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FCM: Mathematical Zombies – 5 excuses

February 22, 2016

Colin has a nice post over on his blog from back in May  which I evidently missed. I like this one a lot so I’d recommend you go and read it before proceeding.

Attack of the mathematical zombies: Five excuses that need a bullet to the head

This speaks to me of a bigger issue in education regarding the idea of whose responsibility is it for a student to pass any given exam? Teacher, student or parent? I’m reminded of this:

teachers now 1960

Image credit: Truth dig

I’m happy to accept that parents have a part to play and that teachers certainly have a degree of responsibility here. However, ultimately, who’s actually sitting the exam? Who’s going to be relying on these grades for the rest of their life?*

Dr Mary Bousted clearly was having some similar thoughts when she questioned whether it helps students if teachers are held accountable for their results.

There isn’t a quick fix here but it was refreshing to hear from a colleague at my school recently when he took over the role of KS5 maths coordinator. Year 13 students had an early test to see if they had studied the work they were set over the holiday and during the last month of year 12. Some students clearly hadn’t done well and came to see him saying something like, “I don’t think I did very well on that. When’s the retest?” to which his response was, “There isn’t one. You failed.” Harsh perhaps but helpful to remind the students that you don’t always get second chances.

I do think there needs to be a shift where the students recognise that their results are just that. THEIR results.

*The students is the answer


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