Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Failing students

Two teachers discuss turning in student grades at the end of the year.

Raquel: They're hopeless. I'm going to fail half of them.

Jaime: Half?

Raquel: They just don't get it. They don't participate. How many of your seniors are you going to pass?

Jaime: All of them.

Raquel: All? That's impossible. You can't do that.

Jaime: They all passed the SAT. Can't fail them if they pass that.

Raquel: You leaked the questions, surely?

Jaime: How would I know what the SAT questions are going to be?

Raquel: Then how...?

Jaime: I put in the time, act up a bit, get them to repeat, "Yes we can."


Emphasizing a syllabus and applying educational statistics to class performance has its place when viewing an educational system as a whole.

But hire an inspired teacher who has vision, charisma, ideas, and leadership and distortions can pop up. It's like running against someone who trained for the Olympics. A normal lockstep syllabus is irrelevant. And fitting class performance into a normal curve distracts from what is really being accomplished.

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