Introducing A B Ready to Educators
Hello, I am Dr. Virginia Ballinger and I am here to help you create educational programs which guarantee student success. You may be wondering what makes this website, AB Ready, different from all the other educational websites you have visited. Well, what I am going to share with you about student success is based on 21,600 hours (that’s 900 hours each school year times 24 years) as a classroom teacher plus a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a 450 page dissertation on teacher leadership.
During my teaching career I often asked myself; What motivates students to work hard? Why do some students succeed in school and others just barely scrape by? Why are there too many students who graduate from high school and are still required to take remedial classes when they enter colleges and universities? Why haven’t the recent standards movement and high-stakes assessments worked to guarantee student success?
Based on my years as a high school classroom teacher I realized that by the time students entered my classroom they had pretty much learned the rules of the game. They knew just how much or how little effort to exert in my class to receive a credit. Now, I know this must sound a bit cynical but nevertheless I realized that our system actually encouraged students to do the minimum. Unfortunately the minimum does not prepare students to succeed.
All teachers want students to work hard and be successful. Nothing is more satisfying to a teacher than to have a class of hard-working, motivated students. However, we have created a system which allows students to do the minimum and still graduate from high school.
Lets look at high school graduation requirements. Virtually every state requires students to earn a specific numbers of credits (Carnegie Units) to graduate. In Ohio, for example, students must acquire 20 credits in required courses plus 5 credits from a selection of elective classes.
Now, if students fulfill the graduation requirements and receive a diploma why are colleges and universities still finding that are not prepared to do college work and employers still bemoan the fact they can’t hire people who are qualified to do the work?
Here is the answer – we give students credit for a class whether they receive an A, B, C, or D. That’s right. A student who barely passes the class with a D receives one credit and the student who makes an A gets the same – one credit. Which student is prepared for the next level? Which student deserves the credit?
I began to ask myself what could we do to motivate all students to work hard? What could we do as a school to hold all students to high standards? These are the questions that my colleagues and I tried to answer. What changes would we need to make to guarantee student success? After much discussion and deliberation, we decided to change the rules of the game. The new rules require students to get an A or B in a class to receive credit.
If you want to know how we made the changes in the system, I invite you to join A B Ready where you will have free access to all our resources, including an eBook of how a group of teachers designed a program to guarantee student success.