Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Absent Students on Test Day

I got my first taste on how things work at my new school in the cases where kids are absent on a test day. In my old school after I'd been there a while, I found what the culture of the school was and what it would take for the kids to finally make up a test (so that a week or so hasn't passed and they then finally meander in after school to make it up). I announced firmly at the start of school and frequently after that (right before test day) that if they were absent during a test, then I would put them in the hall the next class and they would finish/take the test. This stopped people from being spontaneously sick during test day. It also stopped people from taking forever and 2 days to make it up.

Well, at my new school, I just gave my first test. To be fair, a ton of kids have been out with the flu and such. So basically I had about 2 kids per class that missed a test over the span of 2 block days. Hmmm, I was told the kids were pretty good about coming in and being proactive about taking care of business. Supposedly, they were to come to me of their own initiative and make up the tests. Did not happen. Then the next class day I asked them separately when they could come in after school. Hmmm, mumble mumble. Still did not come in. Finally, I entered a 0 in the electronic gradebook for the absentees' test columns, and it brought their averages WAY down.

Our students and their parents have access to the gradebook. The advisory classes were also to check grades today. And magically, 3 students showed up after school today to make up their tests without any extra prompting from me. Coincidence? Well, either that, or I don't have to keep nagging. If they choose to keep the zero, okay. .... Well, what if later on after TOO much time passes, THEN they want to make it up. I guess I'll wait and see what happens to see if I'll change my strategy.

On another note. One of my classes was getting TOO chatty, and I was crabby in class because of it. New seating today. Poof! Quiet class (for now!) and poof poof: happy teacher that could actually crack some jokes because she wasn't monitoring their rude behavior. I even threw in some off-topic math that they actually found cool (who knew). I was making up problems and asking for numbers, at one point someone called "6". Then I had to say, "you know, 6 is a perfect number". Then went on to tell them what the definition of a perfect number is. Then shockingly (I guess it shouldn't be, but remember, this was my trouble class), they started to wonder out loud about other numbers and their perfectness. Ahhhh, I'll take this one bright spot with this class as it was our best time together since the start of school. Hopefully, it will happen more often.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, the zero in the grade book has long been my secret to getting kids to come in and make up tests! It works very well. It's gotten me in some hot water with a few coaches but I stand my ground. It is in my syllabus that I hand out the first day. A test will be counted as a zero until it is made up. Works like a charm!!!

    I guess it must be the 4th week, I am changing my seating charts tomorrow in several classes.