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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 345
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
@marylski: Even a student who has not the mental ability to succeed in college ought to recognize what a sentence is by the time he passes through high school; he ought to know the highlights of his own country's history; he ought to know that it's as easy to compute 90% of a test worth 90 points as it is to compute for a test of 100 points; he ought to know s that sometimes letters in English are silent--as in know; he ought to know at least the most common suffixes and prefixes. None of this information is beyond the ability of even the most average of intellects, yet I would say that an appalling number of students who graduate from highschool don't have it, including many who went through accelerated/honors programs.

I also blame college education programs that lay greatest stress on methods of teaching rather than the knowledge that the teacher has to impart. I blame a society that believes no-one should ever be embarrassed, no-one should ever feel he doesn't measure up, no-one should ever be told he failed because his psyche or self-image might suffer.


Yes Dick they should. But who admits them to college?
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2483

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey marylski, you're a good debater, but I recognize the shift...possibly a result of the way I wrote what I wrote. My point was that it's impossible to know, from high school records, whether a student is college material. These students had obtained, in some way, good high school records; their ACT's ranged from twenties to the thirties; their records indicated they had taken the courses most colleges like to see. Most colleges and universities would most likely have enrolled them. If these supposedly competent students were lacking, what about those students whose high school records didn't reflect that competence? They too would need to recognize a sentence, be able to differentiate verbs from other parts of speech, and know a bit about history. And that's my point: if the apparently competent are not, the apparently incompetent must be in really bad shape.
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 345
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
Hey marylski, you're a good debater, but I recognize the shift...possibly a result of the way I wrote what I wrote. My point was that it's impossible to know, from high school records, whether a student is college material. These students had obtained, in some way, good high school records; their ACT's ranged from twenties to the thirties; their records indicated they had taken the courses most colleges like to see. Most colleges and universities would most likely have enrolled them. If these supposedly competent students were lacking, what about those students whose high school records didn't reflect that competence? They too would need to recognize a sentence, be able to differentiate verbs from other parts of speech, and know a bit about history. And that's my point: if the apparently competent are not, the apparently incompetent must be in really bad shape.


Not necessarily. My daughter got a 35 in English on her ACTs and a 26 in math. Obviously math is not her strong suit and she only took what she needed to graduate. A kid who scored a 24 in math and a 16 in English averages for those two sub-scores, a 20. The math score indicates that student will probably do well in freshman math courses, however, that English score would be worrisome. My niece teaches a remedial English course (a pre-English 101 course) at a local university. These kids might be LD or they might have moved around a lot and had bad timing when certain skill sets were taught. Their placement in your class might have been a poor placement and they needed a remedial class first.

Also, one of my daughters used to date a guy in high school who had tested gifted, but his parents saw no value in college. They would not file the financial forms necessary for him to go to college. He never did. When you look at a bell curve, 50% of the population falls below the average IQ. Some of those kids who work hard and are high achievers for their ability MIGHT make it in college. For some, it will probably be too difficult. I think it is problematic when we make sweeping generalizations about individuals without knowing their background first.
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melann



Joined: 28 Apr 2007
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
My point was that it's impossible to know, from high school records, whether a student is college material. These students had obtained, in some way, good high school records; their ACT's ranged from twenties to the thirties; their records indicated they had taken the courses most colleges like to see. Most colleges and universities would most likely have enrolled them. If these supposedly competent students were lacking, what about those students whose high school records didn't reflect that competence? They too would need to recognize a sentence, be able to differentiate verbs from other parts of speech, and know a bit about history. And that's my point: if the apparently competent are not, the apparently incompetent must be in really bad shape.


Very, very, very true. Unless the university administers its own on-site (no chance for "proofing" by someone else) admissions test (essay required) to make some attempt to find out what the student really knows, the primary indicators are the high school grades and standardized test scores. If those aren't indicative of actual ability, the university won't know the kid isn't prepared until it's too late. I'm not a teacher, but my sister is. I can tell you that this same business of "I deserve a better grade" or "My kid deserves a better grade" is absolutely going on in all levels of K-12, and probably pre-K as well, pitiful as that is. If these parents have the nerve to contact a university official to complain about the grades, you better believe they'll contact the local teachers, administrators and/or school board members (who need their vote).

Sometimes it's the athletes; my sister was pressured once by the principal to improve a grade so the kid could play - she refused and told him she'd report him to the Board of Education if he did it behind her back (he didn't because he knew she would). Sometimes it's the parents or the student doing the whining, and politics will get them what they want.

For public schools, at least, there's money in it as well. No Child Left Behind has certain requirements for testing that must be met, or else. Further, in many (most?) states the school's funding is tied to a certain degree to the percentage of students who test "proficient" or better, and all those "A" and "B" students make everyone look better. "Grade inflation" is growing louder as a topic of conversation around here.

My cousin graduated in the top 15% of his high school (small public school) and couldn't even manage basic capitalization and punctuation, never mind sentence structure, when he graduated. I saw his report cards, and they were mostly "A" and "B" marks. I saw an "essay" he wrote his senior year, and I honestly can't tell you how he was able to graduate at all. Then again, I could say the same thing for several people who have worked with or for me in my professional career. It's frightening, depressing and appalling.

As far as teacher unions go, we don't have many of those around here, although tenure still allows a measure of job security. I absolutely agree that there are bad teachers in the classrooms, having been subject to a few myself over the years (the superintendent's sister-in-law, for one). However, in my mind, there's no clear-cut way to determine when the problem is a lousy teacher.

One of my co-workers is married to a teacher in what passes for an inner-city school in these parts. Her elementary school students routinely miss class or come to school dirty and unfed because mom/dad got shot, mom/dad went back to prison, mom/dad just got home from prison and all is not well, mom/dad was too stoned to see the kid was cleaned and fed before going to school, etc. Many of the kids are doped up for ADD, ADHD or because they got into something mom/dad left lying around. The one kid in the class who doesn't have these issues and can do the work refuses to do so because the parents have made it clear - to him and to the teacher - that they just don't care. I can promise you that any standardized test administered to these kids will result in low scores, which is my problem with using standardized test scores as a primary means of judging teacher performance or teacher skills. There's only so much one person can do to overcome all these outside-the-classroom factors, which in turn bleed into the classroom.

I am a public employee. I'm not in a union (we don't have one), but the laws are written to provide just enough protection to make it difficult (not impossible) to fire a public employee. On the one hand, that's a bad thing because I can make a list of people in my office alone who need to GO, but it's such a time-consuming process that most other work would have to cease in order to accomplish that feat. On the other hand, if those protections were removed, any of us could be terminated on the whims of whatever politician had a relative in need of a job. I've seen it happen with the non-classified positions, and it is a real danger. There has to be balance or no on wins.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2483

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Daily Beast has an interesting article on this matter.
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