As an undergraduate in secondary education, I developed a test for
students at the highest level in high school ("college prep") in which
more than half of the students earned a D. In my naivete I had written a
test which asked them to apply the knowledge rather than just repeat it.

In my current work with college students, every now and then, I encounter
an high school honor student who is working hard but barely earning a C
or less in exams. This is where we discuss the importance of going beyond
the what level of understanding to why, how and suppose. When I ask these
students if an apple and banana are the same, they often say no. Then when
I ask, how are they similar, they come up with the category fruit. It is
not a matter of ability. It comes back to learning style/individual
perspective. These are the students who may be able to solve the problem
but cannot justify the approach. In the case of the at-risk students, we
need to factor in attitude/values which clash with the traditional
learning environment.

Whether a student chooses to work hard/effectively is beyond our control.
We can only provide the options/encouragement/support. We all recognize
that internal motivation is critical, but much of society operates on
external motivation. No wonder so many students are
confused/helpless/unmotivated. I like to believe that there are more
students who are succeeding than not. The good news is that there's plenty
of work for us to do. Which reminds to get back to work.

Aloha,  Rosie

Rosemarie Woodruff
Counseling and Student Development Center
University of Hawaii-Manoa
2600 Campus Road, SSC 312
Honolulu, HI 96822

                The world is full of obstacle illusions.
                                                         Grant Frasier

On Fri, 12 Nov 1999, Prof Lorraine Lavorata wrote:

> I agree to some degree but the example of Just Say No is not a good one
> because that was alot more than just a slogan, it involved going into schools
> and doing outreach and working with children in groups and projects about drug
> abuse. Now for this issue of inner city kids, they have to do something to get
> somethinhg. One cannot rest on their laurels and it is not just like Mager
> they oughta wanna so to speak, it is reality. If I sat on my derriere I would
> not be a college teacher pursuing a doctorate. If any one of us sat on our
> derrieres we would not be the successful educational professionals we are
> today. Well if innercity kids want a piece of the pie they need to work for
> it. I blame their culture and families for the way they are since all they see
> is welfare, drug abuse etc. We need to go into these communities and do
> outreach and provide education and show role models who have made it because
> they took the right classs and did the work to get there. IN my doctoral
> programme Herve Varenne is one of my professors and he is from France and I
> have heritage from France. MY little France cohort however, feels that the
> outside needs to be fixed in society and not these innercity kids. Well I feel
> that the outside sure needs fixing, but most of the fixing is within the
> innercity culture. We as academics must reverence hard work, money and success
> and instead of downgrading business and money. We need to teach innercity kids
> that work is the key to success, not gangs. Have them use their leaderships
> skills used for gangs in some community service or some work group in the
> classroom. and most of all make sure they must take more classes and let's
> stop encouraging remedical education, let's encourage hard work in high
> school. Thanks France
> ===== Original Message From Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
> <[log in to unmask]> =====
> >The response from "France" is controversial for good reason. The concept
> >of free will and individual responsibility is widely overdrawn. It may be
> >possible for us to relieve ourselves of the feeling of responsibility by
> >suggesting that, in Mager's words, "they really oughta wanta," but in
> >reality it is about as effective as the "just say no' propaganda effort to
> >reduce drug use. Evidence suggests that neither is the least effective.
> >
> >On the other hand, the fact that these young people have grown up in an
> >environment that did not lead them to prepare themselves for academia,
> >should not require society to create a sort of academic special olympics,
> >where everyone can succeed no matter what their disability. Practicality
> >demands that we maintain the standards that society requires and at the
> >same time offer something of value to those who cannot--for whatever
> >reasons--meet those standards. I think we know how to do the former; I see
> >no evidence that we have a clue regarding the latter. When half of my
> >pre-pre-college students fail to pass the arithmetic course for the second
> >time, what helpful advice can I give them?
> >
> >John M. Flanigan <[log in to unmask]>     The equation is the final arbiter.
> >Assistant Professor, Mathematics                    --Werner Heisenberg
> >Kapi'olani Community College            The scoreboard is the final arbiter.
> >4303 Diamond Head Road                              --Bill Walton
> >Honolulu HI  96816                      History is the final arbiter.
> >(808) 734-9371                                      --Edward Gibbon
> >
> >On Fri, 12 Nov 1999, Prof Lorraine Lavorata wrote:
> >
> >> What you say is right. I will add some very controversial yet very true
> >> observations. If poor, inner-city NYC youths are not motivated enough to
> take
> >> the required courses in high school then it is their fault why they are at
> a
> >> lower level and cannot pass the regents. They need to start challenging
> their
> >> minds instead of their fellow citizens in street gangs. It is not society's
> >> fault but their own. The education is available and if these students would
> >> take advantage, we would not need to pile up the remedial classes in
> colleges
> >> where students should already have the skills. In France these students
> would
> >> not even get the baccalareat and pass the lycee let alone get into a
> >> university. There is no open enrollment in France and in America, we should
> >> start modeling after France. France
> >>
> >>
> >> ===== Original Message From Open Forum for Learning Assistance
> Professionals
> >> <[log in to unmask]> =====
> >> >Re the Regents' difficulty level:  As you said, reactions really
> >> >depend on where one is coming from.  At my specialized high school,
> >> >we were always glad to take a Regents because it was easier than
> >> >our school's final exams.  For students in an inner-city high
> >> >school, they would be difficult.
> >> >
> >> >The format in my time was usually a multiple-choice cumulative
> >> >final, testing subject knowledge.  It was all factual and, as
> >> >one of the posts said, we got the previous exams to practice on
> >> >so we knew exactly what to expect.  I used to feel that there
> >> >was a precise way you had to take the questions--not read too
> >> >much or too little into them--and if you got a "feel" for that
> >> >you could do well.
> >> >
> >> >In New York City, I suspect that most students who don't pass
> >> >the Regents have not taken the courses, as opposed to taking the
> >> >exams and failing them.  E.g. an academic diploma requires 3
> >> >years of high school math and a general diploma requires 1 or 2.
> >> >General students take only the minimum required courses.  That is
> >> >why they jack up the remedial load at a place like CUNY--if they
> >> >haven't taken intermediate algebra, they simply have to take it
> >> >at CUNY for no credit.
> >> >
> >> >Because the Regents are subject tests, they have no meaningful
> >> >correspondence to the SAT (except in so far as bright students
> >> >who test well will do well on all types of tests).
> >> >
> >> >Another question was about the Regents College Test.  Years ago
> >> >there was a Regents Scholarship Test.  I don't recall the content
> >> >except that it was grueling (I think it took two full days).
> >> >They were used for awarding merit scholarships, the precise
> >> >amount of which was then aligned with your tuition.  That was
> >> >abolished a number of years ago and was replaced by the Tuition
> >> >Assistance Program which is based solely on financial need.  I
> >> >assume the reason was that with the advent of open admissions and
> >> >the imposition of tuition at CUNY (which used to be free), poor
> >> >and underprepared students became the primary population at CUNY
> >> >and perhaps at other colleges as well.
> >> >
> >> >Again, apologies to the upstate people for my painting such a
> >> >provincially New York City picture!  I've been accused of being
> >> >too provincial more than once before, but it's all I know--which
> >> >means, I guess, that the label fits.
> >> >
> >> >Annette Gourgey
> >>
> >> Je pense, donc, je suis, Rene Descarte
> >> Chacun ont deux pays et un de ils est France, Benjamin Franklin
> >> vive la France
> >>
> Je pense, donc, je suis, Rene Descarte
> Chacun ont deux pays et un de ils est France, Benjamin Franklin
> vive la France