Thursday, October 15, 2009

great success! errr maybe not...

I gave a test last week and many students failed. I am very against giving extra credit work and I won't let the kids take the test home and fix it for credit either, because I know most of them will just copy answers. But I did tell them I would give another test this week on the same material with different questions. I gave them one week to relearn the material on their own and give it another shot.

Last year I offered a makeup test only once. Out of 40 failing students, two came and both failed again. I expected similar results this time. Yet today, out of about 30 students, nine came. And even better, out of the nine students that failed originally, five now passed. And better yet, of those that passed, one got an 80 and the other four got high 90s! These kids increased their averages by at least 20 points! I'm really proud of them and am glad that I have five more kids on board with me in class. And of course, success breeds success so I look forward to an upward trend with these kids.

I will consider giving make up tests more often because I don't care if it takes the students a second chance to get it right, nor if they come to rely on the make up as a crutch. The bottom line is that they have to learn the material and pass the Regent's and if this is an incentive for them to study on their own, so be it.

Now for the non-success... four of my former students, now 10th graders, stopped by my classroom after school. They were bored and when they saw I was giving a test, they wanted in on it. They claimed they would ace the exam. So I gave them one test and let the four of them group together outside the classroom and take it together.

I heard them murmuring... "slope.... i think you have to subtract something..." and "product... what's that?" Guess I didn't teach them well enough last year for them to retain the information!!! After 20 minutes the four boys handed me the exam and asked me to grade it. Even with all their collaboration, they scored a............ drumroll............ 63%!!!!! I totally reamed them for getting their butts kicked by more than half the 9th graders in the room. They told me they're going to come back and take more of my tests because they need to prove to me they know what they're doing! whatever floats their boat... but i personally love to see students who actually take an interest in academics. it's so refreshing!

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