Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Day 75: 28%

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...


  1. Who is it that you are afraid of, and how can you switch it so that the students are afraid of them. The fake it til you make rule might apply here. If you did have the confidence you described, you'd probably try to email the parents, or guidance counselor, or administrator and include the text you've already laid out. Maybe try that? You can do a mail merge pretty easy with google sheets + Yamm and then you can quickly transition some pressure off of your shoulders and on to the people who are responsible for this situation, the students.

  2. I agree with the comment above. You are preparing them for the choice they'll make in college!

  3. Fear and exhaustion are tough adversaries. I appreciate your vision and guts, and your willingness to share.

    I hope you can overcome these as you provide opportunities for your students to learn, and as you continue to grow as a teacher.

    Wish I had some advice to help. All I can offer is my respect, admiration, and suggestion that you are doing good work.



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