Q&A #5103

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Grading policy

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From: Valerie Friedly

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2006081502:47:46
Subject: Re: Re: Grading: consider the political implications or don't get everyone mad at you!

> After teaching for 10 years in U.S. high schools, the first lesson I >learned was: Grades need to be based up effort, based upon what the >political situation in you system demands, and based upon what you >need to do to get the kids on your side. . . . I do not teach math to "get the kids on my side", they know when they are learning or when the teacher is wasting their time. Your assumptions have the following flaws. 1) They don't teach objective content( "warm and fuzzy" is the motto), I have taught standards based mathematics for 8 years. One would not describe my classroom as "warm and fuzzy" 2) The content is non-traditional ( >e.g, eliminate two-column proofs and usually de facto nearly all >proofs in geometry) My curriculum stands up to any college entrance exam 3) They teach "Honor" kids and the AP students. I taught in the inner city. The freshmen that came to me had spent the past 3 years in what the state of Colorado called a failing school. the usual statement to me is "No offence Miss, but I hate math". Not your typical "honor" student. 4)>They have taught at the school for many years (usually 20+) and can >get away with a lot of things teachers in their first 3 years can not. From my second year of teaching on I have been tough, if you do not understand all of the material, you are not ready to pass. Many did not, but those that do had my support the whole way. Instead of using my efforts to "get them on my side", I work with them every way I can to make up for their inefficiencies in math. The parents support my efforts. They only want what is best for their children. What they want is an education. >5) They have decieved themselves and thus inflate the grades like >hell. See above. In closing, I would like to encourage all teachers that are struggling to keep their standards high. It can be done! The students need to see their own success, but they need to see real success. When they realize that I am in the fight with them, it is amazing what they will do for me. Valerie Friedly

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