliminates the need for lockers and having to lug around heavy textbooks. Some classes have a printed book in class and an online version to refer to at home.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I know this is a whole other discussion and getting off topic but I want to reply anyway. This amount of grading is impossible for any teacher and I appreciate that. Even a small fraction of this would be extremely difficult. Looking back to my own college days, how in the world was homework handled? We did not ever hand in homework in physics, calculus, or other courses. We did problems, went to study sessions with teaching assistants, checked our answers in the back of the book, asked questions in class, studied in groups in the library, asked questions during office hours, and then took exams. It did take quite a bit of individual motivation to keep that up but it was somehow more human (and humane) to learn that way.

 

That is the way we studied, too. if you failed, it was your own fault. Solutions were posted, so you could check your work.

But when retention and graduation rates become extremely important to colleges, they will bend over backwards to make sure that students pass. And many students today would not have gone to college back in the day. It is ridiculous that we need carrots like homework grades to "motivate" students to do the homework and reading quizzes so they read the assigned reading - but that is what instructors are "encouraged" to do.

 

Edited by regentrude
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This is a great point.  I was just looking up some of the basic sciences at our CC and noticed that some said "no textbook."  Yikes.

 

Be cautious about that. For example, a really good bio prof I know uses no specific textbook because he has his own textbook that he has written, plus many web-based resources and a reference reading list that he regularly updates. A couple of my classes have no formal textbook listed because the textbook that I use is open-source, so the students can buy a copy from a print-on-demand place, print it themselves, or just use the PDF on a tablet. I really like this textbook so far and it saves my students a tremendous amount of money as even if they print their own copy it's $10. 

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This is a great point.  I was just looking up some of the basic sciences at our CC and noticed that some said "no textbook."  Yikes.

 

That does not have to be yikes. They may use free open source textbooks. Or they may not require, but only recommend a book.

Of my class that has a required book, only 20% of students actually read the textbook assignments. This means I cannot  teach as if I could rely on students to have pre-read. I am on the verge of ditching the textbook - and the quality of my class will not suffer from it one little bit. 

 

ETA: None of the university classes back home had a required book. The prof announced a list of recommended books; it was up to students to go to the library and see which style they liked, and which book presented which topic in the best way. We usually worked with multiple texts from different authors. This was far superior than being chained to one particular required text.

Edited by regentrude
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"No textbooks" could also mean there's no actual spine sort of book. My history classes very often had no textbooks, but they had 8-10 individual books per class, a mix of primary and secondary sources. And my favorite professor used to put a list of the books on hold at a local independent bookstore rather than at the campus bookstore, so it might have looked like there were no textbooks for the course.

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Oh wow. Parents in our district have been happy with new math, although I have also heard complains that there is no traditional textbook. They are using Carnegie Math. I assumed it was a great program, but now I wonder.

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I wonder how I find out these things before she enrolls?

 

And how do I provide all the social opportunities and competitiveness that a junior high/high school has without actually being in the school?

 

sigh sigh

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Oh wow. Parents in our district have been happy with new math, although I have also heard complains that there is no traditional textbook. They are using Carnegie Math. I assumed it was a great program, but now I wonder.

 

1) Some people call programs like singapore math "new math" because it's not how they were used to doing math.

 

2) Discovery can actually work reasonably well when it's got a good element of drill and is taught by a qualified and knowledgeable teacher. Unfortunately, it usually doesn't and isn't. 

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1) Some people call programs like singapore math "new math" because it's not how they were used to doing math.

 

2) Discovery can actually work reasonably well when it's got a good element of drill and is taught by a qualified and knowledgeable teacher. Unfortunately, it usually doesn't and isn't.

Our district has adopted a new textbook and it's supposed to be discovery, lots of discussion, etc. Now, I am sure it can be a good approach but as you mention, most kids will still need drill and a knowledgeable teacher. I personally think too much emphasis is put in students demonstrating understanding by explaining. I just think that they are being asked to do that prematurely, before they have achieved mastery. My 7th grader is not doing well right now in her math class because her class lacks drill and a knowledgeable teacher. I am afterschooling because we have come to the conclusion that she is not getting the instruction she needs. My daughter is receptive but it is unfortunate to have to do this. We are very happy with pretty much all the other classes and teachers, but math is just the subject that seems to have a lot of weak teachers.

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1) Some people call programs like singapore math "new math" because it's not how they were used to doing math.

 

2) Discovery can actually work reasonably well when it's got a good element of drill and is taught by a qualified and knowledgeable teacher. Unfortunately, it usually doesn't and isn't.

This. I actually LIKE the EngageNY middle school materials and the classroom discussions they engender *IF* the students are foundationally strong, the teacher is well-equipped, and a strong spine is available to drill procedural stuff. You're right though, most schools aren't equipped to do this well.

 

Many of DDs 6th grade peers are struggling with basic ratios and unit rates and you can't have a good discussion when half the class isn't solid on the different ways to represent parts of a whole or the relationships between parts/quantities. It's sad. This is a DoDEA school and CCRS is a HUGE step up from what they were doing before but too many of the kids aren't ready for that level of work.

 

I give them credit for trying to raise the bar though because there are much worse things they could be using. The elementary kids are using more traditional materials so maybe things will improve as they move up.

Edited by Sneezyone
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1) Some people call programs like singapore math "new math" because it's not how they were used to doing math.

 

2) Discovery can actually work reasonably well when it's got a good element of drill and is taught by a qualified and knowledgeable teacher. Unfortunately, it usually doesn't and isn't. 

 

I agree, BUT I've heard some crazy things about the implementation of the "new math". I used Singapore with my kids.  I had no idea this was "new math".  I didn't find the methods dumb or strange even though it was different than how I was taught.  But what I've seen and heard about regarding how this plays out in some cases is just crazy.  It's so convoluted that the parents of first graders are reduced to a pile of confusion.  That's ridiculous! 

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I cringe when I hear about this group stuff because my experiences in school groups have been being forced to work with a bunch of people who were at best apathetic towards learning.  The idea behind this is good, but it never worked that way.  I'll take a group filled with people who take extra time to understand stuff any day over a group of people who have no interest in being there or who think learning is stupid.  Nobody can thrive in that kind of situation.  And whoa the student or two who might be interested.  They'd be made fun of.  So if you want to survive that you don't let on that you are interested and act accordingly. 

Edited by SparklyUnicorn
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I wonder how I find out these things before she enrolls?

 

 

 

Ask lots of questions.  The school guidance counsellor should be able to help, or you might be able to find info on the school website. Ask about the school's average ACT/SAT scores and how the students taking AP courses score on the exams.  Also, you probably know or could meet people whose dc have graduated.  If they took AP courses in high school, what did they score on the AP exams?  Did they have extra tutoring?  Find out about their dc's ACT/SAT scores, what math were they placed in as college freshmen, and how they did in that college class.  That's a lot of personal info, but people are often very open about sharing their pleasure or frustration about how their dc have done. 

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I wonder how I find out these things before she enrolls?

 

Public or private school?  If you can't find the info online, you can email a math teacher about the textbooks.

 

For average SAT and AP scores and such, it depends on what you want to know - you can probably find out much more orally from a teacher about a specific AP test than you can find online, but you might want to google "school profile" and site: <insert school website> to see if you can pull up the high school's profile that it provides to colleges, which would have average SAT and ACT scores, GPA distribution, etc.

 

 

FWIW, four of my kids are using Glencoe McGraw Hill Common Core texts for alg, geom, alg 2, at two different schools.  Their teachers don't use the texts for more than the exercises.  Fortunately the math teachers in question all have degrees in math.  I sometimes see worksheets that appear to have been designed by the teachers.  The teachers often add their own notes online.  I'm guessing they feel pressured to meet the CC standards for topic coverage but aren't going to bow to the methods.

 

I bought the hard copies of these texts used on amazon.  It's weird, the online version through the publisher website that some of my kids use is an exact copy of the book pages, kind of like a giant PDF in an e-reader, but the version my dd has on iPad, from iTunes, is a much cleaner electronic format, though she's been told not to bother with the instruction there.  At least for reminders on procedures, in a pinch I pull up the "Study Guide and Intervention" workbooks that are available online for the older, non-common core versions of each of these texts - it's easy to search for the PDFs and print off a page or two.  For more than that, especially when the teaching has veered away from the book coverage, it's possible to google some decent explanations from various math websites (that, and my own giant math text library LOL).

 

At least alg 2 is as far up as common core goes, AFAIK, though I wonder if there are precalc texts that purport to be cc.  Next year for precalc, one of the schools uses Demana.  I don't know about the other one.

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Responding to the OP:

 

I'll tell you how this happens. His teachers got tired of dealing with his parents. The emails kept coming - at least once during the week and a long one to respond to over the weekend. Their complaints about grades and assignments started out as questions, but then the process gets exhausting as the teachers realize that these parents aren't really concerned about junior's education so much as they are concerned about junior's grades. They beg for extra credit after low exam scores. They beg for makeup work as the quarter is closing and junior's grade hasn't quite tipped over into A territory. On and on and on...

 

So I'll tell you how this happened: his parents wore his teachers down. They aren't allowed to ignore emails from parents. They aren't allowed to ignore the calls, and it's hard to ignore the parents when they are standing in your room after school. The teachers can't say what they want to say, "Look, Junior just isn't that bright! What can I tell ya?" Or maybe, "For whatever reason, he's a B/C math student. No matter what he does, it's just never going to change. Just deal with it." Instead junior's teachers either give up their evening and weekends to engage in long and relentlessly repetitive discussions about nothing or they find a way to help junior "earn" a higher grade.

 

After all, some problems just need solutions.

 

Parents who actually want their kid to get better at math are harder to locate than parents who want their kid to get A's in math. I am astounded that parents will work so hard for nothing. It seems like such a cruel thing to do to me as it never ends well.

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

Edited by Janice in NJ
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Kind of terrified I'm sending DS to (supposedly decent) public school for high school. I think at least half his schedule will be dual enrollment at 4 year public uni and private liberal arts college.

Edited by madteaparty

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Kind of terrified I'm sending DS to (supposedly decent) public school for high school. I think at least half is schedule will be dual enrollment at 4 year public uni and private liberal arts college.

No need to be terrified if there is an honors program. There will be a group that does the minimum to stay in, and the disparate impact policy will mean there is a group that will be tutored to stay in. Both of those drag the discussion down, but the rest of the kids learn to speak up if the teacher cant differentiate. Schmoop is their fallback, but you are in an area with a lot of students from households that value education, so your child should have a good core of interested, actively engaged students that actuallt read the lit and do more than the minimum.

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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.

 

Isn't 10 the best you can do on Greatschools? So my question is if a 9 is typical. I'm asking because I assumed my schools are "average" or "typical". They rate a 4 (the one my kids are zoned for) and a 5 (on the "rich" side of town).

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No need to be terrified if there is an honors program. There will be a group that does the minimum to stay in, and the disparate impact policy will mean there is a group that will be tutored to stay in. Both of those drag the discussion down, but the rest of the kids learn to speak up if the teacher cant differentiate. Schmoop is their fallback, but you are in an area with a lot of students from households that value education, so your child should have a good core of interested, actively engaged students that actuallt read the lit and do more than the minimum.

Yes i seem to be in such an area bc a large number of my little DD school friends' parents teach at local uni. I don't know about honors program but tons of AP and tons of DE offered at really inexpensive cost. I don't know how they do placement though, I will chat with them after we have an ACT score. I almost want to enroll DS in high school early so I don't pay for DE full ticket ;)

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Isn't 10 the best you can do on Greatschools? So my question is if a 9 is typical. I'm asking because I assumed my schools are "average" or "typical". They rate a 4 (the one my kids are zoned for) and a 5 (on the "rich" side of town).

A 9 is not "typical" -  I believe a 5 or so is the average score - the Greatschool scores are data driven around test scores and not necessarily the best way to judge the school. You have to read the "Review comments" to get a feel about the institution.

 

My son's current charter is GS rated at 9 but I would give it maybe 7 out of 10.

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Isn't 10 the best you can do on Greatschools? So my question is if a 9 is typical. I'm asking because I assumed my schools are "average" or "typical". They rate a 4 (the one my kids are zoned for) and a 5 (on the "rich" side of town).

 

I see a difference between "typical" and "typical good" - iow, a typical school might not be that great.  Also, I see the GreatSchools rankings as like state tests: scoring well means you are doing well by typical standards, but there's no differentiation in rankings between typically-good and genuinely superior - a high score could mean either.  (And in fact state tests form a large part of GreatSchools' rankings - having an above average ranking means you have above-average state test scores - there's quite a ceiling on measured achievement.)  So an above-average school on GreatSchools has above average state test scores.  And an average scoring school has average state test scores.  Average scores mean typical - but are average scores actually *good*?  (FWIW, one of our local schools is ranked 4 and I considered it a bad sign, although it's possibly due more to its challenging population than how much teachers are teaching.)

 

Here's an article on GreatSchools about "the murky middle" - what average rankings mean and don't mean about the school: http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/what-average-greatschools-ratings-mean/

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Yes i seem to be in such an area bc a large number of my little DD school friends' parents teach at local uni. I don't know about honors program but tons of AP and tons of DE offered at really inexpensive cost. I don't know how they do placement though, I will chat with them after we have an ACT score. I almost want to enroll DS in high school early so I don't pay for DE full ticket ;)

 

In areas where people value education (as I would expect with profs as parents), public education is usually pretty darn good.  If not, they'd (usually) be heading to private schools and you'd know about it.

 

Ask about AP test scores.  Those are usually a decent indicator - as good as you're going to get from high school really.

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Ask about AP test scores. Those are usually a decent indicator - as good as you're going to get from high school really.

My area has very few secular private high schools. People who want secular and can't afford $40k tuition per kid per year would pay up for private AP test prep tutoring. A few agnostic neighbors sent their kids to Catholic high schools because it is much cheaper at less than $20k annum and the school profile still looks good.

 

I was looking at score reports for private schools as it is open house and applications season here. There was an interesting score report from a school where AP scores were scattered for all the AP exams the school offered except for AP Chemistry where almost all have a 4 or 5 with majority getting a 5. I guess the probability of everyone in that school afterschooling chemistry is very low so the AP Chemistry teacher had to be good at at least test prep.

 

There is so much private test prep tutoring going on at the libraries my oldest had pick up stuff (academic and non-academic) just unintentionally eavesdropping.

Edited by Arcadia
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I wonder how I find out these things before she enrolls?

 

And how do I provide all the social opportunities and competitiveness that a junior high/high school has without actually being in the school?

 

sigh sigh

 

 

Talk to new immigrants and do what they do.  I find that immigrant non-white families are intensely meritocratic, and actively search for meaningful educational experiences, whereas native white families are often fairly clueless.   Not that white families are always looking for an easy A, but they are often completely unaware about the uppercrust academic world.  

 

Since I do a lot of math stuff, I find that immigrant parents will approach me with lots of detailed questions about various math competitions, how to prepare, what are the subtle differences between MathCounts and AMCs, and on and on.  White parents often (not always, but often) tend to be hands off and clueless and more driven by their kids' interests.  That is, they don't approach me (or I don't hear from them at all), unless their kids are particularly talented in math.  

 

So if you encounter an immigrant parent, approach them and ask them detailed questions about their schools, what classes to take, what teachers to choose, what extracurriculars to do.  Although they are newcomers to the country, they tend to be more knowledgeable about academic achievement.*  Good luck!  

 

*Again, this is a generalization.  As soon as I write this I can think of numerous counterexamples.

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In areas where people value education (as I would expect with profs as parents), public education is usually pretty darn good.  If not, they'd (usually) be heading to private schools and you'd know about it.

 

Unless there are no private schools.

Here, every prof who does not wish to homeschool or live in the city 100 miles away and commute sends their kids to the one public high school in town. It is decent, but not really good. Only few APs offered, only science AP is chemistry, no foreign language APs.

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Talk to new immigrants and do what they do. I find that immigrant non-white families are intensely meritocratic, and actively search for meaningful educational experiences, whereas native white families are often fairly clueless. Not that white families are always looking for an easy A, but they are often completely unaware about the uppercrust academic world.

 

Since I do a lot of math stuff, I find that immigrant parents will approach me with lots of detailed questions about various math competitions, how to prepare, what are the subtle differences between MathCounts and AMCs, and on and on. White parents often (not always, but often) tend to be hands off and clueless and more driven by their kids' interests. That is, they don't approach me (or I don't hear from them at all), unless their kids are particularly talented in math.

 

So if you encounter an immigrant parent, approach them and ask them detailed questions about their schools, what classes to take, what teachers to choose, what extracurriculars to do. Although they are newcomers to the country, they tend to be more knowledgeable about academic achievement.* Good luck!

 

*Again, this is a generalization. As soon as I write this I can think of numerous counterexamples.

Yes, that is a huge generalization. The sorting here is by the color of money, not what generation of immigrant the parent happens to be. The boarding schools and the Country Day are priced for movie star wealth, or someone who has cashed in on their tech stock and is sponsoring the gc. Religious private day schools abound, but they dont offer a double accel track like the tech, magnet, or wealthy public schools..thats rare, and thats higher tuition. Many of the non wealthy and non title one schools are starved of funding and dont offer academic ecs or allow any of their students to take academic courses thru BOCES.

 

Places you can find clued in caucasians who arent in religious high school include youth orchestra, swim club, fencing club, and rowing, as well as horse activities. They usually buy the missing courses via a tutor or online if they dont use a day placement at a boarding school.

Edited by Heigh Ho

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