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Sunday, October 5, 2008

With or without a zero, they'll still fail

If a student has a legitimate excuse, then fine, give them another chance. If a student just doesn't want to work, then fail them. The teacher should then contact the parents and let them know that their kid is not turning in work. If the kid then decides to complete the assignment, then change the zero to the highest failing grade (a 66, i think). That way, they can still bring their grade up easily if they start to turn work in on time but they still know that it is unacceptable to turn it in late. In the workplace, an employer is not going to call your mom and tell her that he will give you another chance. He (or she) says, 'you're fired.' Furthermore, if the student is getting an 'A' on every test, then they should be exempt from homework. They obviously know how to get a good grade. This will give the students an incentive to get a good grade in the first place. I know that I hated homework. I rarely did it when I was in High School. I also know that my grade suffered because of it. I never understood that because I got good test grades and homework was a waste of my time. Busy work makes kids not like learning because busy work doesn't help you learn. I got an 1100 on my SAT and my college english teacher told me that the papers I wrote were the best she'd read that year. Also, interesting, because I got a 'C' in my high school writing-intensive English class. Recently, I started substituting in an area school system. Last Friday, I substituted at a High School in said school system. This high school is widely regarded as one of the better school in the area, surrounded by $400,000+ homes. In said school, it was deplorable how many students could not read proficiently or write grammatically correct papers. The work that they did in their HS government class remined me of 7th grade Social Studies. If these HS Seniors are failing a course which I relate to middle school, perhaps there is a larger problem than zeros. At any rate, the school should not lower its standards to make failing students pass. That is just bad policy. Student MUST be held accountable to their own actions.


Anonymous said...

Furthermore, if the student is getting an 'A' on every test, then they should be exempt from homework. They obviously know how to get a good grade.

I strongly disagree with that point.

School shouldn't be about getting good grades. It should be about learning the material and being able to apply it.

Being able to remember material long enough to pass a test is not "learning". The homework reinforces the material through repetition and ensures longer-term retention of the basic concepts.

Whether a student enjoys it or not is irrelevant.

I will say that I seem to have been much like you in high school. I could retain the material well enough to pass the tests and didn't understand why I should have to do the I didn't. I passed by virtue of my test scores, but my grades were average or a bit below because I rarely did homework assignments unless I absolutely had to do them to pass.

This didn't bother me at the time because I had no intention or desire to go to college.

Then I matured enough to realize how important education really is. When I finally did begin college, I had to go back and retake many high school level courses because I never learned the information the first time.

BTW, although I'm still working (very slowly) on my 4 year degree, I have a 4.0 GPA in college coursework and I generally do more homework than the professors assign.

The point is that some students (like you or me) may not do the work anyway, but encouraging such practices by making homework optional would be setting many more students up for future difficulty.

I honestly don't know how the emphasis can be shifted from test scores to actually learning the material...since testing is the only way of which I'm aware to gauge how well the material has been learned...but I can say that making homework optional for those who are good at taking tests is not the answer.

Russell Manning said...

I retained the knowledge. Due to the No Child Left Behind law, there is a large number of students that are too smart for the classes. I agree that it is not the grades that you get but the knowledge that you learn. I understand all of that, but when a child is smarter than the class, they get bored. A bored student is the one that doesn't retain knowledge. I was one of those students. In elementary school, I got straight A's. I also did all of my homework. I had an 11th grade reading level at the start of the 3rd grade. Yet, apparently, I didn't qualify for 'gifted.' I got bored with the classes. That led me to start to focus on other things instead of focusing in school. If I were to go back to school now, they would put me on Riddalin. That is what hurt me later in life. Its not that the student enjoys it, but there is no doubt that a happy student retains more knowledge than a bored one. For example, if you absolutely hated your job, would you do better or worse than if you loved it? Homework only works for kids interested in learning. If they are bored, they are uninterested, and therefore are not helped by the homework. The NCLB (Every Student Held Back) Act is what is hurting our students.

Anonymous said...

I agree with those points, I just don't agree that making homework optional is the answer.

Based on reading your posts over the past few weeks, I would imagine that what I would propose to resolve our educational woes would not be to your liking.

No Child Left Behind was a sop. It was nothing more than some politicians attempt to be perceived as "doing something". It was an unconstitutional expansion of federal power...par for the course for virtually every administration since at least Abraham Lincoln.

At any rate, I'm not arguing a bit with your overall point, just with the specific contention that homework should be made optional for those who can pass the tests without it.

Russell Manning said...

Overall, I really think that education should be addressed on a child-by-child basis. If a child is doing exceptionally well, then that child should be advanced to the next level. If a child is not doing well, he/she should be held back until he/she reaches the satisfactory level. As a substitute teacher in a school system that is usually held as much better than average, I have seen children in the 6th grade and above THAT COULD NOT READ.

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