Criteria for taking advanced courses?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by 2ndTimeAround, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Apr 30, 2014

    Does your school have any basic criteria for taking advanced courses? My district does not. If parents want to sign their children up for advanced courses they can, despite what a teacher recommends. Parents can also ignore prerequisites.

    As a result our "honors" classes are filled students that struggle and parents expect teachers to fill in the gaps so Little Susie can keep her straight A average, or heaven forbid, keep her from earning a C or D.

    Because students are coddled in our middle schools and because parents can either ignore prerequisites or have kids take them online, we see a lot of freshmen in advanced 10th and 11th grade classes. Freshmen that lack the experience and maturity to handle the courses. And freshmen mommies that expect us to dumb down the courses or do a lot of hand-holding like they're used to.

    This also means that our non-advanced courses are filled with nothing but below average students. No average kids to model what concern for a grade is like. No one to model what doing homework looks like, etc. And way too many children with IEPs and 504s in one classroom.
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Our district is open-enroll for honors classes. It drives me nuts. I teach in a gifted magnet program (with fairly stringent requirements), and even with third graders, I see the negative consequences of parents pushing their kids too hard. I'm so glad I don't teach middle or high school, because from what I've heard, honors classes are basically a joke, usually with identical syllabi to the non-honors course.
     
  4. Linzi

    Linzi Rookie

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    Same thing in our school. It seems like sometimes our guidance department doesn't always get our needs. It seems like they don't encourage enough to take the honors classes who should, but at the same time let a bunch into honors classes that are getting Ds and Fs in the previous class (I'm science so they don't have to pass one to move to another necessarily), also all my IEP students seem to always be in the same class (which thankfully hasn't been a totally overwhelming number so far, although I know teachers in other departments who have really been overwhelmed). Thankfully at my site I don't know about any freshmen taking 2nd or 3rd year classes.

    I wish our school was better at communication between guidance and the departments.
     
  5. bros

    bros Phenom

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    In my HS, if you did poorly on a 5th grade test, you were automatically excluded from all but 6 AP classes.

    With Honors Classes, you had to either be in the previous honors-level class and have an 85 average for the year, or be in the regular level of the previous class, have a 90 average for the year, and a teacher recommendation.
     
  6. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    We could be at the same school.
     
  7. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Why should it be the responsibility of students to model good behavior for others? Shouldn't "average" kids get put into honors classes so honors kids are the model for them by that logic?
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Parents can override recommendations of teachers. Sometimes it works well for the student and sometimes it does not.

    I know many parents in my district push kids into higher level classes for several reasons. First, the students in advanced classes are more often better behaved. Second, the content in the lower level classes is so watered down the students really don't learn much except for math which has a more controlled and objective curriculum. Third, these classes are the only way the students have any hope of seeing expectations closer to college level.

    I believe the parents are looking for ways for their children to get additional help to help close the gap between their present levels of performance to where parents know the kids need to be in order to pursue education after high school. They know the kids aren't getting what they need in the lower level classes and won't if they stay there.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It's not their "responsibility," but it does make life easier.
     
  10. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Wow, that's really upsetting.
     
  11. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    From grade 8 to grade 9, parents have the ultimate decision. Teachers let the high school guidance department know if they don't agree with the choice and the high school keeps that information on file to remind parents of should there be problems down the road. After grade 9, prerequisites must be met.
     
  12. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Yeah, it was pretty odd.

    If you got advanced proficient LAL on the test in 5th grade, in 6th grade you were allowed to choose a foreign language to take in 7th & 8th grade (otherwise you took spanish once a week, where the itinerant Spanish teacher would come into the English classroom).

    This allowed you to take AP Spanish, Italian, or English in HS.

    If you got advanced proficient Math in the test in fifth grade, in seventh you were put in pre-algebra and a higher level science, in 8th grade, you took Algebra 1 and Earth Science. Then by your senior year of HS, you were eligible to take AP Calculus, AP Biology/Physics/Chemistry
     
  13. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Technically students/parents have the final say, but we conference with students and parents to encourage them in the right direction. It works pretty well here.
     
  14. Glühwürmchen

    Glühwürmchen Rookie

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    My school mostly works off teacher recommendations. A parent can use a parent-overide if they disagree, but that's really rare. Even then, they wouldn't let a kid take something they're completely unprepared for.

    There are very few kids taking advanced classes at my school who don't belong there. When there are, they end up dropping the class quickly. They know that the teachers won't ease up on their standards. 40% of my AP World History class dropped it freshman year.
     

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