I hate to have to do this, but....

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Caesar753, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Jan 13, 2013

    I say, success breeds success. As long as you point out to those students that end up doing the work and passing with a C or above or showing students that are failing that are now making progress that the two are hand in hand, I think you are on the right track.

    I get tired of hearing the mantra that in the real world blah, blah, blah as a reason to not give second chances or to look at a situation and implement a method, albeit not the first chosen, that will allow the students to actually succeed in the curriculum because if that method of giving them zeros isn't changing the behavior you then end up with students who haven't learned the academic material AND students that didn't learn from having the method of zeros shoved down their throats. It isn't as if failing them again will produce a different result.

    If everyone needed exactly the same thing then there would be 1 manual written and all society would have to do is implement it and all would fall in place and be successful. That would actually mean that no one was really successful because everyone would be at the same level. In our society that isn't success.

    I say you are doing the right thing given the situation you are given. First and foremost, the job is the teacher is to teach AND HAVE STUDENTS LEARN the standards. Your students just need a different method than the old punish with grades method. I expect most don't care about the grades so that carrot/stick doesn't work.

    I'm sure someone will complain at some point about your nagging. Just be sure to make that connection for them too. You wouldn't have to be telling them again if it was done when initially expected or the 3 other times they were told previously. I use this one at home too when I take the heat for a nag. It seems to do the trick after being used a few times. I end up with a point taken comment.
     
  2. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Jan 13, 2013

    therein lies the problem...at the school I teach, nothing really happens. They go to summer school or credit recovery and do the "work" on the computer. These "tests" of mastery allow them to do each question multiple times, record the answer, move on to the next question, repeat, until they are finished. It's sad and many of the students find this to be an easier option than working throughout the year and will admit to this as their strategy for getting their math credits.

    I feel sorry for the P, she is under pressure to meet a bogus graduation rate that has been inflated by previous administrations using this system. She is caught in a moral and ethical dilemma of sorts. I wish she would do away with the credit recovery and let the graduation rate be real. I think it would give some of these kids incentive to do the work during the school year. i am of the opinion that most of the kids who earned F's are capable of doing the work.

    I just recorded my first semester grades. In one particular subject, about 25% of students in 3 classes received failing grades for the semester. In my other two areas, the % of students who did not pass was about 5%.

    I do not know if anything will be said about this. I am curious as this is just my second year teaching. We are a very small school and I know she (the P) knows these students (and their abilities) fairly well.

    "Credit recovery" did not exist a long time ago when I was in HS and summer school was to be avoided at all costs.I am curious as to what happens to the kids who fail in your school?
     
  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 13, 2013

    I get where you're coming from, NC. I just don't think Caesar is babying her student...maybe she's showing them the redemptive power of a second chance, of someone believing in them, yet still holding expectations of them.
     
  4. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jan 13, 2013

    When you collect work, have you tried having the missing ones sign some sort of statement saying..."I did not turn in page 47 today" ?

    This probably will not get more done, however, it does show parents/admin that the student was aware and made the choice.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 13, 2013

    Someone mentioned the status quo. The status quo at my school is that the teacher assigns work, the students don't do it, the students fail. That is and has been the status quo since the school opened up. It has been the status quo in my own classroom until this year. This year I decided that I needed to change something. I brainstormed and came up with a million different ideas that I thought might work. I scrutinized every one of them, posted about many of them here and asked for feedback, and tossed them out when I realized that they were too time-consuming or not effective enough (or for some other reason). The idea left standing was the idea of notifying students at regular and frequent intervals of their late work. To me, this seemed like a fairly easy thing to do--print some stuff out, cut slips apart, hand out slips, revel in the glory of piles and piles of late work turned in. I don't see it as coddling. I am the last person who wants to coddle students, especially high school students. My professional motto has always been "Never do for a student what he can do for himself." The issue here is that my students have been unable to do for themselves. They haven't gotten their work done. They have performed poorly in class. I don't see what I'm doing as anything in any sort of moral or ethical grey area. I see it as simply finding a new path towards the goal that I'm trying to achieve.

    And if we want to bring the "real world" argument into it, here it is. In the real world, it's true that deadlines are important. It's also true that in most cases, if you ask for help you will get it. I want my students to learn that it's okay to need help, it's okay to ask for it, and it's okay to not be perfect. As long as they are always working towards a solution, as long as they are always willing to try to improve, I will call that a success and I will be pleased with them. Those things are true in the real world as well. I should also point out that if students fail high school and don't even manage to get a diploma, the odds of them getting any sort of worthwhile "real world" job are pretty slim. Therefore helping my students find a way to simply pass high school is a very immediate concern.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 13, 2013

    I have actually thought about that but it would be too time-consuming for me to do with any regularity.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 13, 2013

    :thumb:
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Jan 13, 2013

    1. Yes, it would be great if students got to the point where they were turning in assignments on time. Those that now turn the work in with the constant slip reminders must have a reason for not turning the work in on time. What to each of them say? Now that you have some buy in (at least they are turning in the work at some point), you may have somewhat of a relationship there that you can talk judgment free to determine why the behavior exists. You may be surprised at some of the answers.

    2. Yes, if they need more time, they need more time, but will reducing the grades for late work really force them into turning it in or learning faster. Do you want to penalize them for not learning as quickly? Some people do believe that grades should be based on being able to learn the material most completely and the fastest. I don't subscribe to that, but much of our society does since it is all about a competition, even education.

    3. What's the point for the students that turn in the work the first time? Well, for them it is done and out of the way. It isn't still hanging over their heads. Some people don't like to be behind. It is more part of who they are than what others might do to them if it doesn't get done. The notion that people get nothing from doing a task the right way the first time unless there is a reward is thinking from a punishment mindset. The reward is internal to the person. It makes them happy with themselves or more comfortable in their situation. They probably like it that way or feel that practicing what they are learning helps them. Otherwise, all of those kids that were turning in work on-time would now be handing it in late. Sometimes for people it isn't the grade being doled out (or the punishment that comes along with a task undone or not done thoroughly enough) that causes a behavior.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 13, 2013

    The assignments are meant to be practice so that students can be successful on their assessments. If they wait too long to do those assignments, then they don't get the valuable practice they need before the tests and they end up scoring low. It's a vicious circle that needs to stop.

    I have always had an open, judgment-free relationship with most of my classes and students. I know why most of them don't turn in their work. It's because they don't see it as valuable. They have "better things to do". It's not just my class that they view this way. It's school in general. To them, it's more worthwhile to spend time with friends, to go to movies, to play sports than it is to do schoolwork. They have a very narrow view of the world and are unwilling or unable to understand that sometimes we do things now so that later, much later, we will be successful. It's all about immediate gratification. That's the culture of poverty.
     
  10. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Feb 4, 2013

    I don't believe it will get you hurt...that is what they want you to believe. Don't ever give up on the pursuit of excellence. You will pay a different price for that. Look around, there's plenty of examples of people who go through the motions (some of your colleagues, some of your students, some of the people who check you out at the grocery or "assist" you at WalMart or takes your phone call at the hotel reservation desk...etc.) Is that what you aspire to? (I know it isn't, just a rhetorical question). Most people do give up, it's "easier" that way. But no one who does that achieves peace of mind imo. Better to be frustrated than to give up. Keep fighting the good fight.
     
  11. I<3Math!

    I<3Math! Rookie

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    Feb 5, 2013

    I have this problem now! I'm currently doing a maternity leave for a sixth grade math class and these students are absent for the simplest things. A toothache, dry skin, runny nose. You name it. They're absent for it. With absences come the dread battle of making them make up the missing work so I don't have to put a 0 in the grade book and have a crazed parent emailing me abut how their child had a A- last marking period but now they have a C. Which leads me to my other issues.

    These students are babied so much that it blows my mind. I'm not one to constantly make excuses for other people so I don't understand it and I feel as though I'm starting to become known as 'the mean teacher.' If I give do a review, give you a study guide, offer extra help and you still manage for miserably fail a test because you didn't study, how is that my fault? Not to mention that the teacher I am in for only uses worksheets and PowerPoints in her class, and I love using technology and manipulatives/group activities, etc. I feel like I'm not able to really teach how I want because I'm so busy trying to keep up her routine. Please help.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 8, 2013

    An update:

    After implementing this system with fidelity for a year, I can say that I'm pleased with the results. It was a fairly easy and straightforward system that didn't require a tremendous amount of effort on my part. The payoff was worthwhile: my assignment compliance rates were through the roof. Missing assignment averages were at 1-2 per student (out of about 30 assignments) per marking period, compared to years past when it was more like 5-6 per student.

    I do plan to implement at least one change for next year. I will require all students to attach a Late Assignment Form to any work turned in past the due date. This will require students to explain why their work is late and will give me some documentation to prove to parents or admin that, indeed, the work was turned in late.

    I did end up assigning a penalty for work turned in late: 25% off (max score 75%). I think I will probably continue doing that next year.

    One thing I am trying to figure out is what to do about incomplete assignments. Initially this year I just gave the work back to students and told them to finish and resubmit. At the beginning of the second semester, I just started taking off points: 50% max score for incomplete work. I really don't know what a good policy would be. On the one hand, I don't think it's fair that someone who didn't complete an assignment should get that assignment returned to them with a second chance to do it without penalty, when someone else who turned it in late gets points off. On the other hand, I want them to complete the work. On the third hand, maybe they should get an automatic F right off the bat for not doing their work. I don't know.

    Suggestions? Feedback?
     
  13. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    Jun 8, 2013

    Perhaps you should add a stipulation to turning in late work on the syllabus - "must be completed or work will be graded as a zero."

    They have plenty of time to finish the work since it's late, so it's not an outrageous request. You're doing them a favor by letting them turn work in late in the first place.
     
  14. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jun 8, 2013

    I usually hand back incomplete work and they can turn it in the next day for a late grade. If only a small part is left undone, I might accept it and take off points for the incomplete part.
     
  15. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jun 9, 2013

    Caesar, I did something this year for the first time that seemed to work. I thought of it on the fly, which usually doesn't work out exactly as planned, lol. But no problems with it yet.

    When a student submitted something that was incomplete, I handed it back to him and told him to redo the assignment and turn it in the next day. He had feedback on what was wrong/missing. I told him he would get the average of the two grades, with a max of a 77. That way, students who wanted to work the system and get extra time on the assignment, wouldn't turn in something partially done.

    I liked the results I got. The students felt like I was on their side and I had grades in the gradebook.
     
  16. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jun 12, 2013

    Great discussion here! I have always had a policy of an automatic 60% on late work and a grade lower each day a major project is late. I also hand out homework passes on a regular basis - usually two per marking period. The pass allows a student to turn in an assignment (other than a project) one day late without penalty. We have tough groups coming up the next two years - though I hope some maturity will happen between 7th and 8th grade - and I am seriously considering a zero tolerance. Hand it in or get a zero. The high school we feed into has a zero tolerance policy. They also do not allow test corrections. Most of us do allow test corrections for 1/2 credit or allow them to make corrections with notes and then retake a similar test with the higher of the two grades counting.

    The high school teachers are not happy with us doing that because the kids get over there and are shocked that they can't retake the test or correct it. I have mixed feelings, though I do allow test corrections for 1/2 credit and they must be returned the next day.

    I have a no extra-credit policy. I tell the parents and kids that if they can't get the original work done, what sense does it make to give even more work? I do have extra-credit questions on tests, so they have a chance to gain a few points.

    This is just such a hard situation to deal with. The kids are more and more enabled and at the same time more and more of them are coming from such horrible home situations, it is surprising they even show up for school.

    As I said, good discussion here. I have many things to ponder based on the posts.
     

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