Demonstrating the Obvious

Here are the facts. They are obvious facts as most could guess these realities without the data, but I have the data. It is also interesting that I have never seen these school realities in black and white. Maybe educators have thought they were so obvious that no one needed to go through the effort.

Obvious Fact #1:

The fewer absences a freshman has, the higher their GPA. A student who has below a 1.0 GPA missed, on average, 17.9 days last year. The student with straight A’s missed only 1.7.

Obvious Fact #2: 

The fewer missed assignments, the higher the GPA. In fact, a freshman with a 4.0 GPA has 1/100th the number of missing assignments as compared to a student with a GPA under 1.0. Obvious, and wonderfully symmetrical.

Obvious Fact #3:

The more assignments a freshman turned in, the higher his GPA. Every student with a GPA under 1.5 had a missing assignment. Nearly three out of four straight-A students did every single assignment.

Here’s the evidence in a cool chart for Obvious Facts #1 – #3:

GPA Range – Includes both semesters from this study or 976 GPA’s # of GPA’s in this range (n=976) Average number of missing assignments Number of students with zero missing assignments % of Students in each GPA who had zero missing assignments Average number of absences for each GPA range
0.17 to 1.0 45 45.40 0 0% 17.9
1.01 to 1.49 31 23.90 0 0% 7.1
1.5 to 1.99 86 20.00 1 1.16% 8.25
2.0 to 2.49 131 11.10 6 4.58% 5.4
2.5 to 2.99 130 6.40 30 23.10% 3.7
3.0 to 3.49 204 3.90 61 29.90% 3.1
3.5 to 3.99 212 1.40 111 52.35% 2.4
4 137 0.45 101 73.72% 1.7

Here are two things that are also obvious and not very helpful:

Obvious and Not Very Helpful Fact #1: 

All students who are in a juvenile detention center, and therefore have perfect attendance, do not have a 4.0 GPA. Not much more to say about that, and it doesn’t help anything.

Obvious and Not Very Helpful Fact #2: 

If we forced students to do every single assignment, they wouldn’t become a straight A scholar. A corallary: If teachers didn’t assign homework and thus eliminated any missing assignments, it wouldn’t make students smarter.

Something Helpful?

What if we as a Freshman Academy turned all our focus on missing assignments despite the fact that they would not all become 4.0 students? What if our only measure of what we were doing rested on the feedback found in the list of what was undone?

How would this change us? In a world of grays and maybes that is so often education, how would this focus on the black and white of done or not change us?

It seems obvious that students would do better. It seems obvious that teachers would look at their assignments differently. It seems like such a focus would deny us the shelter of busyness and begin to expose what is truly helpful for a freshman lost in the muddle of adolescence, absences, and missed assignments.

I think this would be helpful. So why wasn’t this obvious?

 

 

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