Saturday, November 10, 2007


MCAS scores for Massachusetts hit the news last week. Thanks for the kind words Mom. Sadly I had nothing to do with our success in chemistry and everything to do with our failure with Science & Technology.

Last year I taught the freshmen intro to physics and engineering design class. It was basically Tech with extra math. It was designed by the Museum of Science and one of the other science teachers. It was poorly conceived from the start. Curriculum was never written, it was just pages pulled from lab manuals with no sense of why we were doing things or what the topics had to do with each other. Even at that, it was meant to be offered to high achieving students not the 2 level kids I taught. It assumed a firm grasp of algebra and geometry including trig straight out of 8th grade. It was a nightmare. To make matters even more fun, we weren't informed that the kids would be expected to take MCAS until February.

My theory is that the teacher who was to write the curriculum never expected to have to share the course with another teacher and was planning on winging it alone. Then half the students were given to me. The other half of the kids ended up with a series of different science teachers as the department imploded under a series of poor staffing judgements. The MCAS the freshmen took was nothing close to the scope of the course. They were set up for failure. I did the best I could.

That was 3 of my 4 classes. The 4th was chemistry. A course for juniors. Only sophomores had to take the MCAS. They took the MCAS for the science they were studying that year. A small handfull of sophomores took chemistry with the rest taking biology. I only had two of the sophomores in my chemistry class. One was a boy who transferred in from another teachers class 2 months before the MCAS. I don't think he takes school very seriously. He didn't pass. I am very proud of my other sophomore. She was one of my knitters. She passed. I like to take some of the credit for her success. The rest of the chemistry students who took MCAS were in classes with the other two teachers.

Some would look at my record and say I have a 50% pass rate. I only got a chance to see individual chemistry students scores. As I didn't have the boy for the full year I'm unwilling to accept his failure as a reflection of my ability. On the other hand, knitting during class didn't hinder the girls abilities. Perhaps it helped. The boy didn't knit.

I haven't been able to see the individual scores for the freshmen. However I hear that the freshmen who scored the highest in the school was one of my students.

That's a good sign.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Download Web Counters

Thanks for stopping by.

Email me -