Is questioning others and taking opposing viewpoints a bad thing?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by AlwaysAttend, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Aug 10, 2017

    Love all the discussion posts! Exactly what I was hoping for!

    What if you had a flexible grouping system in your school. Placement based on ability. Would it be any more feasible since kids couldn't test out until they achieved mastery. Maybe even in a smaller population like basic skills.

    As far as assessing throughout the year, based on posts from above my mind went to elementary reading assessments. What is the most you would test a student in one year? Everyone would obviously do the mandated checks, but if warranted, would you test more freequently for one or more students? You know, in the perfect school with free subs to watch the class while you test haha.
     
  2. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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  3. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    Interesting question. I like to argue with people. (I think I should have been a lawyer!) However, I am not adverse to changing my mind or seeing both sides of the argument. (Okay, maybe I would have been a terrible lawyer.) I think some people just regurgitate what they hear from others or on tv. with no real basis for why they believe what they do.

    At my school, we have to give as many retests as the student (or parents) want. At the high school level, this has led to many students taking advantage of the system to improve their GPA. Also, there have been multiple cases of a student taking a re-do or re-test for PREVIOUS quarters. I like the theory behind this, but in reality teachers end up making the tests easier so kids pass the first time. We also seem to use an inordinate amount of "cheat-sheets" and test aids. The result of these growth mindset can be students entering college completely unprepared for deadlines or the inability to retake a test. Many teachers (and some parents) have argued with these policies, but administration won't hear any debate. I think they would really like to get rid of grade altogether.
     
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  4. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Why not get rid of grades all together and make it pass fail? After all, you can either do the work of you can't. With an education designed to be one size fits all based on the idustrial complex mindset, shouldn't that be the assessment model anyway?
     
  5. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    To AlwaysAttend, we do have several classes that are pass/fail. However, when students have actually failed, they pass them anyway. There is no accountability at all.

    Also, in reality, the only motivation most of our students have are their grades. If something isn't graded, kids tend to blow it off or not turn it in. For example, we can't grade homework so some students don't bother to do it, fail the test, and then get to retest. This is more an issue in math. Also, our parents think their kids are geniuses because they get almost all A's. It is a big shock if the student transfers school districts! A disturbing trend that I have noticed is that when we get a student from a "better" district, the student starts out strong and then declines to unmotivated level of many of our students. I feel like I could motivate my students more if they knew that they could actually "fail" and not get a free pass.
     
  6. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I think most districts that change their hw policies to no more than 5% or no hw policies see that reaction to hw or non credit assignments.

    I think the truth is, with such a liberal retake policy, (clasical defintion of the word, no political context), grades need to become meaningless, thus the pass/fail. Otherwise how could you compare an A achieved on the first test or on the 5th test.

    Think of all the teacher test takers who we see on this board who repeatedly fail praxis. Once they pass, their result is just as good as us who passed the first time. How many districts asked how many times you took the praxis?
     
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  7. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Aug 11, 2017

    THis is a summative test taken at the very end of your study (either before or during student teaching), that is cumulative of everything you have learned your entire student career. It's high stakes. It also only is a portion of the requirement for credential (coursework, internship, other previous assessments, etc.). There's also penalties for not passing the first time (delayed credential/student teaching, unable to get into a class, etc.). Law students have to take the bar (and many don't pass the first time) in order to practice law.
     
  8. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I'd hardly compare the Bar Exam or even the LSAT to the Praxis. It's a lot closer to the GED than the Bar exam.

    But I'll play anyway. Should schools offer a cumulative test option as well? In some places they offer a portfolio graduation for students who can't pass required state exams. Should students have the option to test out at the beginning of every course? You can do it in many college courses. I know you take (EDIT I MEAN TESTS NOT CLASSES) classes for placement in math in hs. Shouldn't kids get credits for the classes they skip and finish early?

    There is already a way to test out of high school entirely early and I mentioned it earlier. The GED.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
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  9. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Aug 13, 2017

    AlwaysAttend, I absolutely agree with your original post. You hit the nail on the head. ;)

    I have also noticed on here that some posters will, for example, complain about having to pass a test and say that they shouldn't have to pass a COMPETENCY test to become a teacher. :confused:

    I'm like, seriously?! You should have to demonstrate what you know. State licensure agencies can't just take you at your word that you know it. There needs to be state standards for all educators across the board, regardless of educational background.

    Their response is usually along the lines of, "Passing a test doesn't make you a good teacher." Um, yeah, but that is not what the test is designed to do. *It is designed to test your knowledge of the subject matter.* If you can't pass it, then you haven't yet mastered the material.

    This probably will rile up those posters that I mentioned, but so be it. :cool:

    Edit: I will say that I don't care how many times that it takes you to pass the test. If you pass on the fifth try or whatever, then you have shown that you know the material well. All I care is that you pass. The number of attempts does not matter.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  11. PrettyQueenBee

    PrettyQueenBee Rookie

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    Very interesting topic. My school district has a retake policy set in place, but there's a busload of stipulations:

    Retakes are only for "critical subjects" (their words, not mine) such as English, math and science. I think they picked these subjects because there's so many state tests in these subjects. There's no limit on retakes, so students are allowed to retake until they pass. Homework and quizzes count a lot in our district though.

    Speaking of, students must show steady progress in other assignments. Absences from school need to be accounted for. After this is checked by guidance, the student must fill out a retake form and have their parent(s) sign it. The retake cannot be conducted during school hours, so they will need to stay after 2:15 PM. I can't tell you how many teachers in the district hate the retake policy. I'm pretty neutral on it.

    A lot of math teachers give the same test, but switch it up the numbers (which is smart in my opinion). It's easy to memorize the answer to: "What is the reference angle of sin 5pi/3?" But what if I switched the numbers and asked you for the reference angle of cos 7pi/6? Or -21pi/4 (this one would require an extra step)? Yes, they are different questions, but the process of finding a reference angle will never change.
     
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  12. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    To PrettyQueenBee, our policy is not written down anywhere. It is communicated to us from the central administration. There has been a lot of confusion when teachers try to put any type of stipulation or limits on it. Basically, we are told that we are not teaching responsibility, only content. So we also don't have homework that can be graded or deadlines. Taking off points for late work can get a teacher in trouble, if a parent complains. However, in reality, my students would turn every assignment in the day before grades are due, if we let them. As you can imagine, teachers have fought some of these policies to hold students accountable and were shot down. If they had the policy in writing somewhere it would clear things up, but it never it. I guess so admin. can change it up to keep parents happy.

    The math teachers really have the hardest time because kids might want to take a retest the day before the quarter ends. A lot of times the student also fails the retest because they have done no studying or tutoring before the test. I like your school policy a lot better.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The biggest issue I see with retakes is that it is just shoved into a system of education not designed for content mastery. It makes it difficult to try to work two systems at once. Then there is the difference in attitude regarding how fast students learning content as a measure of competence.
     
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  14. PrettyQueenBee

    PrettyQueenBee Rookie

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    Oh wow, I would hate working under those conditions. We are absolutely allowed to take off points for late assignments or projects. There's no magical number, so it's at a teacher's discretion if we want to take off 10 or 20 points for lateness. The district tries to preach accountability for all parties involved. If a student doesn't show their work, but gets the right answer- I can give half credit (or no credit) and I won't get in trouble. If a student is failing math, science, or English, we have something called "intervention" where the student has to attend school for 2 hours after school. It's kind of like a mixture of tutoring and night school. If a student earned an F, we can give them one with no problems. But if there's a certain percentage of students failing your class, the district WILL be contacting you. We had a physics teacher get walking papers over failing a lot of students. Our policies aren't perfect, but for the most part they side with their teachers. We are absolutely allowed to alter versions of our retakes. I've always wondered how English and science teacher altered theirs? Math is super easy to alter for obvious reasons.

    And I always make sure to let my retakers know that this policy won't exist in college. In college, if you made a 50 on an exam, it sticks and the professor moves on. The *MOST* a professor will do is drop the lowest test score. And not every professor does that. Students must learn some responsibility and be held accountable. Luckily, our district supports this.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
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  15. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    It's surprising to me whenever I hear someone trying to impress others with how hard their class is by how many students they fail. Sounds like your school is better off without that person.
     

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