Monday, October 31, 2005

The New Math

We were going over the answers to one of my tests today. The idea is, "Let's look at what questions you got wrong and why you got them wrong and try to learn from these mistakes."

Of course, it was the standard operating procedure; students checked the answers to make sure that I didn't incorrectly mark something wrong or maybe had some erroneous math when it came to the scores. And something happened that always happens on these days.

First, I need to explain a district policy to you (and maybe you are already familiar with something similar). We have something called the "automatic 50." In my school district and neighboring school districts a student can't make less than a 50 on an assignment, if they provide evidence of making the slightest effort. Yes, that means they can put down random answers, miss every single one, and still get credit for half of the assignment, test, etc.

It makes sense. I mean we are preparing them for when they solve only half of the leprechaun's magical riddle and receive the pot of gold. Wait--my bad--we're supposed to be getting them ready for the real world. You know what I'm talking about. That place where if you don't pay your rent in full, they evict you, or you get fired for not showing up everyday.

I'll save the rage for later and get back to my story.

After we go over answers the students return the test, if they have any concerns. It never fails that a kid that missed 38 out of 50 questions points out that they should not have been marked off for that one question. "Mr. H.T., I actually got 13 out of 50 correct," said with smug face and absolute earnestness.

Oh yes sweetie, let me go back and fix the error because those points could be critical when it comes down to determining the valedict--nope, still a 50.

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