Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fourth Graders

It's getting somewhat close to the end of the school year, so I made a final exam for my fourth grade students.  I brought the exams to class this week, so I could show them what the exam would be like, and we could decide when the exam would be.

I expected to make it a take-home final exam, so they could have their parents help with some of the answers, or they could look up the answers online.  But the children insisted on taking the exam right then and there, without any preparation whatsoever.  I tried to get them to have a study session first, but no luck.

I guess the grades were about as good as you'd expect, considering that they were unprepared to take a final exam that week.  The middle grade on the curve was 77 out of 100, and I'm wondering what to do with the students who got low grades.  Make them retake the exam?  That'd be unfair to the students who haven't taken the exam yet.  Give them a second exam?  Give them some kind of extra credit opportunity?

I think part of the problem is that the students who failed the final exam were the students who goofed off the whole time.  They failed, simply because they didn't write anything down at all on the exam paper.  I warned them multiple times to stop talking and work on the exam, but they ignored me.  I don't really want to reward their bad behavior by letting them pass without any effort.

The oddest part of the whole class, I think, is that we had a visiting student named Joshua that day.  He's never been to the class before.  Joshua decided to take the final exam, and he got a higher score than some of the other students.  In fact, if Joshua hadn't skipped the last page, he would have easily beaten the curve.

I think that says something when someone who has never attended one of your classes can pass the final exam.  And that really reflects poorly on the students who failed.


Flashman85 said...

You could try having the students who didn't do so well write up a blurb about WHY they didn't do well--if they're honest, it might be more eye-opening than expected.

Then you could use their feedback to offer an optional "Hard Mode" final exam that challenges them to address their issues, gives tougher versions of the questions in the original exam, and caps off at a maximum score of 80% or 90% that anyone can get, regardless of if they get every question right.

For students who care enough to take responsibility for their performance, and who are willing to work harder to succeed, you're giving them a fair second chance that doesn't take away from the achievements of those who did well.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can give bonus points to the students who passed, and have the people who fail retake the exam (a different version of perhaps?) and discuss with them why they failed... What type of exam was it? If there was an essay on there, you can maybe give them the essay to redo and improve... that's what my english teacher used to do.

Anonymous said...

maybe that's because they don't take you seriously. i think you could try being strict with them and not let them retake the exam

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm ... If I was one of the fourth graders, I would have taken your offer of taking the test home and using the Internet for help. I wonder why they didn't want to do that??? Silly fourth graders. ;) Maybe for extra credit, the students should correct the problems they got wrong and for each problem they got wrong explain in a couple of sentences what they did wrong the first time or why they didn't do it at all. That way, they will remember it and want to try harder next time. Or say that exam they took was a practice test for extra credit then tell them they should study for the real test coming up. This way, the students who did really well the first time get extra credit and the students who goofed around have a second chance for the test. Hey, like a second chance button in real life instead of a Nancy Drew game. XD Well, those are my thoughts anyway. :)
P.S. If you were my teacher, I would totally pay attention in your class. Plus, you would also be my favorite teacher!!!! <3

Anonymous said...

ur a teacher?!!!!!!!! i didnt know that! do not fail any of them for christs sake theyr fourth graders! r they gonna repeat the year? what the hell theyr kids!!!!!!!!!

Zelda said...

This reminds me of something my algebra teacher said a few years ago. Some students, no matter what the teacher does, just won't understand. Other students will understand and get great grades without any influence from a teacher.

On a related note, students in general seem to be declining in responsibility and desire to learn. :/ I've always loved school and tried my best in my classes, but a lot of my classmates are just horrible students and don't care at all. It's depressing..