Thursday, June 4, 2015

25 Point Curve

Today is the last day with children. Tomorrow is my last day of "work" for sweet summertime. 

And today, you're getting a true life story of a teacher. 

I've had this challenge class all year long. And I will not lie, I am kind of happy to see them go. They are the low of the low. One repeater of 7th grade, 10 special ed, and a whole lot of excuses of why they cannot learn.

I got through most of the curriculum with them. We had to take it so slow that I had to cut some pieces out. Some people think I am wrong for even doing that, but when I am literally working on 8 times 4 is 32, there is no way I can get them read a circle graph, add up the totals for the circle graph, set up a proportion, and solve it using 8 times 4. While we worked on all of those things separately, you put it together in a word problem and I have made their brains shut down.

We've worked on being successful in whatever we do this year. Small success stories has been our key. 

When my big state test results came back, I was not surprised only 5 of them passed. It actually exceeded my expectation of four. Do you know how hard it is to tell a 13 year old they got 12 problems correct out of 54? Or even worse is the you missed passing by two questions. They'll act like they don't care or they might even think it's funny at the time.... but they care. 

They care because no one likes being told they're a failure. 

I work so hard all year to create a culture of "we're not there yet." It is the entire premise of standards based grading. I do not expect each kid to learn it exactly when I teach it the first time, so if you haven't mastered it... it is ok.. we will try again. You are just not there YET. You will get there. You put in the effort and you will be successful. And then this big bad test comes once a year and tears down everything I have done for the last 10 months and says "Nope. You are a failure."

So, I pulled the easy questions from our test bank and created a final. The highest score? 65. The lowest score? 24. But if I would have given them that test in the beginning of the year, I bet my highest score would have been in the 30s. So yes, I curved my final 25 points. 

Not because the final was too hard, not because I want my students to fail... but because they just are not there yet. 

Tomorrow will be a happy summer post, I promise. Today is a tired teacher defending her actions post.

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