Showing posts with label low expectations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label low expectations. Show all posts

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Expectations of low SES students

Low expectation is something that can be easily reinforced. It can be environmental (like praising effort instead of achievement), it can be by omission (such as not making information public that would promote academic behaviour), it can be through antisocial behaviour (such as allowing bullying of academic kids) or peer associated pressures (such as girls not wanting to appear smart).

The challenge for the community, schools, teachers and parents is to prevent these negative re-enforcers.

I ask parents of friends how their students are doing and they have no idea whether they are good enough to attempt university. I get comments like - "they're getting level 'x' whatever that means - the comments from teachers are always very positive!". Parents can help motivate students without accurate information about their student. Our PC reports are doing them a disservice.

I asked lower school students how many of our students make it to university each year. The predominant response was zero to four students. The actual number is between 20 and thirty or nearly 2/5 of the cohort that stays until year 12.

The majority of students, at year 8/9, actually think that university is unobtainable. The scarier fact was in a middle school environment middle school teachers rarely teach upper school classes and can't recognise the students that need to be informed, coached and supported into university pathways.

When I asked yr 10/11 students, "What classroom scores were needed to enter university?", they answered 80+. This is not only an unrealistic target for many students but also plainly wrong, it is far lower for the majority of courses.

When I sat with teachers and we looked at standardised testing scores and sought to identify potential yr 9 students for university pathways, no-one (including me) had any idea what we could call a benchmark score before considering student attitude, school results and work ethic to start the process of identifying university bound students. We will figure it out more accurately over a number of years (if tests are kept standard) because we are interested but what of the teachers that are classroom cohort focused instead. They will rediscover similar information by the end of the year.

I start my masters this week (all going well) and the broad topic I have chosen to investigate is: "What tools are available to identify university bound students, what programmes are available to guide students into university and how effective are they for low socio-economic students?"

If you have any ideas, I would love to hear about them and include them in my research. I look forward to hearing from you!