Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Science, Sep 8, 2010.
Sep 8, 2010
Is this a normal expectation?
Not @ my school, especially w/ special needs & ELLs. I can understand if they want everyone but them to pass. If I were you, I would definitely check back with the principal.
Just wanted to mention: I'm new to teaching (career change) and I'm new to the state. I'm just wondering if this is a red-flag...
LOL sorry not laughing at you but rather at the absurdness (is that a word?!) of this expectation. Let's be realistic, expecting a 100% pass rate is way too much to ask and would never happen.
I would double check that as well. When you ask about if it's a red flag, are you thinking that it's possible that you and other teachers are being expected to "cheat"?
Sep 9, 2010
We have this expectation, it comes from NCLB expecting all public schools to have 100% of students passing the test by 2014. So, why not get there now?
While we have that expectation, it hasn't happened, yet. We get VERY close, but we have such a tiny population that 1 or 2 students not meeting the mark has significant effects on our data.
So, your administration expects that your students reading at a second grade level to increase nine grade levels in one year. This, after they have already been in school for 7+ years.
Another reason why all public schools will be failing schools by 2014. According to the requirements of NCLB)
All you can do is your best and do as much intensive reading practice as you can. For those students that are a few years behind, word study activities might be beneficial. A good resource may be "Words Their Way". It will show you how to do activities that strengthen their understanding of how sounds and words fit together. There is preparation involved, but once you get the program running, it takes 10-15 minutes each day to complete.
Another suggestion...find a good "Word of the Day" program to introduce vocabulary.
Try teaching the students how to go back to the reading passage and highlight the answer to comprehension questions.
Use lots of word wall practice for common words they need to know. Use Dolch sight words if they are that low.
Does the school have guided reading books based on the interest level of this age group?
We all know they will not make 9 years of growth this year, but it is possible to get them motivated to become better readers if they find success with you this year. Good luck and try not to stress too much. Just shoot for small successes...they will multiply.
Isn't it possible that it's part of the pep talk, a goal to strive for? Not necessarily an expectation, but a hope, a goal? Part of the whole "set the bar high, so they'll strive to reach it" thing?
If nothing else, it certainly makes the point that reading is your number one focus for the year. Keep that in mind with every single activity you do or assign.
Do your best. Try to get your kids to do their best. And take it one day at a time.
Our goals are also that 100% of our students pass both ECA for Alg I and English 10. Our math and english teachers attack this goal on a daily basis. Like Alice posted, it's part of our "pep talk" and understood this a goal.
Admin was talking a lot about this. That's nuts. I'm sorry I have a daughter who I love to death and has severe MR, and I know she will never be able to read. Success for her will be learning how to be independent in small ways.
If you have a problem with this expectation I'd like you to personally pick out the kids who will not pass this year - by name. I think you'll find that task to be completely demoralizing and you'll realize why 100%, though quite silly, is the right expectation.
I Second That
I teach special needs students and although I'm realistic about their limitations, I have a goal of 100% proficiency for my students and communicate this to them daily. Does that mean they all reach it every time? Absolutely not; but they're doing much better than if I accept their preprimer-third grade level work as "the best they can do."
FYI, I've noticed that sometimes it's easier to "teach the test," and I don't mean the content! If students are comfortable with the format and know what to expect and how it affects them personally, they usually do better. if you can motiviate them to try their best, even better. We do lots of practice tests in my district and I've seen kids work so hard they out-achieve (did I just coin a new word?) themselves simply because they did better on the first test than they expected and want that praise and sense of accomplishment again.
I understand--we all cringe when we hear expectations we know can't be met. At the same time, if you view it as a challenge (and document that you're teaching to proficiency, just in case) you might just actually get better results than you expect. Add to that the fact that you're a fresh teacher, and you could cement your reputation as a miracle-worker! (I've also started putting copies of my lower-achieving students in my evidence folder, as well; I have them revise, retest, etc.; this documents that even with reteaching, direct instruction, etc., some just can't get it.)
I agree with others that the comment is probably meant as the goal of setting the bar high.
Sep 10, 2010
See... I'm a realist and I'm going to do what I say. It may work for some people to say "You need to raise the reading score of all 140 students, by 600-1000% in one year." Will I do a darn good job to help all of these kids grow, yes. I work 65 hour weeks, and do absolutely everything I can.
I don't mind being told to "shoot for the stars" and try to get all students to pass the state test. That's great. But, to tell me that I have to get 140 students, who despite being in school 10+ years are reading at a second grade level, reading at grade level is nuts.
I really care about each and every one of my students and I really want them to have happy, health futures. I care, a lot.
But, I feel like the little boy I'm in the book "The Emperors New Clothes."
I couldn't latch onto an unrealistic goal. I couldn't repeat it and I couldn't work toward it.
A ridiculous goal is demoralizing, not uplifting. You might as well require that I teach the children how to fly. Maybe it is the people pleaser in me but I do not want to be handed an impossible task.
Plus, it seems smarmy to me. Shady. Like a used car salesman saying that all of his cars are in perfect condition. I wouldn't have much confidence in a principal that set such a goal. I would wonder where else he was just spinning his wheels. Would any of his declarations hold water?
Thank you for helping me not feel crazy! It's been a tough week, to say the least.
Those of you who responded that you understand my admin's goal, thank you as well. It helped me understand a bit more of what they are thinking.
If your supervisor repeats the 100% goal to you, merely reply, "Yeah, well I want a house in the Bahamas, but that's not going to happen either."
Sep 11, 2010
Not what I would suggest.
I wouldn't reply that way to a peer, much less a supervisor.
ETA: And I don't reply to kids, my own or the ones I teach, in that manner either.
Yea. I am going to have to agree with Alice there. That would not win a friend in your administrator.
I agree that we should set high goals for our students. Perhaps 100% may seem unattainable and for some kids, it realistically is - just saying. BUT, and here is the BIG BUT, if I see a year or more of growth in my students in the first half of the year, and I see motivation and a positive light in them that was never there before... And by the 2nd half of the year they have made even more significant growth that I can not only show on paper, but have documented evidence of in their writing and reading ability, then I have met the goal of 100% passing. Because for these kids - I have given them something they never had before. I give the HOPE that they can have a future, they can graduate, and they can be successful. I teach elementary school. But I teach for the future. THAT my friend is well over 100% passing. Just for the record, my kids do exceptionally well on standardized tests too.
So, which of your students won't make it?
My point stands. If you feel the goal is impossible then you are saying that some of your kids won't make it. If you can tell yourself which ones they are already then you've given up on yourself as a teacher and them as a student.
That's not true. I can tell you which of my students won't walk by the end of the year. His physical limitations will simply prevent him from doing so. Does that make me a poor teacher? Why should it be different with mental capacity?
Does this lofty goal phenom apply to other fields too? Should my daughter's orthopaedic surgeon say that 100% of his patients will be pain free by the end of the year? That they will all be walking without aid? That's a great goal, isn't it? But is it attainable? Or would it be more reasonable to look at each patient and develop a more appropriate goal?
Aliceacc/SCTeachInTX - It was a joke, obviously.
It's simply a matter of political correctness crossing sanity.
As sarcastic as the beginning of your second paragraph is, in the future it may very well be the norm.
Slowly, but surely, we can't tell anyone what they can't do.
Personal example, close relative. Very special needs. Thirty years old now, no job, living at home. Too proud to do the jobs he can and lacks the mental capacity to perform the jobs he wants to do. His school prepared him for this life by not acknowledging his short comings, much like this 100% goal for kids that clearly cannot accomplish it. I say embrace it, always give them the opportunity to try more, but also encourage them to try other avenues in life.
Sep 12, 2010
The NCLB says that in order for all of us to meet AYP we will have to have all of our students 100% proficient in math and reading by 2014. They want perfection, and we all know that for some children this is a ridiculous goal. I would love to see our federal government be 100% proficient in anything!
Well, my school, and most of the high schools around here haven't met AYP for a couple of years. For reasons beyond their control. If students don't show up for testing we get dinged on the attendance portion. There have been other issues too. If having 95% proficiency on reading keeps my school from getting AYP I just have to accept that.
I like to think of myself as pretty upbeat and optimistic about my teaching and my students, but my reaction to the 100% is also that of "wait, what!?". Especially now that my school has been placed into "Corrective Action" under NCLB, and will soon face restructuring.
A few of you commented that 100% is a goal that must exist, for otherwise it would single out individual students as "unable to achieve". I will take an unpopular stand here it seems, and argue that yes, I feel we can (to a fair degree of accuracy, not perfectly of course) tell which students will not pass the state tests, and which likely won't. It's a tad early to make such predictions this instant, but I can start to ballpark it by early October. Some of my students are very clearly smarter than others.... period. I don't mean to be cruel here, but that's simply reality. Just like some students are clearly better at drawing than others, or sports, or singing, or whatever.
I was one of those kids who really wanted to get into art (my father was an artist), but no matter how much I tried, I just couldn't make my drawings look like those of some of my classmates. My art teacher would repeatedly say "if you just try hard enough, you too can do it!". But after a few years of these art classes, I quickly realized that while I was getting a bit better, I just couldn't do what some of the others kids were doing. And the "just try harder" argument was driving me nuts because I was trying as hard as I possibly could.... and that wasn't enough apparently.
This is happening in our classrooms too. Students are trying their absolute hardest (not all of them of course, but many), and yet still can't "get" math or reading like some of their peers do. So.... why are so many educators afraid of admitting that academic ability varies tremendously among different kids? Some of those kids, despite our and their own best efforts, will be unable to achieve the state "proficiency" goal. That's not to say we need to be telling these kids "oh well, you just can't do it, so forget about it" ... but we also need to be realistic. We freely discuss how ability levels can vary in areas such as athletics, art, music, etc, and yet when it comes to things like reading and math, we jump off that ship and argue that everyone can be at the same spot with those. Why is that?
It's simply reality that many of our kids that score in the 30th or lower percentile (I'm guesstimating here) on the typically administered IQ tests, will have an extremely hard time (if not an impossible time) meeting state proficiency goals. Can some make it? Of course... we see it every year, and it thrills me to no end. But will all of them make it? No. That's just life. Now, and the faster we accept that, the faster we can throw out the absurdity that is NCLB , and move on.
<<Can some make it? Of course... we see it every year, and it thrills me to no end. But will all of them make it? No. >>
Which is why I continue to ask if you really don't expect them all to make it which ones are you saying won't? We all know kids who blow us away each year and make it. Those kids who make 10 percentile jumps out of nowhere. I refuse to ever say to myself or my kids that it is impossible when clearly it isn't.
The ones who don't care. The ones whose parents only bring them to school twice a week. The ones who get in fights every morning so that they can be sent home. The ones using and selling drugs during lunch.
I EXPECT the Federal and State budgets to be balanced every year.
I also EXPECT no cuts to be made to education as we're already cut to the bone.
Don't give me any tax increases either!!!!!
Gotta love political pipe dreams that have nothing to do with reality and this is no different.
Sep 13, 2010
It is not a perfect world...
I hope that all of my students use the opportunities they are given. However, I can't go into their brains and make them listen to me, work on assignments, or come to school.
I did not create all of society's problems. I can just do my best, hope/pray, and most of all- be there.
Sep 14, 2010
Yet this is the wonderful world of NO Child left behind. You are responsible for their failures regardless of reality.
Separate names with a comma.