Students advancing to upper level classes even though they fail the lower levels...

Discussion in 'High School' started by Caesar753, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,714

    Feb 17, 2008

    As students at my school are beginning to think about their schedules for next year, I'm thinking about a very problematic situation which seems to happen every year here: Students who fail a lower level language class are being promoted to the upper level classes anyway. Seriously? Yes.

    It's ridiculous. The reason they're being promoted is, from what I understand, because they either need to fill an elective slot or because they need two years of a foreign language to graduate with an honors diploma. Now, I might definitely be wrong here, but shouldn't an honors diploma require that students, oh I don't know, pass those two years of a foreign language?

    Come on! If a student fails Latin I, it's because he doesn't know what he is doing. He doesn't know vocab, he doesn't know grammar or sentence structure, and he probably doesn't contribute to our class in any meaningful way. Why in the heck should he be signing up for Latin II Honors? And why in the heck are the counselors permitting this? And furthermore, why are the counselors not pulling him from my class when I notify them that this kid has obviously been misplaced? :confused:

    And then there's this situation: Some students are being placed in two different levels of a foreign language at the same time! Like, during the same semester! This means that they go to Spanish I during 4th period and then they go to Spanish II Honors during 8th period. Are you kidding me? :confused:

    I've brought this issue to our Teacher Advisory Committee and discovered that it happens in other subjects as well. It happens in math with some frequency, and it's a huge problem for the math teachers. It happens in English too, where students are taking English II and English III at the same time--but it doesn't seem to be as big an issue for the English teachers because they're learning completely different things in those classes. Unlike English, foreign language classes and math classes work on a scaffolding sort of system where you have to learn one concept before you can learn another.

    I really don't know how to make this situation stop happening. The counselors just keep telling us that they have nowhere else to put these kids, but there has got to be a better system. We are just setting these kids up to fail--if they failed Latin I, they didn't get what they needed to get in order to pass Latin II Honors. It's possible to walk away with a passing grade, but exceedingly difficult and not something I recommend at all.

    Have you guys heard of this sort of thing happening anywhere else? What would you do about it?
     
  2.  
  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 18, 2008

    I don't teach high school but YUCK.
     
  4. Teacher2Be123

    Teacher2Be123 Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 18, 2008

    In my high school we couldn't take a higher level class until we had passed the one below it. ESPECIALLY foreign language and math. With that note, my junior year one of my friends graduated early and she did take jr and sr english in the same year, as well as us history (normally 11th grade) and government/economics (12th grade). Has this been happening for awhile or did it just start? Maybe the counselors are oblivious to these students failing the class right now and when grades are done for the year they will notice and change the schedules?
     
  5. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,765
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 18, 2008

    We really don't have this problem mainly because students must maintain a certain GPA to remain in the Academic Honors Program. This GPA is set by the state and students recieve an Academic Honors diploma. The English dept. does have this happening often due to students not passing English. It is not unusual for juniors to have junior english and another semester of sophomore english.

    I have the same problem with my AP class. There are students in my AP class that would have a hard time passing my regular World History class. When I question why I have C and D students in my AP class, I am told by guidance that students can take whatever classes they would like. I have tried to set up pre-req for my AP class and have been told that I could not. It really doesn't make any sense why you would set students up for failure.
     
  6. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,974
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 18, 2008

    We have the same thing becuase we make recommendations on their report card and course selections sheets, but in the end they can override us and choose whatever course they would like, ugh.
     
  7. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,168
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 18, 2008

    por eso: CAHSEE -- California High School Exit Exam :D
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    17,362
    Likes Received:
    46

    Feb 18, 2008

    Cassie, the system those counselors have in place stink! This wouldn't be allowed in the district I graduated from. If they don't have the room, then maybe they should consider moving something around. They can't possibly think this is a good thing. :confused:
     
  9. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,168
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 18, 2008

    por eso otra vez: there are remedial reading instructor positions at community college! :eek:
     
  10. bluelightstar

    bluelightstar Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2007
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 18, 2008

    I see it at our school too, Cassie. For example, at the beginning of the year, I had a student in AP English Lit that had failed regular English III. There was absolutely no reason for this student to be in AP English if she could not do the regular 11th grade work. Naturally, the counselor refused to move her until she had an F in the first term.

    But it happens in all kinds of courses. I see students taking Trig and Calculus in the same year, and several students are enrolled in Spanish I and II. Ridiculous.
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,974
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 18, 2008

    The good thing about our accelerated block schedules is that students can take Spanish I and II in one year in different semesters, if they have the room in their schedule usually in Junior and Senior year.
     
  12. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,912
    Likes Received:
    14

    Feb 18, 2008

    Honors students did this with math when I was in high school
    (double up on Geometry/ Algebra 2 sophomore year, Trig/PreCal junior year, and then have no math senior year, so we could go take classes at the college)

    But those were the only classes we were allowed to do it for. I do think that if you failed English, you had to take two the next year though, because you had to have 4 to graduate.
     
  13. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    2

    Feb 19, 2008

    I have a lot (close to one third of my students) of tenth grade students in English II who have not passed English I. They will have to take English I in summer school, but not necessarily before going on to the next level. It's hard because it does set them up to fail, and it also seems to set up a culture of failure that I can't seem to get through.
     
  14. Enigma_X

    Enigma_X Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 24, 2008

    They do the same thing here, with all levels. If a kid doesn't pass, say, algebra I, they have to take it again next year, while also taking geometry.
     
  15. jbj913

    jbj913 Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 24, 2008

    In Miami-Dade, the same happens.
    The worst is students with low reading levels taking AP classes. And it's not just because of the district, but AP says EVERYONE is ENTITLED to take AP courses.
    Some counselors are just worthless at their jobs. They press a button and make a schedule and not really researching the situations. Some do take the time and effort to make the best for the student and teacher and department.
    High school courses should be treated as college courses with prerequisites. If you fail Algebra I, you CANNOT take Algebra II. You fail English III, you cannot take English IV. None of this same time stuff that's happening.
    Oh, and summer school and night school should actually be enforcing concepts rather than just providing busy work and providing credit just because a student shows up. Credibility and posterity must be enforced in education.
     
  16. MJD

    MJD Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 17, 2008

    Here's a response from a H.S Counselor.....

    If a student has not passed Algebra I, I put them back in Algebra until they passed it. A few weeks ago I registered students for next year and if they failed Algebra first semester and even though they are passing second semester, I still schedule them in Algebra again. I sign those students up for summer school so they can re-take the first semester again. Once they pass both semesters of algebra then I switch their schedule to Geometry.

    Unfortunately, some students just cannot pass Algebra and in California algebra and Geometry are required so if by their Senior year they have not passed Algebra -- they are scheduled into Geometry and they have to re-do algebra through independent study with a teacher or at night school.

    As far as language classes are concerned this is the first time I've heard that students are being put into Latin II when they have not passed Latin I. That should not happen because we are only setting the student up for failure. Students need to pass the first level in order to move to the second level. Also, if they want to take AP courses they need their teachers approval first. I make sure teachers sign off that they are ready to take advanced language classes.

    As far as English courses, yes, I do schedule students in two English classes at once. Mainly, if the student is a Junior and needs English 9 (first semester) and /she can fit this in his/her schedule, I go ahead and enrolled the student. Also, ELL students who finally go mainstream and are passing for example, English 11 with a B or higher, I put give them English 9/10 etc.
     
  17. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    20

    Mar 18, 2008

    I really appreciate your response - that you make sure kids pass a class before they are admitted to the next level of that class! Good for you - you probably get your fair share of hassle because you do this. Stick with it - you're doing the right thing!
     
  18. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    596
    Likes Received:
    2

    Mar 18, 2008

    I was a substitute aid for spec ed at our elementary school and I was assisting a boy in 5th grade who could not read one iota.

    Now I am new to this education field but I thought that was ridiculous.
     
  19. tcutonilli

    tcutonilli Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 19, 2008

    I see it at the school I teach at, but I think our problem is even more severe.

    Our students are "socially promoted" as they go through elementary and middle school. They learn that they do not have to perform at a certain level and they will still be promoted to the next grade level. The thinking of the powers that be is that they don't want a 16 or 17 year old kid in with kids 2, 3, or 4 years younger than them.

    When they reach the high school level, they are required to take Regents courses and are expected to pass both the course and the high stakes tests at the end of the year. Problem is they simply can't - they do not have and have never learn the basic skills required to do ANY of the higher level problems posed to them and they have learned that they do not need to work to move on. They take these higher level courses and are required to demonstrate a certain level of competency, but they don't have the skills or the work ethic to do so. As a result, we high school teachers take the brunt of criticism as to why our schools are performing poorly.

    It's pathetic and completely backwards.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 286 (members: 0, guests: 256, robots: 30)
test