Thursday, February 17, 2011

In terms of grading

I give myself a treat every so often, like the one above, too.

Several weeks ago, I caught a glimpse of Dept. Chair's grade book on her monitor and was kind of shocked to notice that over a third of one of her classes were getting Fs. She had more F's in one class than I had F/D students in ALL my classes.

I thought it was me - I didn't organize my class rigorously enough, I was being too easy on students, I wasn't properly teaching them.

But I knew that can't be right - at least not completely. I require a lot out of my students. They need to have excellent math syntax, they need to use the vocab correctly, they have a lot of homework, and their tests are the same as Dept. Chair's tests.

Still, it didn't occur to me that something else was going on until I had my mid-year review with my principal. He said that I was among only three 7th/8th grade math teachers with low D/F numbers. Which, to him, is a good thing. He didn't think I was being any less rigorous with grading and academic expectations, but there wasn't a lot of other commentary on it either.

So I took some time to analyze it myself. Here's the break down:

Algebra 1
Period 1: 1 F only, out of 35 students. This kid was absent for an entire week. I have every confidence that he'll catch up.

Period 2: 2 Ds only, out of 33 students. Both students do well on tests, however they have refused to turn in any sort of homework assignment since the first week of the 3rd quarter. I attribute their grade to their own choices, which are well deserved, especially since I allow late work and have been reminding both of them to turn in their stuff.

Period 6: 1 D only, out of 32 students. Kid was absent for a week and a half; is catching up and I'm making sure of it.

Algebra Readiness
Period 3: 1 D+ only, out of 33 students. Also due to many absences. Future absences predicted, since mother informed me this kid has a high chance of being in and out of the hospital in the near future. Preparing material for student's independent study.

Period 4: 3 Fs and 2 Ds, out of 33 students. 2 of the Fs have been getting themselves suspended every other week since January. 1 of the Fs has been in school only on Fridays - literally, her other teachers and I now call her Our Girl Friday - since December. Both Ds are boys being distracted with everything under the sun - with girls, with drama, with girls, with the fact that they won't be at this school next year, with girls, with rivalry with other boys, with girls, etc. Have yet to find a solution outside of suggesting to their parents to send them to a monastery, which may not even work that well for these two gentlemen.

Me thinks it to be fair and awesome, if my two classes with the solo Ds can pull themselves up and out, to reward them with a treat for working hard and letting the hard work pay off. Perhaps brownies would be suitable.

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