Frustration

March 22, 2010 at 12:41 am (Uncategorized)

I just finished grading the tests on the first unit completely taught and directed by me. The results? Less than stellar.

Following my CT’s lead, on my pre test day review, I asked questions directly from my test and in the exact same order as they would appear on the test. And still, the majority of my students got a D or F. The majority! Perhaps more frustrating, a few of the industrious students got 100% right on the multiple choice and matching sections (as they wrote down the answers that I revealed letter by letter in class), and then bombed the short answer portion. This reveals to me that, though they were smart enough to memorize the one letter answers, they didn’t actually learn anything during the unit that they could use to answer a short answer question that requires higher order thinking.

I’m kind of at a loss. I structure my units and lessons in a logical way. I try to place our learning in a historical context. I set up my notes in such a way as to promote understanding, rather than mere memorization. And yet I’m met, time and again, by students who, either by conditioning, limited faculties, or my own failures, refuse to deal with the material in an interactive way and prefer to keep their heads down until the lesson is over and then go on to the next class.

I need to talk to some experienced teachers who’ve worked in districts similar to mine who also believe in the student-centered activities I learn about in my graduate studies. Too often the only experienced teachers I find are those who scoff at “theory” and cling to direct instruction.

I certainly don’t know it all.

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1 Comment

  1. david hicks said,

    Don’t be discouraged– take a look at the questions you asked- can you see patterns in terms of which questions students did bad on and which they did well with. Does that tell you anything in terms of the material you examined. With regard to short answer–why do you think they did not do well.. think of ideas to help them with the test- and it is baby steps
    Do students know how to take your test. how well did what you teach connect with the test- can you help them see the connections as part of the review..
    What about trying closure — so whats that can serve to mirror what goes on the test..

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