They all failed :(

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by BeckyPie7, May 27, 2008.

  1. BeckyPie7

    BeckyPie7 Companion

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    May 27, 2008

    What do you do when all of your students fail a test? I had two Ds and the rest of the students in the class recieved Fs. I flipped. First, I checked and double checked the scantron to make sure I hadn't made a mistake. Then, I checked to see if there was any questions that every child missed. There weren't any. The missed questions were all over the board. After that, I hoped that their essay answers would bring their grades up. I graded those rather leniently and they still failed because most of them didn't do it, did it incorrectly, or simply wrote a few incoherent sentences.
    I started thinking about curving the grades, but that would be a 25pt curve.
    What would you do in this situation? I'm planning on going over the answers with them. They do have a final exam to bring their grade up, but this has brought a bunch of them down quite a bit.
    I just don't get it. I gave them a study guide. I reviewed with them. I gave them a crossword puzzle that went over most of the answers and even asked some of the exact questions. I gave them a study packet that they turned back in to me on the day of the test. We went over it. This packed had some of the exact questions and answers. I don't know how I could have made it easier.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oh no! That must take the wind out of your sails.

    Is there any way to take that failed test and turn it into a review and PRETEST to help workshop the content? The only other option I can think of is to find a different style of test.

    What were you testing in particular?
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Please don't take this the wrong way, but are you sure that you presented the material in a way the students understood?

    It could be that they didn't understand the material, even with all the studying that you supplied them with. If two-three passed the test, then I would think it would be that they didn't study, but since none of them passed, I would look to make sure that the material was presented in a way they could understand and "get".
     
  5. mandagap06

    mandagap06 Devotee

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    I am not a certified teacher but my suggestion is to either drop the grade or re-test them if at possible. My teacher's in Hs school would prob have counted the pretest as a grade or something simular. Hope this helps and I know its hard for them I strugled in school and now that I am in college its hard,but I try and study. Hopefully they studied!
     
  6. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I actually had this happen to me. I had a few A's, B's, and C's, but the majority failed. I gave out the same exact test with no review and they did it again. Don't ask me why, but after they did it again the majority got really good grades.
     
  7. BeckyPie7

    BeckyPie7 Companion

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    I wonder that everyday. I try multiple things with that class but I have a ton of behavior problems in the class who keep everyone from doing the work. I'm, literally, at the end of my rope with that class. I present the material but the chances of most of them paying attention are slim to none. They talk right over me. When I pause and inform them I'm waiting for them to stop talking. They continue to talk. I've changed their seats. Tried teaching to those who are trying to pay attention. I've written up those who keep us off task. I've sent them out of the room. Before I did all of these things, I tried talking to them individually and I called home over and over. In a class of 25 students I can count 4 who legitimately try to pay attention. Even then, it must be hard for them. I know the school year is almost over but I really want them to understand the material. However, I know they aren't getting it because they refuse to pay attention. Many of them come into the classroom, plunk down in the seat and announce, in front of everyone, that they won't do any work today. It's classes like this that make me wonder if I'm just some sorry excuse for a teacher. Believe me, at this point, I have no self-esteem when it comes to my profession. Granted, I have those moments when I know they got it and it excites me, but those are so few compared to the moments I spend standing in front of the class and trying to get them to understand simple concepts (can one burn out after two years of teaching?).

    Maybe it's my test format that's rough. I format my tests like the SOLs with short passages and questions that accompany the passages. I thought this would help their scores improve because it would get them used to that format. Perhaps I thought wrong. It seems that all of my efforts are wasted and I am discouraged beyond all comprehension.
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Did your other classes have this same test? How did those students do on this test?

    I know it makes it difficult to teach when students don't pay attention. If that's the case, then they deserve the grades they got. It's their responsibility to know the material and you gave them those opportunities to study.

    And your tests are preparing them for the test they will have to take, so I wouldn't change the format.
     
  9. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    So was this a reading comprehension test? Did it accompany a literature unit? Or was it writing? (I guess basically I'm asking if it was like the reading or the writing SOL, or both.)

    Well, I usually have low test grades on everything except vocabulary tests. But they usually run the gamut from A to F, with the average being a C. It would make me pause if even the best kids did not earn at least a B.

    If this was, say, a literature-based test similar in format to a test you've given in the past, then I'd chalk the low scores up to end-of-the-year-itis (especially if they were required to read on their own--they probably just didn't do it). If this was, say, the first time you tested their ability to correct sentences or identify how a passage was revised, then I'd probably curve it or provide a way to make up points/earn extra credit.

    But you don't HAVE to curve it. I go into tests like the clauses test knowing the class average will be miserable. But then they'll good grades on their journals and vocabulary tests to even it out.

    Just hang in there. The end is in sight!
     
  10. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    This is a class that needs a shock. It is amazing that only 4 students really pay attention. It is really ridiculous when students can walk in and announce they aren't doing any work today or just ignore you and continue to talk.I feel sorry for you that you have to work hard and put up with this.I might give the four children that try hard a chance to retake the test or do a project for extra credit. The rest of the class should be given the failing grade they earned.
     
  11. BeckyPie7

    BeckyPie7 Companion

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    Honestly, I think that the tests should be easy. This test was on nonfiction. We did a number of things for nonfiction, most of which, was reading. All of the passages I put in their test were read together in class. We discussed the key terms and themes that went with each passage and we reviewed them over and over.
    All of the passages in the test were ones they had seen and we had discussed. For example, they read a passage and I asked them which word best described the mood of the passage. In the weeks before the test we read that passage/story and discussed the mood. I also asked what type of nonfiction each passage was (autobiography, memoir, essay...). We identified each of these types as we read and we reviewed. I'm unsure as to why they didn't get it, other than the lack of attention. I've given this test before (last semester) and that group of students passed with flying colors. Maybe it is all about the end of the year. :)
     
  12. ChangeAgent

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    May 27, 2008

    BeckyPie7! I had a very similar test experience earlier this year with my learning support 9th graders--on general elements of fiction and nonfiction!

    I had multiple-choice and matching of basic terms (styles of writing, types of nonfiction, Freytag's pyramid, etc.), and brief reading passages (which we read and evaluated in class) with questions pertaining to type, style, and identification of fact v. opinion (for nonfiction pieces) and analysis of character presentation (for fiction pieces). It was relatively brief. We had had quizzes. I had study guides. We had learned it, reviewed it, and applied it.

    My kids did terribly.

    Luckily for me, I have an aide in the room, and she was able to assure me that the test was not unfair.

    However, I was not going to just toss the test. I don't know how you grade, but I grade by earned points divided by total possible points. I don't weight. In this case, I literally took the 50 point test and counted it only for 25 (all 1-point questions became .5-point questions, etc.). While they still failed if they failed under the original point values, overall it may not negatively impact them beyond all hope of passing.

    Hang in there!
     
  13. MathTeacher29

    MathTeacher29 Rookie

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    I have a class just like yours. Over half my students have previously failed the course, and they have not learned their lesson. The come to class to socialize, when they bother to come to school. I've had only half my class show up at least once or twice a week. On previous tests they did poorly on I spent half the class reteaching the material and answering questions and them they did a worksheet to earn points back on their test. They did horrible on their last test, but after looking at their attendance and their attitude in class I told them they were keeping their grades. They were shocked, they were expecting me to let them make up points.
    A fellow teacher had a a class of students get together and plan to fail a test, assuming she would plan a redo test and they would have more time to study. They all failed, and they actually told her their plan. She kept their grades of course.
     
  14. MrL

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    May 27, 2008

    I gotta go with Kell. This late in the year a little life lesson isn't bad. The ones who MIGHT care will realize they need to work their keister off to get the next semester where a college will bother to look.
     
  15. jenngugs

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    Seriously, did my class migrate over to your school?? You've pretty much described my senior English class. The majority are knuckleheads who failed last year's class, not because of lack of ability, but rather because they lost credit due to too many absences. They are bitter about retaking the class, and therefore feel like they should have to do nothing more than simply show up. I've had assessments before where the majority have failed, even though the test questions asked for personal opinions. Most of my problem comes from poor attendance- at least 25% of my class is out for one reason or another on any given day (guidance appt, job interview, cutting, legitamately ill, etc). I'm not sure if you have a similar problem, but students are constantly missing information and then can't be bothered to ask me or a classmmate what they missed. Then, when it comes time for the test, they fail. I feel as though I do my job by preparing the class with thorough reviews for tests, and reminding my students daily that I am available for help every single day before and after school. I don't have time to constantly re-teach due to absences, even though the absent students think they are entitled to my undivided attention in class when they return. If they don't come to learn the material, it's on them. It's like the saying goes..."You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
     
  16. New3rdTeacher

    New3rdTeacher Comrade

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    May 27, 2008

    Throw out the test and reteach everything, I have done that
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I had a similar situation earlier in the year with my Latin II H students (two sections). We prepared thoroughly by going over previous translations and passages in class and talking about the grammar, syntax, and content of each. Students had multiple opportunities to raise questions; few did so, assuring me that they "got it". When I called on students to translate, most were prepared with fairly accurate translations...which led me to believe that they actually knew what they were talking about.

    I showed students the format of the test, which is similar to the format of the AP Latin test (for which they are already beginning to prepare, believe it or not). They were not or shouldn't have been surprised at the format of the test, although it was different from our tests in the past.

    What made me so upset is that on this test, worth just over 50 points, students were scoring 3 points! Are you kidding me?! I honestly felt (though never said to my students) that a monkey with a typewriter could have produced a better translation.

    And what's more, both the excerpts on the test came directly (verbatim!) from the passages we had read in the previous weeks. There were or should have been zero surprises on this test. Especially since every single student turned in a completed, fairly accurate translation to me for each of the passages in the unit. Hmm... And that makes me think that they're copying each other's work.

    In the end, I offered a make-up exam, which I administered at one set time on one day after school. None of this "But I'm busy that day!" Too bad! Of my 30 or so who earned an F, 9 showed up for the make-up. Of those, 6 actually finished the make-up--3 turned in blank tests.

    The make-up exam was in the same format, but the passages were slightly longer and, in my opinion, more difficult. I felt that if they really wanted to earn the grade, they'd put forth the elbow grease and earn it.
     
  18. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    May 27, 2008

    I'm with cassie on this one. Offer a make up, but make it harder than the original. They need to wake up and smell the coffee. Life rarely gives second chances, and they're old enough to start learning that now. If they really want to improve the grade, they'll work for it. You did everything YOU could have done to prepare them for it, now they have to do their jobs, or suffer the consequence.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 27, 2008

    The other thing about offering a make-up to all your students is that at the end of the year/semester, you can always tell mom or the principal or whoever else might be complaining that it was out of your hands once you offered the make-up, and that it was the student's choice to fail. There's no real arguing with the facts.
     
  20. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Excellent point, cassie. Will you move to miami and be my personal mentor next year?
     
  21. Turtle321

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    May 27, 2008

    I agree!
     
  22. Turtle321

    Turtle321 Companion

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    May 27, 2008

    Agreed.
     
  23. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    May 27, 2008

    If you feel confident you truly taught the material and did your part in insuring the students should do well on the test - and I think we all know whether we have taught our best or not with just a little reflection - then I feel, based on what information I have about the circumstances, the test should stick. You have high school students making poor choices. My sixth graders didn't take a unit seriously because it was just before summer and they didn't think it mattered (?) but it of course did, and the numerous Fs counted because I was sure it was them and not me. Sometimes, it might be me and a need to reteach in a different manner to reach the students, but sometimes it is simply their lack of effort.
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    :lol:

    Miami is waaay too muggy for my tastes. It's why I live in the desert!
     
  25. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    May 27, 2008

    I would give a make-up test as well, but honestly I have never had to deal with this situation, so the best of luck to you.
     
  26. Weazy

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    It is encouraging to read that I am not the only teacher to have a classroom full of underachievers. I, too, just gave a final to my general class and the majority failed. Normally, this would upset me, but this class has not put forth any effort the entire semester, despite all my attempts to keep them interested and encourage their success. Unfortunately, I believe the "I don't care attitiude" thrives at home with parents, and carries over to their schoolwork. I will not give up my efforts to teach these students, but I will not change their grades either. They need to understand that hard work pays off; a lesson they are not being taught at home.
     
  27. Vegas Art Guy

    Vegas Art Guy Rookie

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    If they failed, they failed. Let them learn from their mistakes. Maybe they'll actually pay attention the next time around. You can't continually hold their hands and expect them to learn anything, especially since you gave the test last year and they seemed to do OK.

    They earned the F, let them enjoy it.
     
  28. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Well, darn it....how bout a visit in December. It's really nice then (mostly).
     
  29. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Okay, fine. You twisted my arm. :)
     
  30. BeckyPie7

    BeckyPie7 Companion

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    Wow, thanks for all of the advice. I'm glad I'm not the only one.
    Honestly, I get so discouraged because most of my classes are full of students who just don't seem to care. Very few of them even try to study. Most of them seem to think it's my job to jump around and entertain them every second of the class. While I do try to plan interesting and engaging lessons, there are just some things we have to do that aren't always "fun." For example, writing (Don't get me wrong, I think it's fun, they don't).
    I guess all I can do is look back at the year and try to improve upon what I'm already doing. It's just hard not to get down on myself when it comes to this time of year.
     
  31. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Becky, its time for them to learn that LIFE is not always fun. How many chores do you do that totally stink, but you do them because they must be done. This goes for you job as well as your home and personal life. There's nobody out there making folding the laundry fun. Our P's aren't standing over our shoulders making up a song about entering grades. It's boring, it's no fun, but it's part of our lives and jobs so we do it so we can get to the other parts of the job that ARE enjoyable. These are high schoolers. It's time they learned that lesson.
     
  32. Carmen13

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    It can be frustrating. In the beginning of the year, I had a similar situation happening with my grade 11 Math class: only 2 out of 21 students passed the first test. This class includes a few students that are repeating, still I was very discouraged with the general results. I felt sick. (literally) after correcting the tests! It's obvious that we don't like such results and question ourselves, even though we know that the students are not doing their job. One way I responded to these results (and you may want to try it next year) was suggesting a tutoring hour for those who wanted. This is one more way that you have to "get" to the students that care about studying and passing, besides making their parents realize that you care enough for your class to give this extra help. It did make wonders in my class because I was able to work more individually with some students, and those that went to the tutoring improved their grades. Besides this, you may want to diversify the way you evaluate the students: give a few mini-tests, make the students work in groups sometimes (and grade this work), make them go to the board and explain something, etc. All this helps, because the students will realize that "all" that they do, continuously, matters!

    Right now, 3 of my students (who failed this class last year and never answered a single question on each test) have dropped the class. Out of the 18 students left, I will probably pass between 10 and 12. This is not a great result, but I know that I did all I could. The ones that are not passing just don't study at all.
    The great thing about this class is that they are all nice ( 17 boys and one girl in the class)...a bit chatty, but nice. But last year I had chatty, lazy and not that nice! And when this happens, I admit that one feels little motivation to give an extra help...
     
  33. BeckyPie7

    BeckyPie7 Companion

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    Okay, so I put the grades in for that class, along with the zeros the majority of them got for copying their research papers (or failing to turn them in). If I were to turn in the grades today I would only pass 5 out of my 23 person class. Holy Cow! They are going to hate me tomorrow when I give them progress reports.
     
  34. Carmen13

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    I am panicking right now as I correct the tests my students' tests (the class I mentioned before). The multiple choice results are horrible! I think they decided to start their Summer vacation ahead of time! :|They had 2 mini-tests this period (together they count as a test) and the results were not overly bad...but the test results are worse so far. Oh, I should have accepted one of my students suggestion, to only test the students where I had doubts of the grade! Why didn't I follow his wise advice?:rolleyes:
     
  35. Carmen13

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    With a bit of luck some may try to accuse you of not having "controlled" their chattiness efficiently and make them pay attention, etc...I had this happening last year, with a grade 11 class, after having reported their very bad tests results. I had a very serious reaction to this remark, talked with them and told them that, from then on, I would not allow any chatty talk (whatsoever). So my classes changed and got a lot more enjoyable from then on... at least for me! All my students had a "talking" problem, not just a few, so it was funny to see how they had to change, since it was one of them making the suggestion that "talking was bad for them"! :D
     
  36. forchange

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    Becky,

    It seems like if your classes that the class culture you're describing, there is little you can do this year to fix it. I would try for some kind of compromise that assists those students (and there are always some) who are trying.

    Everyone talks about how hellish your first year of teaching is, but I think second year is only a little better and if you change schools or subjects, third and fourth year can be trying too. I'm in my fourth year and only this year have a class culture (90% of the time) where talking really isn't permitted while I'm speaking and *everyone* is doing the assigned work. I wouldn't advise you to give up, but I also wouldn't advise you to stop taking any responsibility. Do what feels right in your gut for this year and then plan for next year with gusto. I agree, making sure that you have management down is the first step in making sure you get a chance to teach.

    One full class consequence that we use at my school is called "problem papers." So if I can't teach, they all have to write me a letter about what I expect their behavior to look like, what it actually looked like, and what impact that has on their ability to achieve their dreams. They don't like class consequences (a view I definitely understand), but there are times when there are too many students talking for individual consequences (and I honestly can't even keep track of everyone who *might* be talking).

    I also don't know how your reward system works, but if you don't have one or it is inconsistent, I would also suggest changing that. I don't have cards or anything (like the elementary people), but I get quizzes and tests hanging up with huge stickers as fast as I can and it's very cute to see how much they matter to my 7th graders. They get very antsy if I fall behind with my grading. I do a ton of posting successes and exemplar student work.
     
  37. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I would toss the test and reteach. I had to do that last year a few times.
     
  38. Carmen13

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    How did things end Becky?
     
  39. BeckyPie7

    BeckyPie7 Companion

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    Well, I told the students that they could see me any time during my planning bell to get extra help. I also told them that they could take a make-up test after school on June 9th. I've mentioned it everyday since but I haven't had a single student come to see me during my planning block. I also get no raised hands when I ask if anyone is planning on taking the test after school. I guess they truely don't care and, if that's the case, the grades stick.
     
  40. wig

    wig Devotee

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    I think you are being more than fair. Hopefully some will show up to take the test. They maybe didn't want to raise their hand because of peer pressure. It is sad that they are choosing to fail.
     
  41. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I also think you did the fair thing. Your students must have some accountability for their grades. If they aren't willing to put in some extra effort to get a better grade, then they should be stuck with what they earned the first time around.

    Don't lose too much sleep over this one. Your students certainly haven't.
     

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