Friday, March 27, 2015

Has shaming ever worked?

Read an interesting article from my boss today - UW System wants to reduce remedial math classes - this article fits right into philosophy about our jobs as high school math educators -- which is we must prepare our graduates for college and career with respect to math.

Thus I was excited to read that UW schools plan to make data available on its incoming students math readiness - with the (correct) idea that if HS teachers know the deficits they can correct going forward.  And all the information we can get helps us as educators, info is the key to decisions.

Right now I have to track my students myself - ask (harass) how they placed, how their first math course went etc.  Pretty easy when you are a small school teacher in a rural community where everybody knows everybody - but pretty hard otherwise I am guessing.

But UW System also plans to make the data public saying " That number (of remedial students)  has prompted new legislation that would require the UW Board of Regents to disclose where students taking remedial math classes went to high school."

And perhaps I am reading this wrong but it seems to imply that the numbers would be public immediately - and I wonder how that will effect teachers..  If it will push them to teach to the test.  If the public shaming is the motivating factor - to improve?  to make better math students?

Or is this simply a push to provide cover for the UW system schools saying - it is not our fault that students don't graduate because of math.

I do believe it is on me to make sure my Algebra 2 students finish that course capable of testing into college Algebra thus not being a remedial math casualty.   And with the new rule you will soon see my results.....