Tying in academic grades with behavior

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Now, believe me, I know the initial reaction of most - behavior should be separate of grades. Poor behavior should not influence a students grade average but instead be dealt with separately.

    Here's my situation. I have one class a day that is total chaos. I guess it's my fault as a bad teacher for letting it get this far but believe me when I tell you that I've tried everything - EVERYTHING. If I'm a terrible classroom manager, I still somehow manage my other classes just fine because there are no significant problems. I've never given out a detention or had to bribe with rewards in any of my other classes throughout my day. However, this class is on a whole other level. It is small group resource room (as is my other classes) so there are only 8 students. Of the 8, 4 of them are very well-behaved and genuinely want to learn and succeed.

    As for the other 4,

    Student 1 - comes in every day with wild eyes like he's on something (there's no other way to describe it). He will not stay quite for even 10 seconds - and I've timed it. He just rambles uncontrollably no matter what is going on. If he can't think of anything to comment on, he just sits and sings loudly. I've moved his chair so he faces a wall but he still twists his body around and just rambles out of control like you would expect of someone on some kind of illegal stimulant.

    Student 2 - just does whatever he feels like. If he wants to talk, he talks. If he wants to sing, he sings. If he wants to walk across the room and shove someone jokingly, he does. You get the picture?

    Student 3 - talks, gets up, wrestles other students in the middle of my classroom, etc. Sometimes he threatens me. "What are you going to do? I'll knock you out..." And then laughs and says "Just kidding."

    Student 4 - If the other 3 are acting crazy - which they almost always are - takes that as a green light to just join in the chaos. On top of that, he constantly calls out in class how I’m a bad teacher because he’s failing my class. It’s my fault that he pays no attention to me, does almost no work and never studies.

    Everything I’ve tried has failed. No rewards motivate them and nothing deters them. Yes, I’ve called parents, sent them to the office (which is frowned upon but the VP BTW), and taken away privileges. I’ve also tried every rewards system I could think of.

    Yes, they all have ADHD, ODD, and learning disabilities. I can’t imagine that this is a sufficient excuse for their behaviors.

    I’m giving them a test on Wed. I would bet anything that the four of them continue to shout and act wild during their test. I think it’s grossly unfair to the other 4 who are trying to take the test to have to endure these 4 students. It will most certainly negatively impact their test performance. Plus, there has to be some consequences for acting this way. I want to deduct 5 points every time they talk. This will most certainly mean that the 4 of them will fail since they talk constantly. But what else can I do? Am I wrong to tie in behavior with grades this way? I just don’t know what else to do.
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Do you really think it will make a difference? If they are failing, will the 5 points matters?
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Our provincial assessment and evaluation policies clearly state that our grades must be a reflection of the student's mastery of the curriculum expectations (standards). Learning skills are reflected separately on the report card. If a student's behaviour is seriously impacting their ability to learn, their grades may reflect that, as they aren't able to master the concepts. For the upcoming test, is there a way you can find another quiet spot for your diligent students to write?
     
  5. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I wish I could find another spot for them but this isn't one. I'm on my own and I can't monitor them somewhere else. Plus, can I really just allow the difficult ones to talk out of control during a test. What do I do when they start comparing answers? There has to be some consequence for this behavior, no?
     
  6. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I think with older students, a grade is like a performance evaluation at a workplace - nothing is off the table. If I walked into work and acted like the 4 students Jerseygirl described, I'm sure that behavior would reflect unfavorably in my performance evaluation even if I was really good at the technical aspects of my job.

    We had guys in the Air Force who were outstanding crewmembers in the air. But once the First Sergeant had to get them out of jail one too many times, they were gone.
     
  7. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    But in a performance review, your friends in the air force would get high marks on flying skills, but low scores when it comes to insubordination or troublemaking.

    Likewise, on a report card, there should be an area to report on academics, and an area to report on behavior. If I gave a student a mark of 50%, I have indicated that this student has achieved 50% mastery of the curriculum outcomes in a given term. Removing marks for behavior is not only ineffective, in that these students often don't care for marks anyway, but also unfair.
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    They would get an overall low performance report. I know this from experience - I was good at my job, but I had as much military bearing as a springer spaniel. My performance evaluations suffered greatly for it.
     
  9. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    So should we pass kids who never do a lick of work, but ace every test? Should they get diplomas?

    Would you hire that person, knowing that's what the diploma was based on?
     
  10. txteach26

    txteach26 Rookie

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    I've often used a "participation" component as a percentage of the final six-weeks grade. As Sarge said, participation/behavior (or lack thereof) is an important part of any job evaluation.
     
  11. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Dec 18, 2010

     
  12. hac711

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    Dec 19, 2010

    They don't seem to care about marks or school in general. What do you teach? Is it an academic class, or elective? If it is an elective, can you just show them a video, or have them do a project that doesn't involve a lot of thought (like design a company with a employee uniform and building). I always tell kids that threaten to hit me that if they touch me I will hit them back and believe me it will be ten times worse. When they say you can't touch me! I say wanna bet? I have every right to protect myself. Usually that is enough. I had a student push me and I grabbed her hand and pressure pointed her (long story, it was in a last chance school known for violence, she got suspended for 2 weeks for assult and the school was actually impressed that I knew how to do that). If you don't feel like you can do that, can you call student support, or do they not do anything? I am so sorry this is happening. Sometimes kids are just bad. There, I said it. As for the druggie...if he is on stimulants I would be careful, since a side effect is violent tendencies. Good luck??
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    So, when kids misbehave, we don't hold them accountable for learning? We give them mindless activities that require little or no thought? I think that's a terrible, terrible idea. We have an obligation to teach our kids to think. If we put on movies when they behave inappropriately, we're not doing what we're legally and morally contracted to do.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that this is terrible classroom management. In many places it's also illegal. In my district, for example, we're not allowed to use restraint unless it's specified in an IEP and we are explicitly named in that IEP as a teacher authorized to use restraint. If you're not expressly authorized to touch, it's a bad, bad idea.

    Also, I recommend against getting into power struggles and arguments with students. Every time you do, you give the impression that they have a chance to win. They don't.
     
  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I would be saying good-bye to my job.
     
  16. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Yes avoid the power struggle as much as possible. I also don't believe in using restraint unless you are trained in it. There are already so many things that could go wrong, why add another thing?

    You really can find other strategies. Know that it is a hard class, with hard students, but you can do something.
     
  17. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    If they ace every test? Of course! A diploma says that the student has achieved a high school education. If they are capable of acing every test, they should graduate.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree with you. If they can ace the test, they have mastered the content.
     
  19. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    A couple of things...

    First of all, aside from this one group of 4 students, I absolutely love my job and my students. I do teach an academic area - social studies.

    It would be unfair of me to just show this one class videos or do busy work with them all day because first of all, I feel obligated to at least try to educate them and second, because I have 4 students in that particular class that make an effort to learn and succeed.

    As for me threatening them back, I'm a 120 lb. woman and these are athletic teenage boys. Believe me, they're not intimidated by me physically.

    Three of the students in question in either failing or close to it but they do want to pass if only because of the threat of summer school. The other one is doing well academically. I know this is terrible to say but I almost wish he wasn't because I find it so unfair to give him high marks when his antics make it impossible for my "good" students to learn. This is part of the reason I want to tie behavior into academic performance.

    I want to be a fair teacher and I want to reward with high grades whenever possible. But I feel like my "good" students and I are being held hostage by the antics of my difficult ones and I need to come up with a solution that works.
     
  20. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Dec 19, 2010

    Go to wholebrainteaching.com and check into the following, all free by the way:

    The Bullseye Game
    Industrial Strength Whole Brain Teaching
    The Agreement Bridge.

    These may be of great help in addressing your problems.
     
  21. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    This person might be the BEST candidate for the job. This student did work. He took the tests and aced them.

    What is the job? What do they want? Seems this candidate can give a flawless final product. What would you rather for some jobs, a candidate that has to do many steps to reach a flawless end result or someone who can produce.

    We aren't producing robots and it seems as if your example student had no need for the mindless work inbetween. Seriously, if all there were were tests in the grade, not projects and written assignments, seems Mr. Candidate thought through what was important and worked smart, not hard.
     
  22. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Term papers, projects, and portfolios are not "mindless work." They are things that demonstrate not just content knowledge, but also a student's academic work ethic as well.

    A student who aces tests but turns in no assigned work whatsoever would likely be an employee who learns quickly. But learning quickly is only one aspect of job performance in the real world. Not only do you need to know how to do the job, you also need to actually do the job when called upon.
     
  23. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Could you give each of the four a corner of the room with a desk or chair facing the corner? Then, offer them the opportunity to join you when they have finished their tirade. (So in introducing your new plan, you would start with all in the center. Then, you would say these are the class procedures to allow all to learn. If you get interrupted, send interrupter to the corner and just continue, saying, that is a choice to go sit in the corner. When you can contain yourself, raise your hand to gain permission back to the group. Carefully define what gets them cornered and returned. Don't make it up as you go. Be clear.) Meanwhile, keep the four good ones clustered in the center with you. Praise them. Loudly. Keep the lesson going. Give them ear plugs that are dedicated to them by name (otherwise eeewwwwwwwwwwwwww:)) for the testing times.
    Then, make a rubric for daily class session.
    1. sits attentively in class (which is a job skill and a school skill necessary at all levels)---15 points
    2. participates in class properly (another life, job and school skill)---15 points
    3. objectives
    4. content knowledge
    5. evaluation
    whatever you need to do to meet your school and state standards would be the remaining 70 percent. Get it approved by principal or supervisor or whomever and USE IT daily. Send home a copy daily. (who cares if it gets home, the point is that THEY see the fruit of their labor in a concrete, consistent way.)

    Then, when you have #4 join you instead of them, make a big deal about it. Praise him/her. When you see the slightest inkling of progress, praise them. The first time one of them makes it through the class, call home and praise them. Tell someone like a coach and praise them. Keep chipping away. This is a large problem that can only be approached by careful strategy on your part. Also, find ways to befriend them. (For example, "nice haircut, tippy" is a start. Find out their teams and talk to them about their players or whatever. be interested in them and you might find that they have a tougher time being a jerk in your class.)

    Rome wasn't built in a day, so just keep at it. It can and will work if you outlast them.:cool:
     
  24. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I would consider those assessments as "tests" too, or summative assessments. I originally was going to disagree with you - I do not think formative assignments - classwork and homework - should receive grades. If a student only passes summative assessments, I think they should still pass the class. That might be a test, paper, project, or portfolio. I think the others who responded to you would probably agree with this.
     
  25. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I was going to respond in a similar manner. However, I chose not too because the response led me to believe no matter how I explained my position, it wouldn't really matter. Also, I saw this thread taking a huge tangent and I didn't want to derail too much.

    I, too, lumped those assessments as "tests" because they are the assessments that show mastery.

    I can't see an employee staying in a job where day after day the majority of the work was mindnumbingly boring and useless to them getting the end product done. Some don't mind work like this and will choose jobs such as those and be blissfully happy with the routine of it. Others, like the student who just passes the tests and doesn't have the stomach for the rest of it will thrive in the right environment. Nice thing, in the work force there are options unlike school.
     
  26. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    PowerTeacher - I just wanted to say I read your post last night and stayed up late going through some of the wholebrainteaching.com site. I'd heard of it before but never really looked into it. I've done rewards systems before but I made a few modifications based on some suggestions and made up my own system. Basically, I separated the class period into 10 minute incriments (there are 40 minutes in total). For every 10 minutes that you follow the classroom rules, you earn a tally mark. The amount of tally marks at the end of the period are your points for the day. When you've earned 40 points (which would be possible in 10 days of full points), you get a 1/2 period "games day" where I'll forgo an assignment and let them play a board game or silent ball or something. I hate to have them miss work since I feel like everything I assign is important but since we're not getting anything done anyway, I guess it can't hurt. By separating into 10 minute incriments, I figured that the goal is more attainable. How hard is it to control yourself for 10 minutes and you earn a point even if you're a disaster the rest of the period? LOL

    Would you know, that they were exponentially better today?! They watched the clock and were responsive when they earned a tally mark. The fact that they were so much better was especially shocking since I had them working in groups in stations so it was unstructured which is always extremely challenging with them. And it's also close to the xmas break which always has kids hyped up.

    I hope it wasn't an anomoly. At least I won't leave work crying today.

    Thank you to everyone who made suggestions to help me. I'm so grateful. I'm really glad I found this place because, as a new teacher, I feel like I have so many questions and so much to learn. I really appreciate the input!
     
  27. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I'm not sure there are, at least not for most students just out of high school.

    I enlisted in the Air Force when I was 18 and still in high school. But the recruiter was very clear that I would not be able to go to basic training until I actually had received my diploma. The thing was that I had "aced" all of the entrance tests for the military. I qualified for nearly every job the Air Force had for 18 year old enlistees.

    So why did I need the diploma if I was so smart? Because having the diploma indicated a number of things about me that could not be determined by sitting me down for a test. The diploma meant that I had some degree of time-management skills, that I could meet a deadline, that I had at least a basic level of punctuality, and that I could function in an environment where I had to do things I didn't always want to do. Heck, if nothing else, it proved that I could get out of bed 5 out of 7 mornings every week.

    In the end, the job I chose in the Air Force was not really that challenging from an intellectual standpoint, but in terms of organization, time management, people skills, and responsibility, it was huge. Had my teachers in school not made me academically accountable for my work and my behavior but simply passed me based on test scores, I would not have been prepared for that job.

    When a person says "I have a high school diploma" it should mean more than just that they have a certain level of academic content knowledge. It should also mean that they have demonstrated a enough of a work ethic as a student that they can be relied upon as an employee.
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    No, it means in addition to having the content knowledge gained from public education you have the ability to COMPLY which is a major requirement in the service.

    I'm thinking that most kids that can ace a test including research papers, projects, portfolios, etc without doing the day to day drudge work assigned to teach the material would probably be headed for college had school grades not be based on compliance of whatever the particular teacher deemed as important. But alas, school is so focused on compliance over learning that the student that can't stand to do the day to day drudge work because it is not necessary to master the material is put into a position to either comply or get poor grades.

    I have yet to read in the state curriculum that school is supposed to teach academic work ethic or time management. With the right assignments for a student given with the needs of the student in mind, these attibutes become byproducts of mastering the content. If the needs of the individual students are met, these skills have a better chance of being fostered.

    Why would a teacher want Johnny filling in a worksheet which he doesn't have to think about instead of doing something that was meaningful and stretch his ability? If one is honest, it has nothing to do with teaching work ethic or time managment which sounds really good, but it is all about ease for the teacher.
     
  29. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    JerseyGirl,

    I am happy that the suggestions are helping. I would suggest a couple of things, yours to try or abandon as you will.

    One, I like your segmentation of the class period. I would. however, offer the game reward faster, and for less time. For example, once they have earned five points you will stop class right there and play a five minute game. This way the game reward is more tangible, and less distant. As the year continues you can sweeten the pot. After you use the approach for three or four weeks tell them that, this week, they can either get the normal game time, or they can get ten minutes of game time for seven points.

    Never run a game for much more than ten minutes. Shorter time is fun, and keeps the game fresh and desirable as a reward.

    Don't think of games as time lost in class. You can use them to review, check for understanding, and move to higher order thinking skills.

    Use a lot of different games to keep them interested.

    Look for my posts on the lecture game.

    Also look at WBT's Mind Soccer game.
     

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