The Class of 2015 is the Frog!

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We have all heard the analogy about boiling a frog.

 If you put a frog in a pan of boiling water then he will jump out. If you put a frog in a pan of cool water and turn up the temperature gradually you can boil them to death.

The class of 2015 represents a very large frog. This class was chosen randomly as the “first class” that would be held accountable for the new End of Course Exams. They will be the ones that are the first victims.

To expect a group of random student to take and be successful on a test that has raised the bar to a level that cannot be attained given the circumstances. The circumstances are that a student should be brought up from the lower grades preparing as they go for the increased rigor and expectations.

By the Spring of 2015, we will see a reverse of our student graduation plans. Currently over 80 percent of our students graduate on the recommended or distinguished plan. By the Spring of 2015 there will be more students on the Minimum plan than on recommended because they are unable to meet the required standards to quality for a Recommended High School Diploma.

Another affect that will occur is students not having the required credits to Graduate. If they have to take and pass 15 tests, then there is a possibility of not getting credit for 15 classes. Even if they only fail to gain credit in 4-5 classes, then that will be 4-5 credits that they are short of graduation.

The greatest tragedy that will occur with the Class of 2015 will a huge decrease in the graduation rate. Graduation rates could plunge to around 65-75 percent.

In the class of 2011:

–        There were 291,799 seniors reported on PEIMS.

–        4-year Completion Rate without Exceptions (PEIMS)

  • Graduated 85.9% (250655.34 students)
  • GED 1.1% (3209.79 students)
  • Continued 6.2% (18091.54 students)
  • Dropped out 6.8% (19842.33 students)

–        Graduation Plans

  • Recommended or Distinguished 80.1% (200774.92 students)
  • Minimum Plan 19.8% (49880.42 students)

There needs to be a drastic change to the excessive testing and graduation requirements. There was a report put together by superintendent ….that showed the number of test required by to graduate by state.

–        25 states required zero….yes ZERO TESTS TO GRADUATE.

–        48 states require 3 or less tests

–        1 state require 5-8 tests

–        AND YES TEXAS REQUIRES 8-15 TESTS….ARE YOU KIDDING ME, 8-15 TEST TO GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL.

On certain level, I understand wanting to be a leader in testing and accountability but there is always a level of reasonableness. When 48 states are only using 3 tests or less compared to Texas, which uses 8-15 tests to graduate, then there is something way out of balance. There is not an educator across the State of Texas that fears accountability but the students are paying too high a price in the name of accountability.

There is a current scenario in which the 10-15% of the current 10th graders could be taking 10 tests in their fourth year in high school.

Year 1 they fail Biology, Algebra I, English I Reading & Writing, and World Geography.

Year 2 they retake the Biology, Algebra I, Reading, Writing, and World Geography during the school year. If they fail to pass any of them then they will be tested again in the spring. In the spring they will also have to take the current year tests; Geometry, English II Reading & Writing and World History (Note: Current year test number is 10)

Year 3 they have to retake Biology, Algebra I, English 1 Reading and Writing, World Geography, Geometry, English II Reading & Writing and World History. Year three courses include Physics, Algebra II, English III Reading & Writing, and U. S. History. So, by the spring of their third-year they could be required to take 15 tests in a three week period.  Chances are that by their third year they will not be classified as a junior. If the current 15% rule that counts the test as part of their final grade is enacted, then they could be in their third year and still be classified as a Freshman.

 

I do not know many high school students that would be willing to climb that mountain. For many of them it would be like trying to climb Mount Everest without knowing where it was and how to get there. It is a recipe for disaster. Failure is not an option for most of these students, it will most certainly happen. They will reach a point in which they have “no hope”. Without “hope” nothing else matters.

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. Helen Keller

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is a 70% graduation rate acceptable?
  2. Is 40% Recommended or Distinguished graduates acceptable?
  3. Is 10-15% drop out rate acceptable?
  4. How would you like to take 10-15 high stakes, high level tests in a three-week period?
  5. Do you want your child to be a part of a system like this? (I don’t)

David R. Taylor

25 year Teacher, Coach and Principal

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