Monday, November 02, 2009

Day #40

It's frustrating when you spend two months teaching skills and the students completely bomb the Unit Test because they don't get the material. But when they bomb the test because they don't give a shit, it's worse.

For the past two days I've given all 3 of my classes a test for which we prepared a great deal. It's worth 25% of their grade for the first report card. It's stressful. But most of the kids were on point last week, following detailed reviews and note-taking sessions. They simply weren't focused for the exam. I watched them not read the passages and just circle whatever answer. I listened to them complain that they didn't want to do it, that they didn't "feel like it," that they didn't care.

Less than 10% of my kids passed the test. Most of them failed badly, and not because of ability, but because they don't didn't care to be bothered.

It's my job to make them care, and now I'm beating myself up over what I need to do differently. Last year I started paying the kids who passed, and test scores went up dramatically. I might do that again. $5 to everyone with a sixty or higher? Or $2 for a 60, $3 for a 70, $4 for an 80, and $5 for a 90? I dunno. They just don't see the value of a test unless you attach money.

Several of my A+ kids finished what should have been a 2-hour, 2-day test in 5 minutes. After I gave it back to them insisting they double-check their answers, they said "no, I'm done." Today they were asking why their grades fell from 96% to 72% just before the report card. "Because you didn't care about this test," I told them. "I asked you to work on it seriously and you didn't bother to even read the texts, you just answered the questions." They're trying to say they didn't know how important it was, after a solid week of review and practice.


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