Create Change in the Math Department of Ann Sobrato High School
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The math department at our school is leaving people behind. In my experience as a student in the Common Core program at Ann Sobrato High School, I discovered that the math department does not tailor its teaching needs to every learning style of its students. And it is truly impossible as well, because there is so little time to stop and talk with the students. Common Core is based on groups, so the teachers aren’t as involved as they would be in another curriculum. Sometimes, we do not even get to ask questions at all from the teacher, we have to work in groups and ask others who are just as confused as we are. We cover a lesson every day, and then move on to the next, sometimes in the same day. Every 2-3 weeks, we have a chapter test. This translates to 508-767 minutes per chapter, but according to Josh Kaufman in a TED talk, we need 20 hours (1,200 min) to learn a concept. Therefore, we do not have enough time to understand the lessons.
Without fail, there is always outrage before and after each and every test, since many feel they have not been taught enough to pass. This is because the test does not correspond with the material in the Common Core books and what is taught in class. Additionally, there is a policy that there are no retakes on tests, so the poor grade that students get after taking the test is the one they have to keep in their gradebook. Due to the fact that students don't have time to understand and ask questions before tests, they are forced to try and get help from outside sources like tutoring which can be an economic struggle for some students. For a school that is very proud about their national standard as one of the best schools, one would assume that one of the largest subjects with 3 required years to graduate would be better tailored to help its students succeed.
On top of this, the grading system does not include homework, and tests are worth 55% of our grade. Although we understand that teachers believe that the grade enough should be sufficient motivation, many do not wish to do anything if it does not count toward their grade. Because of this, a lot of students never complete their homework, regardless of the end result. If the students do not complete their homework, they don't understand the material, and if they don't understand the material, future homework is too hard to comprehend. This results in less practice and lower grades on tests. For example, one senior whose freshman year they counted homework got a B, but the next year got a D because the grading system changed to not include homework. Upon asking the teachers to alter this grading system, we are only confronted with "that's the way the other teachers do this" and "that's the way the math department wants it to be." In integrated 3, the average grade for all of the classes was a C, according to Mr. Arata. This is not acceptable for students who wish to go on to college with a good GPA.
Please help us by signing this petition to create a dialogue with the administration in order to
- Change the way tests and homework assignments are weighted to 10-15% for homework and 40-45% for tests
- Change the teaching curriculum in order to include all students with different types of learning instead of forcing students to rely on peers and tutors
- Slow down the lessons to achieve higher understanding of each subject
We hope that by doing this, we can help students in the future to learn this subject and be able to take higher-level math classes in high school and college.
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