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View Diary: In my son's 11th grade science class at public school (189 comments)

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  •  You are exactly right. School districts are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, otto, neroden

    extremely sensitive to how they "look."  Our school district pushed AP classes for years, but wasn't rated highly because not enough students taking the classes actually took the exams.  

    Now they are pushing taking the exams, so kids who formerly didn't take the AP exams because they figured they wouldn't do so well, are now taking them - and not always doing so well.  So, the percentage of 3s, 4s and 5s go down, but the percentage of kids taking the tests go up.  

    The rating entities, in this state at least, give a lot of weight to the percentage of kids TAKING the AP exams.  How they do on the exams is secondary for the purpose of rating the school districts, and that makes sense, actually, because you do wind up with a higher NUMBER of students doing well when you have more taking the test, even though the percentage drops, predictably.  And I fail to see how making a 1 or a 2 on an AP exam is more harmful to a student than not taking AP exams at all.  At least they find out what they will be up against in college.

    But in my opinion when you have a teacher who can produce a test taker capable of at least a 3, that student's chances of getting a 4 or 5 reflects more on the student than it does the teacher.  As far as i'm concerned that teacher has led the horse to water, and the horse has to decide how much to drink.

    Kids who take AP tests are less in need of a good teacher than are those who have no hope of ever getting a 3 on a test.  

    We've got way bigger problems than what it takes to tease exceptional students into higher AP scores.  The whole idea of AP tests is to get students prepared for college, where the ability of their professors to "teach" is not even an issue.  By the time they get there, they better be prepared to blame themselves for whatever scores they get.

    I learned that on my first exam given by a teacher of Latin American history who was more interested in his summer trips to Mexico and beyond than he was the classroom.  Going to class was almost pointless, as he constantly mumbled incomprehensibly with his back to the class, scratching on the blackboard.  He gave some damn challenging tests, though, and he knew how to grade them.  I made a helluva lot better grade on the second than I did the first, and it wasn't because the old codger turned around, either.

    "If I owned hell and Texas, I'd live in hell and rent out Texas" - Union General Phillip Sheridan

    by ZedMont on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 03:52:48 PM PDT

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    •  Teachers train the horse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden

      We keep these kids in school for 12 years of their life, we insist they remain there for the most part and the least we should expect is they be trained to learn. Leading the horse to water is not good enough, the horse should be trained to drink. The schools need to take on the burden of getting the students to perform and not just settling for providing access to learning opportunities.

      •  If your kid gets a 3 on an AP exam, he has been (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Daddy Bartholomew, neroden, Fonsia

        taught how to drink.  AP exams prepare kids for college, where - guess what -they will be provided access to learning opportunities.  The college or university is not going to "take on the burden of getting the students to perform."  Kids taking AP classes should already know that and should be preparing themselves accordingly.

        I have an 18-year-old who is in the top 15% of his class.  He could easily be in the top 10% of his class and no teacher is to blame that he is not.  His time management is to blame.  And he knows it.

        Now, if he were putting in four hours a night studying and failing or barely passing, I would be concerned about the teachers.  But he's not and I'm not.

        "If I owned hell and Texas, I'd live in hell and rent out Texas" - Union General Phillip Sheridan

        by ZedMont on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 04:38:06 PM PDT

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        •  Right on, ZedMont (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden, Fonsia, ZedMont

          I agree with you about the students who get the 3's (in your previous comment). My son got a 3 in AP Biology. I never saw him crack a book or leave to work with a study group. And yet if he had applied himself ... oh well, how many parents  . . . No, how many of us who read Daily Kos can relate to that? I myself was a late bloomer. If only . . . but it took me years to gain that kind of maturity. Thanks for your comment.

      •  I'm a horse trainer... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, Fonsia, ZedMont

        and not every horse ends up trained for its originally intended job. Aptitude and personality is a factor for horses too.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 05:29:52 PM PDT

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        •  lol You know, no matter pretty much what analogy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden

          you can dream up here at DailyKos, there will be a representative of it in the very next comment.  Thanks, elfling, for making the point in a way no one else could have.

          "If I owned hell and Texas, I'd live in hell and rent out Texas" - Union General Phillip Sheridan

          by ZedMont on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 05:52:27 PM PDT

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