Common Sense – Where did it go?

I’m not a counselor, but I think I have a pretty good idea if a kid belongs in my class or not.  Since math is a sequential type of subject, it’s even more important that the student is in the correct class.  It really isn’t that difficult to comprehend.  A student will be successful in Pre Calculus if they have successfully completed Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2.

Another indicator of a student’s ability is their score on standardized tests.  The test in my state for graduation has been deemed so difficult, that the legislators ruled that if a student doesn’t pass the test, they need to remediate and take it until they pass it, or at most, three tries.

I have a student that has not passed the state standardized test after his three tries.  He also failed a quarter of Algebra 2.  At the beginning of the quarter, I could tell that he was on shaky ground (before I put these puzzle pieces together).  To add to the problem, his parents took him to Merced, CA for a funeral and he has now missed 8 days of class out of 19.  (By the way, his brother who is in my other PreCalc class did not go to the funeral.) For some strange reason, this student is only registered for 1 quarter of my semester long class.

Call me crazy, but my assessment of the situation is that the student doesn’t belong in the class and is so far behind that he should drop the class.  If you don’t have the pre-requisite knowledge and you’ve been gone a significant amount of time, you’re not going to succeed.  This is aside from the fact that he’s not registered for the entire course.

I emailed the counselor to inquire about the student dropping my class.  The response?  He’s committed to taking the class so it’s too late to switch out now. Is it more important that there is a place for this kid to sit during that particular class period?  If we’re being honest about where he should be, he should be repeating Algebra 2.

I wonder what our results would be if we were honest with kids and put them in the class where they belong, instead of just moving them along and finding an open space for them, even if it’s not the right space?


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