Monday, September 05, 2011

An Education Story Problem

Today class we will have a story problem in logic:

Mr. Zondebok has been assigned to teach his class skill "D". In order for a student to be successful at acquiring skill "D", research shows he or she must first be proficient with skills "A", "B", and "C". Seventy-five percent of Mr. Zondebok's class come to him lacking a proficiency in "A", "B", and "C".

One year he tries to teach "D" to those who are proficient, while simultaneously teaching "A", "B", and "C" to those who lack the proficiency. At the end of the year, though many students have shown gains in A, B, and C; only twenty percent of his students are proficient in "D". 

The next year, Mr. Zondebok tries teaching "D" equally to everyone, hoping his 75% lacking in A, B, and C proficiency will catch on. At the end of the year, those students who lacked proficiency in A, B, and C showed little growth, and only twenty-five percent of his class are proficient with skill "D".

Mr. Zondebok is labeled a failure.  New laws in the state mandate that Mr. Zondebok receive less pay for one year to motivate him to teach better. Next year, if he shows no improvement, he will be fired.

So class, here are your response choices. The problem is:

A. Mr. Zondebok is a failure as a teacher and deserves to be fired.

B. Mr. Zondebok has many students who simply cannot learn skill "D".

C. Mr. Zondebok and his students are caught in a system that advances students, regardless of proficiency, into subjects which require pre-requisite skills; thereby setting them up for failure.

America's politicians, both Republican and Democrat, have chosen A. It is the choice that is easiest for them to make.

Which do you choose?


Don said...

"C", please. I totally agree with you.

Andrew said...

Yep, but the districts don't feel that way. I just got finished filling out a bunch of district paperwork that chastises me for my students not scoring high enough, while wanting an action plan from me of how I will do better in the future... sigh....

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