Honors Classes

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by MathTeacher29, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. MathTeacher29

    MathTeacher29 Rookie

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    Sep 6, 2010

    Hello.
    How do students in your school get placed in an honors class? I teach geometry honors and I have mostly freshman who have been on the advanced track since middle school. However I also have sophomores and juniors who requested to take the honors level class. They didn't have a teacher recommendation and not all of them had high averages in Algebra 1. The policy at my school is that if a student requests a honors class they get it.
    I'm a bit frustrated right now because I just graded the first test and I had students make 30's and 40's on it. They were mostly the sophomores and juniors.
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    In my district, you have to start taking honors math in 6th grade and continue until you graduate. If you decide to not take an honors math class one year, you may not get back into the honors program. I'm not sure how students are placed in the first place. I think it's by student request, but if a student is not successful than they will be placed in a regular classroom.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    no requirements here either. Most of the students aren't willing to do the honors projects if they aren't at honors level so it isn't too much of an issue. Where I worked last year ALL students were placed in honors courses. Even if there wasn't an honors course listed in the county curriculum, it was named honors at the school. I had a really hard time teaching at an honors level when the students clearly were not. I ended up lowering my standards a lot. Otherwise the majority of my students would have failed. I did try to make so that an A in the class was really an Honors A.
     
  5. MathTeacher29

    MathTeacher29 Rookie

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    I'm trying very hard to not lower my standards. I had one student ask me if there was an easier way to do a problem. I told him to go to academic geometry, they don't solve problems that involve factoring. I don't know why these students sign up for honors if they don't want to do extra work or more challenging problems.
     
  6. Kangaroo22

    Kangaroo22 Virtuoso

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    In the district I went to school and sub in you are placed into honors math (this is also the same for science) in seventh grade, based on your averages, state test scores and teacher's recommendation. Then you take seventh and eighth grade math in seventh grade and then are a year ahead throughout school. Also, there will be some students that want to take honors that didn't get into earlier and they can be in honors based on their teacher's recommendation, but then they are in a class that is almost completely students from one grade behind them.

    For English and social studies you can get into honors any year if your teacher will recommend you.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    No requirements here at my school. Students are basically placed in whatever honors courses they request.
     
  8. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Wow, I'm amazed at the number of students who are in honors simply because they ask to be. That's just bizarre to me. Both where I live and where I work it's based on a combination on scores on standardized tests (like 4sight or district wide ones), previous grades in the subject and teacher recommendation. If you want honors but don't have the teacher recommendation you don't get it.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Our kids take a placement test. That, and their academic record, allows guidance to determine their academic track.
     
  10. MathTeacher29

    MathTeacher29 Rookie

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    I gave my tests back today and I had multiple students out of each class ask to be switched into academic geometry. Geometry is tough enough for a lot of students, honors can be very overwhelming.
     
  11. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Teachers recommend students for honors classes. We sign off on it.

    If a student does not meet requirements for an honors class but still wants to take one, parents may sign a waiver and they will be enrolled.

    Students enrolling in honors classes are allowed to drop the course, but they will be given a failing grade and will affect GPA. Parents are aware of this rule.
     
  12. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    <<Wow, I'm amazed at the number of students who are in honors simply because they ask to be. That's just bizarre to me>>

    Ya, Heaven forbid that we allow students to challenge themselves. What is this? America?
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Students who have failed Geometry and Algebra I should not be placed in Algebra 2 Honors, even if they're looking for a challenge. They can challenge themselves by taking and passing those prerequisite courses. That's the problem I see at my school. I'm sorry if it's mean to say so, but a student who has failed the past two years of English probably isn't going to do very well in a foreign language, which is all about grammar, structure, and vocabulary.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I doubt Rockguykev was recommending that students be allowed into honors courses when they're clearly lacking the prerequisite courses. I think he's correct, however, that the door shouldn't be barred entirely just because a kid hasn't been in honors classes before.
     
  15. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Correct. A kid who failed Geometry and Algebra 1 should be in Geometry and Algebra 1! However, a student who has done their pre-reqs and is interesting in challenging him or herself should not be stopped from doing so.

    Now, that said, I will admit as an honors teacher myself I do have issues with some of the students placed there. There should be, I think, a differentiation between honors and gifted - at least at the middle school level. A hard-working student can be successful in an honors curriculum but that curriculum will likely not be meeting the needs of a gifted student.
     
  16. Chrissteeena

    Chrissteeena Companion

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    I remember this like it was yesterday. I had a really tough math teacher my last year of Middle School. She pretty much had her own grading system and if you got below that, you weren't doing well. Well apparently, I got below that on my final exam that year. She had told the High School that I wouldn't have been able to preform well in Sequential I, II or III based on such and such grade. I was placed in some Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced math classes for my three years of H.S.

    My teacher for 9th grade had helped me try and get out of the class. My grades were too high to be in it and I was bored. They said no (the school). The Sequential I, II and III teachers didn't want me in the class because after the "first three months we're too far along, she'll fall behind."

    I think if a student is actually up for the challenge and is willing to do the work, go to extra help if he or she needs it, they should be able to be put in the class.

    In my case I ended up being an 'in class tutor' for everyone who needed it. It got on my nerves because I didn't want to be a tutor… I wanted a challenge. Especially since there was the main teacher and THREE aids in the classroom at all times!

    (Sad thing is too, I didn't even fail 8th grade math- I got a 75 overall)
     
  17. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    There are always exceptions, but usually, teacher recommendations are good.

    My sister was homeschooled through 9th grade. When she entered 10th grade at a magnet school, one of the teachers flat out told her she would fail her class because homeschooled kids never learn anything. Of course, my sister being the snot that she is, immediately decided that the topic of her term paper would be "The Failure of <county> Public Schools. Go sis. She also did exceptionally well in honors math (she had an advantage there...her big sister taught math at a local college. I arranged to have her sit in on appropriate math courses taught by my friends, so when she went into Algebra II, she'd already had college algebra, even though it was off the record).

    That said, I'm all for parental choice, but both the parent and the student need to be prepared for the consequences of getting in over one's head.
     
  18. MathTeacher29

    MathTeacher29 Rookie

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    Some of my strongest students have been sophomores who decided to switch to the honors track after Algebra 1. Last year I had a group that worked so hard to do their best. However this year I had students keep asking me if there was easier way to do problems and why we had to do hard problems. They decided to switch back to academic geometry.
     
  19. JayR

    JayR Rookie

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    Sep 14, 2010

    In South Orange-Maplewood NJ, which are middle to upper income, racially diverse communities with one combined school system, there are allegations of racism in the selection of students to honor math classes. Among other things there are allegations that once you are selected you are never de-selected, and if you are not selected early you never get in. We would love to solve the racial achievement gap in our community, but it is not easy.

    There are many Internet references to this, within South Orange-Maplewood; here is one:

    http://maplewood.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/imho-achievement-gap-defies-easy-answers/
     

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