Monday, May 16, 2005

Unfocused energy

Today is a day of unfocused energy in a couple of my classes. They have taken the final test and completed the final project. We have two more classes with nothing to really do. Therefore, they have nothing to focus their energy upon. When this happens, this usually turns to mischief for this block. It isn't the case for the entire block, but there are a few that are unable to handle the extra time. They do have finals on the Hill and the schedule is being adjusted to accommodate that.

One student, a part of the triangle of calamity, is finishing his final test. He says he ran out of time on Friday. I am all for chances. I hate to flunk anyone, even though 3 student are flunking. I will help anyone willing to work, to pass this class. I will not give a grade just to help ya pass. One must earn the grade, but I will do everything I can, short of giving the answers, to help.

During the final project, one student came to me and asked if the 3 way switch hooked up a certain way. I reminded him that this was the final test project, given to test whether he knows how to do this or not. Then I added, "and I don't know why you ask me questions, to which you already know the answer."

When I was in voc-school, I had an instructor that would walk around during the testing. He would stop and look at your work as you were working. If he noticed a wrong answer, he would touch it and cough. He didn't tell answers, but he did alert you to problems you needed to rethink.

The goal of teaching is to impart knowledge. The goal of testing is to determine if the imparting has worked. The grade is to measure the effect of the knowledge. It is a necessary evil. Some students will never try if there is no system of measure or reckoning. Testing tests the ability of the teacher as well as the ability of the student. When a student in my class is failing, I look at myself as well as that student. Did I do everything I could to help that student learn? Did I answer his questions as fully as necessary? Did I explain the lesson or task sufficiently? Did the student fail, or did I ?

The students I have, that are failing, are not my fault. I have done the soul searching. I did my job and then some. 3 of 23 failed my class. Even those 3 have somewhat more knowledge than they did before we began. These 3 decided, somewhere along the way, that playing was more important. One turns in tests with less than half the questions even attempted. Each test includes some multiple choice and some true/false questions. You have a 50/50 chance on the true/false and a 25% chance on the multiple choice. Of the 47 questions on my final, 20 were multiple choice and 6 were true/false. 12 were work problems involving math with 93 answers. The remaining question were divided between fill in the blank questions and write in answers.

Any volunteers to take it ?

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