Tuesday, March 18, 2008

3rd quarter - order up

Well, kiddies, it's accounting time again. The third quarter has ended, LEAP week has passed, and soon there will be report card conferences. I have some mixed feelings about this past quarter for multiple reasons. One is that I feel that I cut them a big break by not giving a quarterly exam in anticipation of iLEAP. Another is that grades are looking up, I believe, on account of this. My quarter exams (well, exams in general) have high failure rates simply because my children are horrifically bad at taking tests, as a rule. Their retention is poor and their interest in the subject, despite bribery and coercion and every sort of trickery I know, is lower than the average.

(Side note: never ask your students what their favorite and/or best subject is at the beginning of the school year. They will lie.)

When all is tallied, however, I do feel that there has been a continuing trend of improvement from almost all of my students and I feel that their grades should reflect that. Even if it is just moving from an F to a D. For some of my kids that tiny uptick can make all the difference in their morale which, I hope, will keep them moving toward at least a C this final quarter of the year so that I can feel justified in passing as many students as possible. Who wants to fail a kid who has already failed so much? But if they fail, I'll do it. I won't reward apathy. I refuse.

But enough of the rambles. Let's crunch some numbers. Allow me to include here, an accounting of the grade scale that we operate under:

100 - 93%: A
92 - 85%: B
84 - 75%: C
74 - 70%: D
below 69%: F

First through Third Quarter stats are as follows:

1st Quarter:
30 Fs, 10 Ds, 3 Cs, 4 Bs, 2 As (49 Students)
2nd Quarter: 20 Fs, 10 Ds, 10 Cs, 8 Bs, 2 As (50 Students)
3rd Quarter: 3 Fs, 12 Ds, 18 Cs, 13 Bs, 4 As (50 students)

I would like to believe that this is a dramatic turn-around. And it is, but only sorta kinda. Had I given an exam, I would see considerably more Fs, more Cs, and would probably have my previous quarters' As. Also, I am still refining my grading system to be a more accurate reflection of the students' progress. This isn't something that they teach you in your teacher crash course. You just have to figure it out on your own and by talking to other teachers and they all have their own ideas. Mine is improving, I think. (Also, if any teacher ever tells you that they don't tweak their grades occasionally with clever number crunching - they are lying.) One of my As is a pleasant surprise, some of my Bs should be As but just couldn't quite squeak it. One of my Ds is a big disappointment because one of my kids is slipping. Most of my Cs have been well-earned and many of the Bs are also pleasant surprises, though they were greatly benefited by the lack of exam. Still, I won't begrudge my kids a taste of success. Our grade scale is a bitch.

Anyway, there it is.

1 comment:

Maitri said...

If I ever go back to teaching, it will be for those 2 kids with As or 8 kids with the Bs. But, the rest do take the life out of you, I imagine.

You are paid too little for the service you provide. My hat is off to you, lady.