Here’s an interesting quote from Trevor Packer (Vice President for AP Programs – The College Board).
“When AP was only attracting self-taught students, it was okay for teachers to deliver traditional college lectures. But that’s certainly not what teachers are saying is going to help them now.”
This quote is interesting on multiple levels, but in this post I am only going to address three points
1. I take a significant amount of flack (I’m not complaining, I volunteered for my job) when I point out the quality of instruction is fairly uniform, regardless of setting. And the predictable result of this uniformity is that academically fragile students struggle with testing and students who are not academically fragile do okay with testing. The bottom line is that the perceived success of schools has more to do with the relative wealth of the zip codes served than the quality of the staff. The above Packer quote provides additional validation (for the masses) that this observation has merit.
2. Many veteran teachers jealously guard their “right” to teach upper level classes. Often this is because those classes are either easier to teach and/or the quality of the student overcomes the quality of the instruction. Essentially the teacher’s need for ego fulfillment and professional security are validated by the “false positives” that high SES students provide. The above Packer quote provides additional validation (for the masses) that this observation has merit.
3. The landscape is changing (not as fast as it could, but changing none the less). For a variety of reasons the doors of more rigorous classrooms are opening up for more and more students. This is forcing systems to respond in order to address this reality. This is a good thing. The above Packer quote provides additional validation (for the masses) that this observation has merit.
When I work with high SES campuses, if there are nay saying teachers (generally the very VETERAN teachers and/or the upper level teacher), they focus on one of the following two “facts.” Either I’m accused of not caring enough about teacher feelings, or I’m accused of not validating their prior “success” enough. All I can do, is state the following: This quote is from one of your own… “When AP was only attracting self-taught students, it was okay for teachers to deliver traditional college lectures.”
Now, let’s quit whining, so we can focus on improving.
Think. Work. Achieve.