Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tyrant of OR


Tyrant of OR is an interesting article that was passed along to me, and has gotten me thinking quite a bit. It is the belief that we often feel we have to make a choice between things – that one thing wins and one thing loses. For example problem solving and computation but in reality often we don't have to make a choice. You can do both – it is little counter-intuitive but I like the idea.

At my school we wanted higher ACT scores and more students taking the test.   And the single answer has been rigor.  I have pushed rigor, which is not just more homework (for me it has been less).   And as I pushed rigor, I have also pushed the idea that all students can be college math ready.  So even though math grades did drop at my school, our ACT scores and percentage of students have both gone up.

And to get scores to increase we did not lean the pool of test takers, we increased the count -- challenged more students to see how ACT would rank their college readiness.  Pushing hard on students to take the test and do well.  We have seen our college math placement scores go up AND more taking it -- from 20ish to 22.5ish for score and less 50% to nearly 75% taking it.  Definitely not a tyrannt of OR  -- would those results be the expectation?

Would you expect students to take more math with increased rigor? More students to take the ACT? Cause they are, when I started only a handful of students would take math as a senior – now nearly all the students do. When I started not even half of the students took the ACT test for college placement. This year over ¾ of the graduating class took the test.

Why? Because high rigor raises student performance AND student expectations of themselves. The students know they can perform at high level and that college or secondary schooling are within reach. Not everyone has to, but the problem solving ability, ability to learn are skills that serve students well for a lifetime.

OR does not have to be choice, I am taking AND. 



Dr. Cathleen Becnel Richard is an Assistant Professor at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. She earned her doctorate in 2010 from Northcentral University in E-Learning and Teaching Online. Her research interests include academic advising, distance learning, reflective learning, and service learning. - See more at: http://www.communityworksinstitute.org/cwjonline/articles/aarticles-text/bayou_tchgsustain.html#sthash.uZ3CFLf1.dpuf