Thursday, October 17, 2013

Emails From the Front - Confused on Every Level

Because I teach a modeling workshop class over the summer (with my amazing teaching partner Laura Ritter from Troy Schools in Michigan) I get a lot of email from participants that encounter both everyday problems and unique problems in their classrooms and at their schools.  Normally I respond and the responses end their existence in my "sent items" folder.  But I've decided to put some of the questions and responses here so that they live on in infamy.

Joanna Demars from Grosse Isle high school who is a new modeler and a new SBGer asked students to apply to reassess.  She got a weird application. 

My response is below.
So – this looks like a student who is so entrenched in traditional “learn this and be tested on it” type school that she is confused on every level.  The question is not how can she learn the physics but what can we do to re-engage her in the learning process (modeling and SBG).  

1   Bring her in and re-explain the whole system to her individually.  She seems kind of needy and that one-on-one attention will be super beneficial.  She didn’t even understand what the application was for – so she’s way confused.

2   Talk to her counselor and suggest a pass/fail scenario.  If she’s a senior and has already been accepted to college and her grade doesn’t matter then take all of the pressure of grades off.

3   Allow her to grade herself.  Give her your grading outline and some samples of full really good answers that met the expectations and let her go to town.  Tell her that you’ll be reviewing her scores so she needs to be honest and be able to justify the scores she gives herself.

Whatever you decide I suggest a preemptive call home – just to let the mother know that you have talked with the student, are aware of an issue and the steps that you’ve taken so far. 

Does that help?

The original email is below. 
I had a student very frustrated today in class and then I got this in my reassessment application. 

These are student's responses to the online form to reassess. 

Question 1: An explanation of what you did to earn the score on these standards.
Question 2: What are you going to do to be better?
Question 3: When are you going to take the reassessment?
Question 4: Optional: Anything else you'd like me to know?

i have no idea. i could not give you a straight answer. i felt as if i knew what i was talking about but i guess i was misled. guess i am not comfortable with with standard six or nine. whatever one required to explain when " x is double, y....."
i would like to take a look at my test. i also have reviewed our unti 1 packet.
2:35 pm Thursday
i am not willing to accept a grade this low. i am frankly confused on why i did score as low as i did. i understand you may feel standard based grading is beneficial but to be honest i have no idea how it even works and how it reflects on me if i do receive 2s on standards.

She would also not let me help her after school. 

Do you have any advice about how to deal with this situation?

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