A student fails 8th grade if they fail state test?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by webmistress, Jun 3, 2017.

  1. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Hello, my niece is new to Georgia. And basically she did not pass the GA Math state test. I assume it was the CRCT? She has to retake it June 28th. If she doesn't pass it then, then she will have to repeat the 8th grade.
    Her Math classroom grades ranged from C's & D's.
    I believe that she is twice exceptional, Gifted LD (in Math), with possible ADD, sadly her parents don't believe in labels like that, and they never had her tested for anything, despite me, her Elementary teachers, her Elementary assistant principal and the counselor encouraging them to have her tested for attention issues, and they also believe she was Gifted LD.
    That is when she was in 5th grade (in Alabama).

    She did ok in Alabama private school because they spent more time on the material and there was no high stakes testing. She definitely has Math anxiety...and would be crying during Math time and trying to leave the class during Math when she was in 5th grade. Again, no matter how many articles I send them, her parents (dad, mom, and step dad) believe that she is just not trying hard enough and they place all the blame on her...they do not care to learn anything about what it means to be gifted, LD, or have attention span issues, despite what professionals say.

    So basically, she is mentally and emotionally exhausted considering she has a strained relationship with her parents. She has been helping to raise her 2 younger siblings while her mom works. She managed to stay out of trouble and pass everything, except Math.

    Her dad is absent, and he is dying from heart disease--and this is stressful for her as well, yet his response to her failing the state test was to call and cuss her out for 20 minutes and tell her how horrible she is as a daughter.

    Sigh. So she doesn't have the mental strength to nor any parental support to re-take the test, and we certainly don't want her to have to repeat 8th grade. She needs extensive intervention with Math, not just "tutoring" and repeating the 8th grade won't even help her grasp the material since she may have some extreme difficulty going on.

    I was hoping that her mom would consider private school, since she did well in private school in the past. It's like, I am 40 and could not handle so much of my life riding on a single test, and on a test in which the subject makes me want to throw up and having no parental support.

    She has already broken down crying saying her parents can never just say "Good job."

    It's just a very sad situation all around. We (the non-parents) are concerned and have been for years that this Math issue plus her parents lack of willingness to provide help for her...plus all the other issues (divorce, a dad that's terminally ill, a step dad that she has a strained relationship with, plus her mommy issues)...we're concerned that the pressure of this test at the end of June can be too much, as can repeating the 8th grade, that would be devastating especially since she still won't be getting the intervention that she needs.
    She attended a charter school.

    Any thoughts???...Thank you
     
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  3. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I just did an initial evaluation (IEP) for an 8th grader. It was her only hope of passing, because unfortunately there are no protections without that disability label. She has to have the passing grades and passing scores. Here, it's something like the 24th percentile in Reading and Math. Parents resistant to Special Education tend to be a ton more flexible in 3rd, 6th, and 8th when their kid is about to flunk. Let mom and dad know.
     
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  4. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    In Texas, if a kid doesn't pass the third time, a committee meets and decides if a kid can go on to the next grade. Most of the time they pass the kid on so I'm not even sure why they put the kid through the third test.
     
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  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I would check with the school to see what the options are. I bet they could make an exception if the parents agree to have her evaluated for special education at the beginning of next school year (assuming this school year is either over or almost over where you are). There might also be an option for her to take a lower level class just for math next year. I would imagine that many kids are in her situation and IMO there is no way they'll retain all of them.

    My home state (Ohio) has the "3rd grade guarantee" where kids are supposed to be held back if they don't pass the state reading test. Hearing from my family and friends that still teach there, it seems like no one ever really gets retained. There are exceptions for those with IEPs. They also have many chances to retake the test and several teachers have told me that kids "magically" pass over the summer even though they clearly don't have the skills. In some other cases, the child passes on to fourth grade put spends some time in a 3rd grade room for reading class. My state tried to pass a similar "guarantee" and ours is basically watered down to say that it's a parent's decision and retention only has to be "offered as a possible intervention." I would definitely try to meet with the school and ask them what options you have.

    ETA- I missed in the origial post that this is a charter school. That means they don't really have to follow the same rules as everyone else, and I would guess they are less flexible. This may be their way of forcing lower performing kids out (happens at charters in my area). In that case I would also look at the possibility of sending her to her local public high school. If this is some charter rule (the failing 8th grade thing) rather than a state law, the public school would definitely allow her to start in 9th grade. Even if it's some type of state wide law, I think it's worth meeting with the public school and seeing if they have other options or things you can do to make sure she can go to 9th grade.
     
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  6. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Thank you sooo much! What type of things do you consider when evaluating a student?
     
  7. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Very interesting, thank you! They were saying something about if she fails the 2nd time, the parents can appeal..whatever that means.

    ETA: Putting the kids through those tests is torture. I'm 40 and I know I am all tested out and could not imagine ever having to take a test again
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
  8. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    What a blessing to read, thank you for your insight. I have never thought about the fact that indeed, quite a few other students fail and they won't retain them all.

    So I will tell her mom 1)Start with the school counselor to see about the IEP process 2)Find out if this is a charter school only thing and check with public schools to see if it's a state law

    "Even if it's some type of state wide law, I think it's worth meeting with the public school and seeing if they have other options or things you can do to make sure she can go to 9th grade."

    Yesss! I'm so thankful you guys agree on how important it is to not hold a child back this late in the game. Just 4 more years left & it's already a miracle if a kid wants to go to school and not drop out. And more than anything she wants to go to school & graduate.
     
  9. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    They look at academic history, family history, medical history, interventions for anything, etc. It would be very late in the game to do an eval, but legally her parents can demand one within 60 days of request. It's federal law, and has nothing to do with being public, private, or charter.
     
  10. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Yes if her parents had done this earlier like the previous schools suggested.
    Also, her mother called the charter school and the charter school said IEP or not, she has to pass the state test to go to the 9th grade.

    Soooooo only hope is regular public schools I suppose? And definitely private schools would not care about the state test but her mom can't afford private school
     
  11. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Public school will have to take her either way, but it would be ideal not to repeat 8th grade. In Math, if she can even drill and kill some number sense concepts, that might help. This area could carry her.
     
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  12. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    "but it would be ideal not to repeat 8th grade."
    Yes Lord, this is stressful. Her mom called a public school today and no one answered...it's summer afterall. I found the school online, I almost feel like contacting the principal and explaining everything. Of course I'm not going to do that, but if it gets down to the wire, she will just about collapse if she has to repeat.

    One time I was tutoring her in Math, and she literally forgot how to subtract 4-2. She was in 5th grade and struggling with basic concepts so I went all the way back to the primary concepts and realized my poor baby completely forgot how to subtract
     
  13. GPC0321

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    That's definitely a lot for a kid to deal with. Bless her heart.
    Proud public high school teacher here, and while I understand the anxiety and devastation of failing 8th grade, I also tend to envision four more years of this poor child struggling. Once she reaches high school, the lack of math skill will affect more than just math class. Business classes, science classes, and any other tech courses that require mathematics and/or geometry would be affected as well.
    Having basic math skills, like having basic reading comprehension skills, is the foundation upon which the rest of one's education is built.

    That said, if holding her back in 8th grade isn't an option, there needs to be some serious investigation into getting her some intensive help with her math. If a public high school is on the horizon, check and see if they have remedial math of some sort for kids like her who weren't able to pass the 8th grade math test. Because if she gets to 9th grade and is put in a high school level math class, that's just going to be a continuation of the stress she's already dealing with.

    I'm not a math teacher, but I hear my colleagues lamenting the fact that they can't get their students to score well on their state assessments because they come into high school without basic math skills. I can relate. I'm supposed to have students reading and analyzing complex literary and informational texts and completing sophisticated writing assignments, and many of them read on about a 5th grade level and can barely write a decent sentence. But I'M the one who is pegged as not doing my job if these kids aren't proficient on a state test.

    Find out of any decent public high schools in the area offer summer programs where she can get help with the math before entering as a freshman in the fall. Or maybe contact some homeschooling groups/parents in your area to get suggestions on programs she could do at home to help. Because the bottom line is, if she doesn't somehow get these fundamental math skills in place, high school is going to be a major struggle for her.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Drill and kill doesn't develop number senxe. It may produce recall of facts, but it won't help a student understand quantities and relationship between our labels of quantity.
     
  15. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    If she needs that level of intervention, then she needs to be with a private tutor with specific training in math instruction and intervention. While I do not usually recommend Sylvan or other tutoring centers to parents, this is the kind of situation where Sylvan actually excels. They start each skill wherever the kid is, and then move them up gradually as they master the skill. Its great for filling in gaps, like the kind that are causing her to struggle.
     
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  16. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Of course not....but the reality is, we're trying to pass a test in a very short amount of time. We can't be worried about conceptual understanding right now. She needs to pass.
     

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