Friday, February 5, 2016

Tracking Data: Student Retention

During Fall semester I tracked my students to see how I did with retaining students, having good pass rates, and to see if my students who took a refresher course to make it into college English ended up being successful in the college English class.

I finally got around to running some data. Overall in my College Comp one classes I had about a 60% pass rate with the 40% non passing being mainly comprised of students who "ghosted" and disappeared.

With my refresher course which runs for 2 weeks and allows the instructor to read a portfolio to determine placement 13 out of the 16 students who moved on into the College Comp course passed with a "C" or "B."  There were no "As" or "Ds."

I'm pretty pleased with these results. I want a better retention rate so I'll continue to work on that but it seems that students who stick with it are doing well and I'm doing a decent job of figuring out which students can handle the rigor of College Comp!

Stay tuned for more data in May or June!

Thanks for reading! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Observing Black History Month in the Classroom

February is Black History Month. I feel like this is a really important month to celebrate and to bring into your classroom no matter what great or subject you teach.

Have you looked at your curriculum recently? Are African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and other people of color included regularly throughout your lessons? Often, unintentionally, they are left out because in many ways our curriculum hasn't changed in many years.  Much of what has become part of our educational canon was determined at a time in our history where the works of people of color were not deemed worthy of academic study.

With this idea in mind I created a Freebie last year that encourages your students to conduct a little research exercise to see what their curriculum presents them with. Ideally this sparks conversation and helps students determine whether we "need" a Black History Month or not.  Maybe, at your school, you really don't! (That'd be awesome!)

In English classes it's easy to incorporate Black History! Why not teach A Raisin in the Sun this month? Or take a look at poets such as Langston Hughes? The product below uses two poems from Langston Hughes to prepare students for reading A Raisin in the Sun but it can be used, easily, without the play.

We all have to do our part to make sure marginalized voices; women, people of color, disabled, LGBTQ are heard.  There is high quality literature from and about all of these groups.  What are some of your favorites to include?

Thanks for reading!