Students who do no work, but ace tests

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by RadiantBerg, Jan 18, 2014.

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  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I would stick to whatever the predetermined breakdown for grading in my syllabus. If he doesn't get penalized for doing no homework, then is homework optional? If it is, trust me, the other students will know it and expect to also be graded accordingly.

    Plus, I just don't think it's a good life lesson to get away with not having to do assigned work.
     
  2. Pashtun

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    Or better yet, make the assignments contain enough information(not found in class) that they could not ace the test without having done it.
     
  3. reneeinms

    reneeinms Rookie

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    My thoughts exactly!
     
  4. RadiantBerg

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    I get that idea (almost feel like it would be more applicable in a humanities type course), but I can guarantee that if I did that, I would have parents up in arms that I am testing them on types of problems that I didn't cover in class.

    Maybe it's wrong, but part of me feels that if he is really yearning for a challenge, he should just do what he needs to to ace the class so he can go to honors the next year. And trust me, I give very little homework to begin with so it's not a huge hoop to jump through.
     
  5. gr3teacher

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    That makes sense to you and me as adults, but you're talking about a bored teenager who is well aware that his homework is nothing but busywork for him (not meaning that in an offensive manner, but if he's acing tests without the practice, then it is nothing but busywork for him).
     
  6. Pashtun

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    If you believe homework is that important then I am sure you will tackle the parent issue no problem.

    I suspect, as you have said, that homework is not that big a deal to you, so I would give him the grade he earned on tests and not sweat it.
     
  7. gr3teacher

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    Also, it's easy enough for you to say you don't give much homework, but this kid is taking... let's say at least five classes. His English and Social Studies classes are going to have heavy homework expectations, time-wise. If he's taking a foreign language class, there will be homework there, too. Algebra II... guessing that means he's taking a chemistry class? Definitely a lot of studying and work involved there, too. Add in an after-school sport, maybe a music ensemble too, and time starts to get pretty scarce, particularly when you're considering the class that you can ace tests for without studying or doing homework.
     
  8. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    That was me in high school. Skipped all of the time, never did class/homework, but boy I could come in and blow a test out of the water. I ended up with the highest score, almost always. The one exception was Chemistry where I did nothing, did horrible on tests (because Chem is a class where you need to do the work to understand the test), but the week before finals, I read the book cover to cover, did all of the chapter review activities---and of course, got the 2nd highest grade on the final.

    And no, my teachers did not bump me because of it. I might've been smart enough to have an A in the class, but they gave me what my lazy butt deserved because I didn't want to do the day-to-day trench work. Too bad for me. And if my students were to do the same, it would be too bad for them too. I am GLAD my teachers didn't bump me and make me think that it was okay to not comply with requirements and expectations. Otherwise I would've been very stunned when I entered college, the workforce, and eventually teaching. The last time I checked just because you know your car will pass an inspection doesn't mean you just refuse to do it until you get pulled over and can prove to the cop you car is fully operational. You still get the ticket because you didn't comply with the expectations set forth by the state. Right or wrong, that is reality.

    The real world doesn't bump you just because you know how to do it but refuse to do the work. Neither does college.

    My vote is give them what they earned :) So if 20% of their grade is homework, and they turned in nothing--80 for them. Mastery of the content isn't the ONLY thing I am teaching my students.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I never had my homework checked in college. Sure we had "deliverables" meaning things that had to be handed in or presented because of the nature of the subject, but the syllabus outlined reading and problems/questions for the student to do, but indicated what would be collected. Not once did I have a math professor check to see if my homework was completed. None really cared because the end result would be the quizzes and tests. Now they did suggest keeping up with the reading and the suggested problem, but if a kid was acing the tests and quizzes they didn't give a darn. There were some classes with unannounced quizzes so it was in the student's best interest to keep up with the class, but the idea of having to do homework for class and get points for it went away in college. So, the only thing I see poor grades for behaviors (not handing in homework) would get a student is being kept out of a more prestigious college.

    So, I don't see the correlation between high school and college for the kid that aces test and quizzes without doing the homework except for the fact that they need to know that they may have to do more in college when the material starts to get more complex.
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I really don't understand your analogy.

    These test acers are taking their car to be inspected and passing - they show up for the test and pass. Many just aren't changing the light bulbs when they know they work to make sure they pass inspection - doing the homework when they don't need to.
     
  11. HistoryVA

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    I went to colleges that DID assign homework that was collected (BA and Masters), so I would see the correlation. Individual experiences are individual, after all. :)
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Yes. I wonder if it has to do with when this occurred.
     
  13. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    "This" being when the schools were attended? My BA years were (part time), 2004-2010 and I received my Masters in Ed in 2012.
     
  14. AdamnJakesMommy

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    In my experience most people are simply very busy and it has nothing to do with the actual car itself. If I could get a pass by not making the time to go in and get inspected, I would. An inspection on my brand new vehicle with no mechanical issues whatsoever is a complete waste of my time. Except that, if I don't do it I will be held accountable and penalized for it either by the police or the state refusing to renew my tags.

    The analogy is this:

    homework (not necessary, I already know it) = inspection (not necessary, my car is fully operational)---if a cop wanted to pull me over and have me "prove" my car is operational, he would see that it is--he'd still give me a ticket for not getting the car inspected, even though that is a complete waste of my time.

    In the grown up world we are held accountable for doing things that we perceive to be a complete waste of our time. That is reality. There are many things we do out of obligation, not personal benefit.
     
  15. Pashtun

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    I hear a lot of teachers saying homework is an exercise in compliance.
     
  16. Honest_Teacher

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    No wonder so many intelligent, successful individuals resent the current educational model.
     
  17. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Again. I don't believe the analogy is really accurate. So, what is the test? The test taker proves "his car is working". In your analogy, where is the test?
     
  18. AdamnJakesMommy

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    I wasn't trying to do an analogy per se, the only analogy is what I've already pointed out---and that is only to demonstrate that pointless work (as perceived by the individual) is a part of life. That's it, nothing more magical about my point than that.

    As far as homework is concerned, it is NEVER pointless. Kids may have mastered certain topics and concepts, but homework should also encourage further development of critical thinking, deep thought, and analysis. These are skills that always need refining, and everyone needs to do it, no matter what "level" they are on in the classroom. When I taught social studies last year (and miss very terribly), it was IMPOSSIBLE to run out of questions to ask the kids and have them think about. They might've been able to recite every fact and tidbit about Sumer I taught them after 3 weeks, but I could've taught exclusively about Sumer all year long and could still come up with new questions a week before summer break.

    No learner has EVER mastered ANY concept so well that there is nothing more to think about (analyze, examine, etc.).

    Homework's primary purpose might be to reinforce skills and concepts, but that's not its only purpose.
     
  19. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    I had some homework in college, and I was class of 2007 for my BA, and have lots in my master's program (still ongoing). Primarily those were math, foreign language, and English classes. However as a history/biology double major, for me--- MOST did not have homework. Incidentally, the majority of those professors did not care if you passed or failed, came to class or not, or lived or died. Not to be crass, but that was the reality. And probably the reality at many large, state universities when students numbered in the hundreds PER CLASS and it was impossible to grade 315 homework assignments from just one class alone each night--much less remember names, and even faces. I will give them credit, 1000 students per semester is an excuse for giving limited numbers of assignments.
     
  20. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Agreed with everything you posted.

    Chiming in here. I had little "homework" in college. Lectures, a project and a midterm and a final. Some classes required more, but most had this set up. A majority of my grade came from exam performance, which I appreciated, especially as a student who in high school aced exams but did not trouble myself with homework.

    I'm in Elementary but tests show me what the student knows. Homework is essentially review and practice. Some don't need the practice. Students aren't a one size fits all. I don't think a student's grade should suffer simply because they opt out of completing assignments meant as a learning aide. If the student knows the content well enough to ace exams, what is the point of such work?

    No matter what grade level or class, the ultimate goal is to prove that you have a certain level of proficiency in the class material. If the student exceeds that goal and clearly has grasped the material should they really earn a C all because they couldn't be bothered with the extra un-needed work? It's silly to punish a student for how they learn.

    The "reality" comment that someone else made is bogus. AdamnJakesMommy described the reality of college much more accurately:


     
  21. Blue

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    I haven't read the entire posting==too long. But, my GS school has changed it's grading system. Students are graded upon learning the information ONLY. My GS is thrilled. He never did his homework, and was exactly like the student in OP. He gets A and Bs on his tests. So, his grades have sky rocketed with the new grading system. It was my understanding that this grading system was to become SOP.
     
  22. otterpop

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    I agree with this.

    Sometimes, you just do stuff because you have to. No, maybe you don't like it, and sure, maybe you will just be a person who tells the "boss" to er... go fly a kite. But however you deal with that, there are going to be consequences. In this case, the consequence is getting a poor grade you knew you would get. In the "real world" it may be paying a fine because you didn't pay a bill on time, or not getting a promotion because you didn't give much effort to an "unnecessary" project. The fact is, there are lots of things we don't want to do in life. You don't have to do them, but you have to be okay with what happens because of your choices.

    I don't know which grading policy is the right one, but I feel like if you choose one and say homework is worth a certain percentage, you have to stick with it, otherwise it's showing kids that rules don't apply to them.
     
  23. SallyN

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    Is he upset of getting C? I don't think so. Maybe this case illustrates the disadvantages of our system of education. But as for a student I don't see any sense in doing homework for him if he clearly understands the material.
     
  24. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I have always hated homework. And use to only assign work in class, and if they didn't finish they would need to do it at home. I thought the point of assignments was to reinforce the skills taught.
     
  25. Jerseygirlteach

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    That's fine. Then tell students upfront that homework is optional OR that it is optional if they maintain a certain test average or something like that. However, you can't make a homework a percentage of a grade and then decide later that it doesn't apply to specific students.
     
  26. 2ndTimeAround

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    Exactly.
     
  27. Linguist92021

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    He should get what he earned. If he wants to get a better grade, he should start doing homework.

    1. I don't remember seeing what grade you teach (I skimmed though the posts) but in any grade, we're trying to teach the kids responsibility and work habits. In any type of class (high school, or college) he will have homework, so he might as well get used to the fact that it's not optional. In most cases the homework is important in learning the material, and he might not be so lucky with another class he chooses not to do homework. (he might think he knows it, but he doesn't, no homework, does bad on the test, fail)

    2. I almost failed grammar in high school. I was so good at it, it came naturally for me, by that time I was learning a 4th language, so my native language grammar was of course pretty much perfect. I don't know if I didn't do homework, or was goofing off in class, but I fail the one semester. (luckily for us it's one whole year, not a semester, so I was ok) My mom was shocked, but we never thought it was unfair. I didn't do what I was supposed to do.
    If you make an exception for him and bump up his grade, be prepared to make exception for other situations as well. For example a kid tries really hard, does all home homework, extra credit, classwork, but is not getting it, fails all tests and his average is an F. The parent might argue that since you make exceptions, you should give him a B for all the effort he's putting in.

    3. If this is an issue that happens more than one, or you want to avoid it in the future, maybe you could redesign the points policy. Homework / classwork worth 40 %, tests... participation... (just an example)

    I never bump up grades. I have a lot of students n the verge of a higher grade, 79%, 59%, etc. All I do is emphasize the 1% difference and offer extra credit. Last semester I did this 2 weeks straight, and almost everyone took advantage of it. They knew I'm not changing the grade, since I DON'T GIVE THEM THE GRADE, THEY EARN IT, AND ALL I DO IS RECORD IT.
     
  28. JustMe

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    I don't think it's respectful to require a student to complete homework he or she doesn't need in order to master the content. I'm thinking of my years in high school working a late job on weeknights and those students with various other obligations. Such a waste.

    I love the system we switched to where only summative assessments were entered into the gradebook.
     
  29. JustMe

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    Not all classes require homework. Even if all classes did, though, I don't think that's reason to continue requiring it if it's not truly necessary. Things change. If a teacher realizes students can do without homework in her class, I don't think it's wise to decide that she'll assign it anyway because, well, other classes do or she has all years prior or whatever the case may be.
     
  30. DrivingPigeon

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    That's how I feel, but I teach elementary. I don't grade homework. A student's grade is based on his or her understanding of the content.
     
  31. Math

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    I just have a question though? When a school district has a system setup such as:

    Tests = 70%
    Classwork = 20%
    Homework = 10%

    Would a teacher really be allowed to not include something like homework or classwork? I thought that you must give some type of homework then. I know in some classes sometimes homework is given but it is optional for us to do. However, it also does not count if we complete it.
     
  32. JustMe

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    I am saying, essentially, I disagree with a district setting a requirement like that. I've never worked at a school that set such requirements.
     
  33. 2ndTimeAround

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    I haven't either. That would totally widen the achievement gap. We have issues with parents fussing when tests are 50% of the grade.
     
  34. Jerseygirlteach

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    I guess I just really don't get the big deal of students being required to do a little homework. I have a bunch of adolescents in my extended family. They all have plenty of time to veg out and play xbox, hang out with their friends, and hold p/t jobs. When I was their age, I did too. My 6th grade son has so much leisure time it's ridiculous. Now that it's generally too cold to hang out outside for very long, he literally doesn't know what to do with himself.

    If the homework isn't challenging, by all means, differentiate. But I cannot manage to see the problem with requiring students to do some academics beyond the few hours they spend in school.
     
  35. dgpiaffeteach

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    I try to assign minimal homework because I know how busy many of my students are. I also know homework doesn't always get done the way I want. They copy. They read sparknotes. They skim. Ultimately it's on them. But my life is a lot better now that my grades truly reflect what they know and not just who did the homework. If they don't read, it's reflected on the quiz and/or discussion. There's no need to make them do questions too.
     
  36. Rockguykev

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    I don't think this is a correct understanding of achievement gap. Giving kids who can't do well on tests good grades is exactly what led to the great achievement gap in the first place. It would widen, perhaps, your grade distribution but I think it is pretty clear grades do not reflect achievement for the most part.
     
  37. 2ndTimeAround

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    In my school the students that tend to do the poorest on tests are minorities. Having half of their grades coming from assignments other than tests gives them a fighting chance at passing. If they only had 30% of their grades comi g from those sources they would fall even further behind. That would cause many to just give up.
     
  38. Honest_Teacher

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    I feel like that's dealing with the symptom and not the real problem. Th real problem is the learning gap that results in the poor test scores.

    This seems like an institutional problem with curriculum and standards (possibly social promotion?) and the normal contributor of poverty, not how the grades are set up.
     
  39. a2z

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    Give someone pain killers to mask the pain of strep throat, they still have strep throat. They aren't closer to well, you just don't notice how sick they are.

    Same thing. Giving points for things that don't show mastery masks the student's real ability level. The gap isn't smaller just because you pass them on a report card and pass them to the next grade. The gap probably gets larger because instead of changing instruction to help them close the gap you just play a numbers game and move them along.

    Let's see. Why would they give up? Oh, yeah, they would be retained but nothing in their instruction would change. They would just do it all again. That is why retention doesn't work. Kids that are retained that really just need more than another year of developmental growth really need a different kind of instruction.
     
  40. Math

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    I would not care that the student aced a test. The grade does not only reflect tests. It reflects on classwork and homework completion and in some instances whether they were done in a timely manner.
     
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