Saturday, October 31, 2015

Stop promoting kids who aren’t ready

Let’s stop promoting students who can’t do work at their grade level.

The latest bad news on education in America is that 4th graders and 8th graders aren’t making the grade in national math testing.

Recent results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show that 8th graders got lower math scores than their counterparts did two years ago, and 4th graders showed no improvement.

It’s the first time since 1990 that elementary students didn’t show improvement in the math portion of the test.

Of course we all know that teachers, educators, academics and government officials are furiously squabbling about standardized testing, “teaching to the test” and so on. The federal government recently announced it is backing off in its push to use standard tests as markers of achievement and competency.

I think we can state the problem this way:
We’re promoting 3rd graders who aren’t prepared to do 4th grade math, and likewise for 7th graders.

It’s been a long time since I was in elementary school. I’m pretty sure I remember that it was S.O.P. every year for some kids to be “left behind,” that is, they weren’t promoted to the next grade level because they needed to repeat the grade level they were in. I don’t think that happens nearly often enough today.

Of course I recognize that each student's circumstances should be evaluated individually, and exceptional consideration and assistance should be available as appropriate. A one-size-fits-all approach would be callous and, in some cases, destructive.

As a general policy approach, let’s agree to keep 1st graders in 1st grade until they’re ready and prepared to do 2nd grade work….and, you know, and so on….

I know, I know, some Mommies and Daddies are going to scream and spit that little Johnny can’t be “held back” because he’ll be traumatized and everything.

How do Mommy and Daddy think Johnny feels when he doesn’t understand what Miss Jeppers is talking about, and really can’t do the homework or pass the tests?

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015 All rights reserved.

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