Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Last Chance TAKS

In the Houston ISD today, 58,000 Junior High students are taking an achievement test to determine their academic worthiness to advance to High School in the Fall. These are the kids who did not pass the TAKS test when it was administered—twice—earlier in the school year.

For them it’s make or break time.
I think the rest of us may have already reached the point of no return.
Here’s why.

In Texas, the passing rate for the Math portion of the test, is about 82%. Yet there is still pressure to advance kids to the next grade, even when they haven’t mastered the current year’s material.

One Eighth-grader was quoted in the Houston Chronicle as saying she asked for extra work to increase her grades because, as she said, “I don’t want to stay here no more.”
Obviously, none of the extra credit was in English grammar.

In Massachusetts, there is less emphasis on the applied Math that a study of Physics would require, than for studies in Biology. I daresay that Music, too, requires a direct application of basic Math, and exercises both the left and right lobes of the brain.

Of course, with some school districts prohibiting the use of actual chemicals in the teaching of Chemistry and Physics, no wonder the kids aren’t getting it.
We are to blame for letting things get out of hand.

I read this week where the BBC ran a survey revealing so little emphasis had been placed on the study of Physics in schools in the U.K. that they’ve mandated having at least 25% of science teachers with a specialty in Physics by 2012. You would have thought that hairlipped the Queen, by the hue and cry of posters to the article.

Not too surprising, however, when you have British High Schools giving points on English essays turned in with nothing on them but obscene two-word phrases.
I kid you not.

The Examiner justified the two-point grade (out of a possible 27) because the student’s work, “f***-off,” showed basic skills of communication, “like conveying meaning and some spelling.”

Glad the bugger could spell.
The Examiner said the student would have gotten a better grade “if the phrase had been punctuated.”
George Carlin assuredly is rolling over in his freshly made grave.

No comments: