Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, Aug 19, 2014.
Aug 19, 2014
Yay or nay?
Are we just going to hold back the third graders?
One test on one day should never result in a student of any age being retained, and in my opinion, doing so should be considered criminal.
No, not at the 3rd grade level.
Now, I do believe that if you have entire classes, schools or districts where the majority of the 3rd graders are passing their classes but failing proficiency exams; then there are other problems at work that need to be addressed. Still, if the teachers feel that an ELEM child is ready to move onto the next grade and have other data to back this up, then I don't think failing a standardized test should stop that.
I also believe that at the HS level; there should be some type of exam/standardized test (or alternative project) that students' have to pass as a requirement to get credit for the course (but only the courses needed to graduate). But this is not so much about year-to-year retention because if you fail a class you have to retake it anyway; this is about graduating.
The state of North Carolina thinks this should happen. I adamantly disagree.
I don't think that this is a good solution, because what are you going to do when those kids do a second year of third grade and still don't pass? I think a better alternative would be putting those kids in an intensive remedial class for the next year, with really low class sizes and a curriculum that is designed to catch them up.
They used to do this in Texas. I don't think I had a kid held back by the state test. I did have one boy held back by dad even though he did pass the test. He did much better socially, academically the next year, but at least a parent decided that instead of a test.
The problem is that you will have kids with average to great grades, kids who do not need intensive remedial help based on their teachers' assessments/observations, but the child still cannot pass the state exam (this is very common here, especially at the secondary level). Many kids failing state exams are not failing in school.
So unless these remedial classes are really nothing more than intensive test prep classes; they may not be the solution.
I guess this would be really more what it was, then. I don't like it, but I still think a remedial class would be a viable alternative. As long as these tests -the- way that students, teachers, and schools are going to be graded, it makes sense to teach the kids how to take them. If a remedial class needs to be a test-taking course, then that's what it would be.
I am totally against standardized tests for just the reasons you describe, anyway, but what's the point at all if they are not used to guide instructional decisions?
Ok; I thought you meant the kid should be put in an intensive remedial program that would be similar to a child being in all gifted classes or an Advanced program.
I guess you're suggesting that the kid gets a daily test prep class. I'm sure this class would have to take the place of the child's Resource class since the child can't (shouldn't) miss ELA, math, science, social studies for a test prep course.
No. Research goes against it. Tutoring and other interventions have shown to be more effective.
Aug 20, 2014
I agree. Is there any research that says retaining a child is beneficial?
And what if they've already been retained once before? What if they can never pass it-if they spend another year in 3rd Grade and still can't pass?
I think something like this has to be examined on a case by case basis. Have they been making progress? Could this be a learning disability holding them back?
Welcome to Ohio.
States may threaten to do this, but it will never happen. Either they will fake the holding them back...putting them in a 3-4 combo class, making them periodically retake the 3rd grade test, and then magically be in the 4th grade side of the combo and never really having been held back, or they will lower the standard so that virtually every student without an IEP will pass the test.
I'm being thrown with the "Still" in the above comment because in the scenario presented where most kids are passing the class but failing the exam, I could see the teacher justifying that many of the students need to move on.
What other data would be credible? We could say teacher experience and opinion, but a teacher with most of the kids failing the standardized test we might want to question opinion, especially in a district or in a sequence of schools where those "passing students" still lacked many skills in higher grades.
Experience has shown me that sometimes what one teacher thinks is acceptable and doing well is not really accurate.
I'd like to know how this research could possibly even exist. The measurements don't make any sense.
"Hey, this kid is doomed to fail in school, which of our solutions will stop that from happening?"
How does one measure that? Grades? Tests? Social skills? It is all nonsense.
As a 7th grade teacher I can say that pushing a kid along who has not master lower level skills does them no good in secondary ed and contributes incredibly to the drop out rate.
What I was trying to say is:
1. There are entire schools (sometimes it is a district-wide issue) where kids pass classes with decent to good grades, but these same kids cannot pass state exams. Why? What's going on here? Working in a district like this; I have my own ideas ...
2. At the ELEM level, if a teacher feels that the student is ready to move onto the next grade and they have their own data (whatever it may be) to back their decision up; then the child should move on. Failing one test shouldn't prevent the child from moving on.
I guess I am jaded having seen systematic manipulation of grades and teacher's "own" data. My concern is the "whatever it may be" doesn't not give a more objective indication of student ability.
I think we have had this conversation in terms of student portfolios before. The same holds true with "whatever it may be". I'm not trying to fight, I just see things a bit differently and am also trying to make my point (not that you came across as fighting either - just want to clarify).
I've heard excuses being made for low data of all types and why the student actually has more skills than the data shows. Very often it is that the student has some skills that are high and basic skills that are low so the leaning is toward the good skills with the belief that somehow in the higher grades when the basics are never worked on again that the student will magically "pick them up". That rarely happens.
We always have these conversations and what it really comes down to is retention doesn't work in the current model because the needs of the individual student is rarely considered and truly addressed (even in special education for mild disabilities). Until then, retention nor passing on will never work.
I see this fail if you don't pass as a push to make schools look more closely at the individual student's needs. With this said, I don't think any method will fix the problem because the problem is with understanding how to help students who struggle. Until schools really embrace that and understand that there is no one solution, retention or passing on won't work.
Ha yes! This is the first year it goes into effect, right?
I teach 8th grade, and retention is not taken lightly at my school. I have one student who was retained last year (and I will have him again this year), and this is the first student I have heard of in a LONG time being retained. He consistently failed every one of his classes (despite intervention), he is socially immature (all of his friends are younger), and his mother wants him to be retained. Even the student said that it would probably be best if he were held back.
Although I do believe that early literacy is extremely important and necessary for future success, I don't think retention is the way to go. More funds should be put into intervention programs for those struggling students, rather than just having them repeat the grade. What happens if they're held back and still don't pass?
Florida does it in 3rd. Teachers can offer a student portfolio to help prevent that decision, though.
Students with slow processing speed, though not identified as LD, also had a hard time passing the FCAT.
The whole thing is ridiculous.
I know that in TX, 5th and 8th are the big retention grades if students do not pass the state assessment. Of course parents and the school can disagree with that and promote them through a grade placement committee. I think 3rd grade is too early to let a test determine whether or not they are promoted.
Back around 2002ish, Texas did have that rule for third, but it was just reading. I'm glad they got rid of it.
Aug 21, 2014
I never see the benefit in simply repeating the same grade in the same setting. If nothing is different, why should they improve?
I like that our district sends "retained" students to a special intervention program, where they're regarded as repeating 8th graders, but actually attend the High School in a special program with smaller class sizes and more individual access to learning.
I remember that now. I was still in college at that time and remember the discussions.
Having tiered reading classes is something I know my elementary school did, mostly because I was one of two who was a group. Having a 3rd grade reading group in the 4th grade classroom is probably the best option.
In Indiana, third graders who don't pass the test (given in mid-March, results back within a couple weeks) are given "intensive remediation" (this is open to interpretation by the schools) and then retested at some point over the summer. Students with IEP's, ELL students, and those who have already been retained twice can be exempted from the retention requirement. Those who do not pass the second time are required to be given grade level instruction in reading the following school year (with additional intervention and support), not retained outright. What this looks like again depends on the school. I believe they are tested again at some point during the year.
The only students I've ever had NOT pass have been students with IEPs, so we haven't had to figure out what that would look like here.
I always felt it was pretty obvious why middle on level students that are doing fine in school fail state exams. The curriculum does not match the exam. I say on level because the gifted students are well gifted and the low students are struggling in regular classes.
You have a curriculum where the teacher teaches things in chunks one concept at a time throughout the year. Then in a period of three days they are expected to remember everything at once in often much high level order thinking. Not to mention the wording is designed to be as tricky as possible. You should teach high ordered thinking, however if you have a class who is really struggling with a topic you won't have time to reach that level of bloom's taxonomy. You only have so much time to cover what you need to cover and i've always been told at some point you simply HAVE to move on.
Most will say well if you taught it fine then they should remember it but honestly it just doesnt work that way - speaking from an elem level. They are 7-11 years old. You can teach the unit and have say 85% of your class pass proficiently and then bomb the questions on the standardized test. It happens everywhere all the time. Now if you have a whole grade level fail the test then obviously something went wrong on your side but having those students who seem to do well in the classroom setting fail a standardized test really is not all that hard to find.
When you go for your job interview no one asks if you passed your test. Heck they dont even care about your SAT scores. Some look at GPA but nearly all jobs look at experience, networking, and building relationships for positive references.
1. I think one should spiral content. I never teach a concept and then leave it behind. I think it is better to teach a concept, then comeback to it many/several times throughout the year and add depth to it.
2. This may just be semantics, but teachers should never "cover" topics.
I'm not sure what you mean by #2 every teacher is required to cover the topic according to their standards. Perhaps the word "teach" would make you feel better but I think its quite obvious what I meant.
As I said it may just be semantics. Many teachers however, do believe that they are to cover topics, when it really should be students are going to learn those topics.
I know many teachers who cover a concept and move on, whether students have learned it or not. They take pride in "covering" everything in the book....
I don't think I have "covered" every standard in my 9 years of teaching in one year.
I like what your district does, too. I wish we had something like that, but we don't. In my student's case, I think what will be different will be him. He has a lot of maturing to do, and he needs to start taking school seriously. He's a good kid (I actually requested to have him again), but he needs to get his priorities straight.
I don't like holding kids back, btw. Not advocating for it. But I do think there needs to be consequences for older students not meeting expectations. Third grade is far too young to punish them for not passing tests.