Friday, February 13, 2009

File under: Kids These Days

Sigh. Remember how when you were in school, if you (or your friends, if you are the honest sort) were going to cheat, you'd be all sneaky? Well, things are both the same and different.

I gave my kiddos a test this week. Scores were not great, for the most part. The highest score was about an 84%, from my very best students. Plus, it took the kiddos between 1-1.5 hours to complete the test (unless the bombed it and were willing to give up the ghost).

Enter Beth. Beth missed school on Tuesday and I don't see her Wednesday. When I saw her Thursday, all but a handful had taken the test. So, it's definitely possible that answers had leaked into the populace. Heck, I remember getting the answers to chemistry tests before we took them at all! (I should probably explain myself about that at some point)

Beth asked to take the test in the hall, and since this is common at my school and she has never cheated before, I said ok. The test then took her 20-30 minutes, 50% less than the average student. I graded the test, and missed only 2, which netted her about 11 points more than my BEST know, the ones who study, who pay attention and are engaged, who come to tutorials.....Well, Beth is none of these things. Her current average in my class is a 60, and when she DOES turn in work, it's not good quality. She received a score lower than a 50 on a recent quiz. During class, she enjoys yelling across the room to friends while I'm talking (a lovely habit, to be certain).

With this evidence, I told her that I wanted her to retake the test. I told her why, and she understood why I thought that cheating was a possibility (that I can't prove, since she was in the hall). She refused to retake the test, telling me that she didn't want to prove herself and that I could just give her a zero. You see the added suspicion here? We went round and round, I had her call mom, who she conveniently couldn't reach. At this point, I was not going to continue to discuss this with her, so I told her she could leave. I wasn't angry at any point, just trying to figure out why all of a sudden she was the smartest kid, as far as evolution was concerned. Oh, she did better than a preAP teacher's "nerdiest" student, too. Hmm.

I emailed my AP, telling him the situation. The I called Dad, who told me he was on his way.

We had a lovely conference, with mom in some slight denial about her daughter (not dad, though!), and Beth continued to refuse to retake the test. Nothing could get through to this child!

Finally, I told her and her parents that my suggestion was that she think about this over the weekend. I would make the new test, and if she wanted to take it, it would be ready for her. We'll see what she decides. I hope she chooses to be smart, rather than stubborn and dumb. If she chooses not to take this test again, I predict her behavior worsening in my class, and her effort declining to the point of nonexistence. Sigh.

Adding to this is the fact that her answers to her review sheet where mostly incomplete or flat-out wrong, as least as far as evolution is concerned.

The sad part is that if she were a better student, I would have undoubtedly given her this grade, as I had another student "lose" her answer sheet (she was THERE on Tuesday, I have no grade, no answer sheet for her) and she had to retake the test and ALSO got a 95%. Which, in light of these events, is obviously highly suspicious. However, although I know her to be two-faced, I also know that she is very intelligent and her work can be quite good. So, in this case she gets the grade.

It's unfortunate that Beth is getting caught up in this, and my mistake was in letting her go into the hall where I couldn't see her. I apologized to her for that, as well as for her being in this situation.

Nevertheless, I think I just gained one more flunky. Sigh.

I hope I'm wrong.


  1. What's going on behind the scenes there? A smart girl, obviously, but not clued in to want to perform in school. Have you talked with the school counselor? :D

  2. We've talked with her and her parents several times now. She's just being insanely stubborn. She thinks that no one can help her, she's all alone in the world, etc. I mean, it's so classic teenage angst, it's silly. Sigh.

    I think she's one of those who needs to learn the hard way. shrug She wants to go into the military, so if she doesn't get this chip off her shoulder by then, she'll have it knocked off by her DI. Lol!

  3. Sadly, the biggest response to this is going to be, "I could never be a teacher," but you know, its the kids we want to run from who need us the most.

    Keep the faith, bella.

  4. We had this big long conference with her and her parents, and I tried to convince her we were here for her, etc.

    The next day, my AP told me that if she had pulled that attitude with him (I refuse to retake the test) he would have just told her she failed.

    I didn't say anything, but I was glad I took the time with her. Even though it meant not working out that day.

    On Friday, she was quiet and participated in class. I'm hopeful.

  5. You are a wonderful teacher and you go the extra mile. She'll remember you and thank you later, if only to herself.

  6. I am really glad that you didn't just fail her outright. (Not that it would have been wrong on your part to do so). Hopefully she will start to learn about choices and consequences. Giving her a second chance and including her parents will hopefully show the parents that you are not just singling their daughter out for punishment. (I've seen that attitude repeated over and over again).

  7. Update: She re-took the test. It took her an hour and a half. And it was the exact same test, with some of the questions rearranged, and some of the answer choices rearranged.

    I haven't graded it yet, though.

    I'm glad she retook it, and she has been better in class, which I have pointed out to her. :)