Elementary versus Secondary Success

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pashtun, May 19, 2015.

  1. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    May 19, 2015

    Where I work we "hear" that many student who have gotten A's at the elementary level will suddenly get F's at the secondary level.

    This has made me think about who and how this happens. right now I am thinking that at the elementary level we have many students who are "smart" yet consistently do very little work. However, these students are still able to get good grades, at times, even As, due to how easy the standards are.

    I envision, conferences with parents going something like this:

    teacher: your child is failing, they produce very little of the required work, they have extremely poor study skills, and are severely lacking academic behaviors.

    parent: I am completely confused and do not understand!, Jimmy has gotten honor roll at "blank elementary school" every year.

    Is there truth to what I am thinking?

    I feel I need to do a better job preparing parents of "smart" students with very poor academic behaviors, that the end is coming in secondary.
     
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  3. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Couldn't tell you. When I say those things, I get:

    A. "Oh.... ok, thanks for telling me."
    B. "Oh well! I told him he's in high school now, he's on his own!"
    C. "She's dropping out/getting her GED/going into Job Corps anyway"
    or
    D. Nothing because their phone number's changed or disconnected.

    :D Yay May!
     
  4. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Just to clarify, these are the responses you get from parents whose child is used to getting As and honor roll correct?
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I almost think it's the opposite problem. The naturally smart kids are always naturally smart and can always pull a good score out of their butt, even when the work ethic isn't there. It's the kids with less natural ability but teacher-pleasing behavior that eventually start trending backwards. I see it all the time in the program I teach in... a lot get in because of sky-high IQs, and others get in because of high IQs mixed with being teacher-pleasers. The teacher-pleasers eventually found themselves pushed to the back of the class by the time 6th grade rolls around.
     
  6. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Maybe your right Grade3.
    So are you saying that teacher pleasing behaviors are academic behaviors? And are really frivolous?
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    May 19, 2015

    At my school, we have a "work habits" category, with four or five subcategories, on the report card. These work habits are also discussed at conferences or in the report card comments. So, parents are generally aware of their child's work habits even at a young age. Also, at my school, letter grades don't begin until 4th grade. K-3 students get 3-2-1 scores (3 = met expectation, 2 = progressing toward expectation, 1 = not progressing). So, parents will see an entirely new system of grading and reporting of progress when students are older, at a time when, IMHO, it is more appropriate to allow work habits to impact a student's grade.

    The beauty of having a separate work habits category is that students with teacher-pleasing behaviors, as discussed in the previous posts, may not have such high academic grades, if they are not fully capable, but their work habit grades will reflect their good behavior just the same. What they know and can do is recorded separately from how they work and behave and actually presents a clearer picture of the student.
     
  8. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    This was me in school. The first time I really STRUGGLED with a class was 10th grade honors English, and after that it wasn't until college that I really struggled again. I learned things quickly and could make things up last minute so I never learned good study habits.

    Kids who do really well in elementary school with little to no effort might not struggle in HS, but if they do it's likely because they're not used to encountering work or content that's actually difficult and (like me, and like one of my students last year) they get frustrated and give up, hence sudden low grades.
     
  9. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I was mostly being facetious. Honestly, I never get to see what my kids got in elementary school and I've never had a parent bring up past grades at all (other than previous years in high school).
     
  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    This is a little off topic, but my favorite comment from parents is:

    "Well, s/he never got in trouble at their last school!"

    Don't they know that we usually contact their previous school and/or have access to their discipline records (and the discipline log normally contradicts their statement)?

    It always leaves them speechless when I have a fax/scanned behavior log from their previous principal! :lol:
     
  11. leeshis0019

    leeshis0019 Companion

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    May 19, 2015

    I kind of skimmed posts, but I just wanted to add my 2 cents.


    I don't know how it is in other states, but in GA it's a mixed bag and it really gets on my nerves. I work in the sciences and it blows my mind what these special students of mine expect me to do for them.

    I'll get questions during quizzes.

    I'll get questions during tests.

    I'll get constant questions after notes (which I keep to 20-30 minutes) when they are doing practice.


    This
    blows
    my
    mind.

    The first time this happens and I look at them and say "Umm...you have a textbook, right?" they have this dumbfounded look on their face. I didn't just spend 30 minutes going over this to then spend 5 minutes individually with you to go over it again.

    The least I ask of them is to read the sections in their textbook, then ask a peer THEN ask me.

    And don't take this the wrong way. I'm not lazy or trying to get out of helping them, but I have to train them to help themselves at this point and it's crazy how much they expect me to do for them.

    We are having a test on molecular polarity and a student will flat out ask me, "how do I do this?" during the test. They learned from SOMEWHERE that they could do this and were rewarded in some way for it. I'm just wondering from where.


    This either goes well or doesn't go well at all for them.
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    May 19, 2015

    I think work habits are something that we need to scaffold, just like any academic subject. More support needs to be provided in the primary grades, with the support gradually being removed over time, so that students are fully independent by the time they leave high school.

    Even in second grade, I have a strict "ask three before me" rule, as well as a strict "If I already explained that and you weren't listening, then you better figure out another way to get that information. Good luck." rule. I will gladly answer questions for students who have been paying attention and are just confused about something, especially if they have already made an attempt on their own and sought help from peers.

    I don't allow any of this to have an affect on academic grades though, only on the work habit grades.
     
  13. leeshis0019

    leeshis0019 Companion

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    May 19, 2015



    ^^^

    This!


    Except it's somehow getting lost along the way or they aren't be made to work independently. I don't know what it is.


    It is fairly humorous the first few times I lecture and they aren't paying attention. They'll ask me for help and I smile. Just smile and wait for a moment. Some of them are made uncomfortable and some of them will speak up, but they almost always know that I'm not going to help them. It usually only takes a week or so of this before they realize I'm not just yapping up front.

    However, the expectation of answering questions during assessments remains. It bugs me when I get the signature *tskk* noise when I shrug my shoulders and say "This is a test. I can't help you now."

    Edit: O'! Also...the eye rolling. That's always fun. Like it's my fault you waited until quite literally the last moment to get help. :rolleyes: :haha:
     
  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I get the same thing in second grade, and my response is the same as yours. So, yeah, I don't know what's going on that they haven't figured out that the response will always be the same by the time they get into high school. :dunno:
     
  15. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Yep.

    The one that floors me all the time is when students are given a worksheet/study guide/etc. and immediately ask what page to turn to in the text.


    OP, your presumptions about parent conferences are right on the mark. That's what happens with a lot of my parent conferences.

    I teach a course where you not only need a strong work ethic but natural intellectual ability to get an A. One without the other will earn you a B or below. There's a very good chance that if your child has average intelligence but works his tail off, he will never get an A. This is very difficult for some parents to accept.
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    LOL

    I get "can I take this tomorrow? I didn't study last night." When I say no, the kids actually get mad. "But I don't know anything!!"
     
  17. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    I get that too! I also hear them saying, "But I was up all night doing this 6 page history paper that was due today!!!" Yes... the 6 page paper that your history teacher assigned two months ago. I actually got a parent email about how I should postpone the test because the student was up all night doing a paper.

    As far as the initial comment goes, I think many of my students who got all A's in elementary school struggle because the material is more difficult, especially my students who take honors courses. I also think that some of the skills that are assessed in elementary school are no longer assessed in high school, which may skew the grades.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This.
     
  19. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Sorry to have skimmed the posts, but I agree that this happens quite a bit, and I think it's vital that the elementary teacher notices the work ethic and study skills when the child is in elementary school, regardless of where they lie within the spectrum of their content/processes success. I have many kids in my class who, as writers, can produce a significant amount at a time and usually decently organized. Often, there are tons of small grammar or convention mistakes because they don't take their time though. Similarly, I have a student who has an extremely wide breadth of mathematics knowledge and skill set. However, often the student will show below standard skills because of silly mistakes and not being able to take the time to look back.

    I speak to my students all year long, and will do better after this first year I'm sure too, about how it's not what you know, but what you can show. You can know all the rules of the road, but if you don't show it, well, ha, you know what will happen. So while I've made sure to extend many of those students who excel in those areas, I've also spent many times holding them back and working on those specific study skills/habits that will be vital to them performing well throughout their life. I'd much rather them have that than be slightly ahead in their content knowledge, as it will apply across their entire life / all academics, and will allow them to learn at a faster pace in the future, too.
     
  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 20, 2015

    I skimmed as well.

    But yes, I see this happen a LOT at the middle grades level. By the time they reach High School, many parents have already been desensitized by Middle School and realize that their kids either want to succeed or they don't. But the transition from Elementary to 6th grade in Middle School is a rough one for many kids.

    In our school 7th and 8th grade are also drastically different from 6th, because they're not core-d.

    We always get into the conversation of "He's always been a straight A student, and now he comes here and he's getting C's or Fs! The problem must be with the school!"

    The reality is a number of things. The work is harder. We expect students to take more responsibility for their own discipline and research for finding out answers. We're not going to hold hands (all of the way) through this. Our job is to prepare them for High School.

    In addition, there are plenty of smart kids who in middle school just simply don't care about school. I was definitely one of them. I learned to value school again only when I got to college. These kids will mostly be fine anyway, but it still shocks parents.

    Developmentally, at this age, they care much more about impressing their peers than pleasing their teachers or learning subjects of interest.

    So I think it's a lot of factors that affect this. It's not that the elementary schools are doing a bad job or the middle schools are doing a bad job. It's just 'different'. And some students make the transition smoothly, and some don't.
     
  21. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Agreed. This pretty much sums it up.
     
  22. Ashoksahu

    Ashoksahu Rookie

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    Every class matters while your success depends upon education.
     
  23. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    THANK YOU! It blows my mind how we will be in the midst of completing an assignment and a student will just flat-out ask me the answer to the question without even looking through the text. Not all of my students do this, but many do. I also encourage students to ask a peer first and then ask me as a last resort.

    Another posted mentioned how students immediately ask which page to turn to in the text- check the index!! My goodness. Some kids don't even think to do so.

    I want all of my students to succeed, but I refuse to hold their hands through very basic assignments. Some accountability NEEDS to rest on their shoulders.
     

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