The problem is that this is clearly not true. Students failed. Maybe not many, but there were some who failed. Even worse, there were students who passed because they knew how to do enough extra credit assignments to move to the next grade. Others knew just enough to slide by the dreadful F. So, here we are, staring at the grades of my Geometry classes for Semester 1, and they're atrocious.
We just took a quiz based on parallel and perpendicular lines. This is not a Geometry standard, but its application is. We have spent 5 days reviewing and working on point-slope, slope-intercept, and the slope formula.
However, this isn't the most confusing. I can deal with a student using the wrong formula, even if it's WAYYYYY wrong. What I don't know how to deal with is this:
As I sit here after school and contemplate today's lesson, a few things pop out:
- A couple classes rocked. Class averages of 77 and 74 are good for my students this year, so I'll take it where I can get it
- Quite a few students aced the quiz, confirming that it wasn't unrealistic
- Students still have trouble multiplying fractions
- Students still have trouble multiplying
- Students still have trouble remembering formulas
- The three statements above are frustrating
- There are gaps in these students' learning that I don't know how to fix without serious intervention and complete remediation, yet I'm supposed to pass them........
We are a 2 weeks away from finals and many students still struggle with finding the slope of a line, plotting points, finding intercepts on a graph, dividing fractions, and many other foundational concepts. As a math teacher, I'm baffled. As a human being, I feel like we as a society have let students down by allowing them to promote through a system and widen the gaps in knowledge to the point where they begin to overlap and overtake a student's morale.
If we think that this Common Core rollout is a good thing, wait until those students come through the system with the intentional gaps as we transition from traditional to CCSS standards. Those gaps might just cause the system to overload altogether.
Happy (Gappy) Fishing