Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fury, and a retest?

The last AP U.S. History test was a disaster.  The highest grade was in the low 80s and the class average was a cool 66% percent, with absolutely no chance for damn A.  Not even close.  This test should have had a ten percent higher rate.  It was pre-Revolutionary War through the ratification of the Constitution for Christ sake.  Some of these questions had information that was not only from the textbook, Hippocampus, and my notes (that we go over in class and online), but should have come from the good old 8th grade history class (Shot Heard Around the World?  Hello?). 

After investigating some students notes two things are evident.  First, many students are simply not taking the time to read.  And second, those that are reading are not taking the time to take notes from that reading.  Both of those things are absolutely necessary for students to succeed in class.  Unfortunately some students fail to do these things which creates an immediate drop in quiz and test scores.  If you were excellent in standard U.S. History and only read, you’ll struggle to get a B in APUSH.  That’s what many of my students are finding out.

That’s another interesting note; only half my students in APUSH are actually from the 10th grade AP European History course.  That’s a good thing and a bad thing.  When asked, prior AP students said that they could only take so many AP courses and that Math and Science took priority over APUSH, which by-the-way has a reputation of being very difficult.  I have no problem with that.  Life is about making decisions and priorities need to be set.  But the interesting part is the number of kids who are taking AP classes for the first time or are taking an Advanced Placement Social Studies class for the first time.  It can seem quite overwhelming for someone to jump from something so focused on easy, standardized test questions to a mammoth course that requires extensive knowledge and analytical skills.

I’ll keep working on them of course.  But sense report cards come out Monday I’m expecting my class to continue to shrink.  One transferred out of the school last week and I’m looking at two not being very satisfied with their grades and possibly leaving fairly soon.  That’s what happens with open enrollment. 

blog comments powered by Disqus