Discussion in 'General Education' started by mariecurie, Dec 16, 2013.
Dec 16, 2013
In your opinion, what is an acceptable fail rate?
Officially, my SOL rate has nothing to do with my continuing contract. Unofficially... there's a lot that a principal can do to make your life stink.
As for an acceptable fail rate... way too many factors to list. If you're a special ed teacher working exclusively with kids with multiple disabilities and operating at a pre-primer level, then any failure rate better than 100% should be seen as a success.
My admin likes to see failure rates under 15%. They love seeing single-digit failure rates.
It's not. At all. And, although I could easily calculate it, I've never had to. There was one year where our admin came to us and said that too many of our Grade 9s were failing or in danger of and that we were to pull out all the stops to make sure they had every opportunity to achieve.
No impact at all and it shouldn't.
But, failing students is a hassle for Admin, especially if you are failing Seniors. Fail too many students and you will get put on Admin's hit list.
All my kids are college prep; they had to beat out a LOT of other kids to even be accepted to the school. So it's not a question of them being unable to do the work.
One year with a lot of failures could be a case of a weak class. But if any teacher continually had a high failure rate, then I could see the argument being made that he or she was unable to effectively explain the material in such a way that the kids could understand it.
Class grades- little to none. I can see it being an occasional issue if a teacher was failing everyone or passing everyone, but nothing structured. SOL pass rates are considered- student growth is 40% of our criteria and SOLs are part of that, but that's it.
OP, I am curious, why do you ask that?
an "acceptable" (maybe there is a better word choice here) fail rate is one where the % of students who fail the class is exactly = to the % of students who were unwilling or unable to make a 70% during the grading period. as you might guess, I teach math.
Dec 17, 2013
I do too, but I don't agree.
I realize that some classes are simply a bad mix or a group without adequate background.
But there are some teachers whose standards are incredibly high, and some whose abilities are incredibly low. If you have a "good" group of kids-- kids who have never experienced real academic trouble before-- then the expectation is that the vast majority of them should be able to continue on without academic trouble. If they suddenly hit a teacher where the vast majority of them are unable to pass, then perhaps it's about the teacher.
I once worked with a teacher whose credentials were sterling. It was his first year, but he had gone to TC at Columbia, (and was willing to make sure that we all knew it), so of COURSE that meant that he was the best teacher in the building. Except, of course, that he couldn't teach. I realized the extent of the issue when the brightest kid in the grade-- a kid who had gotten a 100% on my Comprehensive the year before and eventually became valedictorian of a class of 500+ kids-- failed Jim's first trimester exam. In fact, Jim was arrogant enough to announce to the class that NO ONE had passed the exam-- the same exam taken and passed by all the kids in that level who had other teachers.
Let's just say that he didn't work in my school for long. Our job as teachers is to be able to explain the material in such a way that the overwhelming majority of our kids can understand and internalize it.
Sometimes it's not about the kids or their work ethic or their preparation. Sometimes it's about the teacher.
Oh, Alice, I've seen that before too. I've also seen the burned out teacher that was fabulous who eventually let the little things get to her. When that happened, it became about how awful the students were and that is the reason for the failures. It wasn't that the teacher stopped coming to class on time, reading power points every two weeks, and calling the kids names all the time. Assignments degenerated to word searches and a self-taught class. Grading went undone for weeks at a time, but it was the students that were the problem.
It is sad when this happens. It is good that your school recognizes ineffectiveness right away. It is sad when it is allowed to go on for several years before the administration gets enough information to give the teacher a choice to resign or be terminated.
None of what I said means that all teachers are like this, but to ignore the fact that there are ineffective teachers out there whether they start that way or develop into ineffective teachers, we can't always blame the students for lack of learning even though it is a great and handy tool to eliminate responsibility of the teacher.
Exactly. And sometimes, though not always, an excessively high failure rate is a symptom of bad teaching.
alice, I agree with you 100%. My post was predicated on the assumption that the teacher IS, in fact, teaching.
But how many of the ineffective ones will say they aren't teaching? Most will claim they are teaching and doing a darn good job of it. It is the students that are the problem or the administrator or...
Right. "Jim" in the example I used honestly thought that he was the most magnificent teacher in the building, and that the problem was the kids... all 180 of them.
:lol:I got a chuckle out of this. in a weird sort of way, I have always admired those that were so completely self unaware. not that I would wish that upon myself.
I don't think you have gotten any hard data that you were looking for so here is mine (just for comparison sake)...this is 2 years of data and is reflective of total year grades, not per individual grading periods. YMMV.
algebra 2.....34% did not pass the class.
statistics...0% "failure rate" meaning everyone passed
geometry...6% "failure rate" 94% passed the course
precalculus...0% "failure rate"
My P has given me a hard time about the first class. I ignore it and tell him that he can change the grades if he wishes but I won't. I will not pass a child who is not able or willing to do the work. It's an ethics issue with me.
hope this is helpful to you.
Are you tenured?
Last semester, 16% did not pass my class. Right now, I'm rocking about a 28% fail rate, but most will pull it up at the last moment (4 weeks until end of semester)
no. but I wouldn't want to teach where I am asked to "cheat". Passing kids who are not ready/able to move on is doing them a grave injustice imo.if those above me want to change grades to meet a graduation quota, that is their prerogative. I just want to be left out of it.
Dec 18, 2013
I am looking at almost half of one class failing this semester. I have never had a class of students this low before. But I set up my courses so that a student that struggles with tests has plenty of opportunity to pull up those grades with projects and other work. I do not have a single student failing that works hard. Or even works moderately, lol.
I once had a principal that commented on my numbers. She went through every.single.student that had a D or an F with me at the midpoint of the semester. Even though she was new to the school, she acted as though she knew each individual student. She said that when she was in the classroom she never had numbers like mine. So I asked her what she did that I did differently. Teach me your ways, oh Wise One. She never had a suggestion and never came back into my classroom.
I don't worry too much about class averages any longer. I know I do my part and that a child that fails my on-level class does so by choice. Then again, I teach high school where students have much more control over their circumstances than little ones.
one thing that helps in these conversations is to have solid to good scores on your observations. since these are done, at least in my district, by a number of different people it takes the "good teacher/bad teacher" discussion out of the equation. make sure to reference these in these type discussions with the P. (not necessarily directed at you so much as to others that might be in similar situations.
My school has a higher than average fail rate because it is so difficult to engage students from a distance. Fortunately, those who evaluate us are aware of this hurdle and help us find solutions rather than squishing us on our reviews. I'm saying this just a few minutes after a walk-through where my evaluator (newly promoted from my former team) and I really hashed out ways to increase my pass rate and how I could promote some of my best practices to the rest of the department.
Oh, to add to what I said earlier, I am not on a contract but am at-will. If my fail rate was consistently in the toilet, I could be placed on an improvement plan or dismissed, no matter how many years I've been teaching. Thankfully, that has never been the case.
As an administrator, I would be far more concerned with the teachers that never have failing students.
It depends upon a variety of factors but seventy percent of it rides on your failure rate.
I like it that way.
Dec 19, 2013
But you're in elementary, correct? Do they ever fail anyone in elementary? In all of the threads on here it sure seems like social promotion is the norm.
I would never work at a school that based my retention or pay on grading. My grades reflect student mastery of the content; that's all grades should do at the high school level. Incentivizing teachers to inflate grades is professionally abhorrent.
I absolutely support my school basing a portion of my pay on student performance on standardized tests. Those are valid and reliable.
I would too. 70% means no more than 30% comes from observations, school performance, VAM, SLOs, etc.
So, just don't fail anyone and that 70% is good to go.
Dec 20, 2013
My seventy percent includes most of those things though.
Being held accountable is fine by me. I have no problem with meeting expectations (and even exceeding them). It motivates me and my team.
I love my school and district and I like how things get done.
Separate names with a comma.