When I first introduced the differentiated assessment to my Astronomy students, they were very open to the idea. We had a conversation about how I didn't want to keep giving them tests, but rather wanted them to be able to demonstrate their knowledge however they could.
Over the course of a month, they had to complete 5 assignments of their choice from a list. These assignments differed in point value based on how complex each one was. Simple assignments were worth 5 points while the more complicated and time-intensive ones were worth 15 or 20.
I set periodic due dates in order to make sure they didn't fall behind, but allowed them to be turned in later.
My classes stand as follows:
Total students enrolled in Astronomy: 128
Total students who turned in all 5 assignments: 1
Students who have turned in 4 of 5 assignments: 6
Students who have turned in no assignments: 36
28% of my Astronomy students have not turned in any assignments.
I am at a loss.
Many of my students NEED to pass my class in order to graduate, but that doesn't seem to translate to work completion.
Once again, I'm struggling with finding out where my responsibility ends. I am meant to believe that this is a reflection on me as a teacher. If I were a better teacher, more engaging, more interesting, more in tune with the needs/desires of my students, I would be able to find a way to inspire them to complete these tasks.
My head knows this isn't true, but I can't seem to convince the rest of me without feeling as though I'm giving up.
One of my colleagues has enough confidence not to worry about this. "Here's a list of opportunities that I have given and resources I've provided. You (your child) made the decision not to do them."
I should get him to mentor me. I say these things too. And then I'm questioned and it all falls apart.
I'm so tired of being afraid...