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Equal Courses, Unequal Opportunities

The+opportunity+of+receiving+extra+credit+can+change+a+student%C2%B4s+test+2+letter+grades.
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Equal Courses, Unequal Opportunities

The opportunity of receiving extra credit can change a student´s test 2 letter grades.

The opportunity of receiving extra credit can change a student´s test 2 letter grades.

Lola Akinlade

The opportunity of receiving extra credit can change a student´s test 2 letter grades.

Lola Akinlade

Lola Akinlade

The opportunity of receiving extra credit can change a student´s test 2 letter grades.

Lola Akinlade, Staff Writer

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Students often talk about unfair opportunities between classes of the same course. It is common to hear phrases like, “you’re so lucky you have Mrs. Lopez, she’s much easier than Mr. White” dispersed around the halls. Although this has been a widely known problem, there have been no apparent changes or solutions.

The curriculum for our world history and geography classes are set by the Illinois State Standards. The material that we cover reflects the educational standards set forth by the state.The standards provide a framework for the skills and content that must be addressed. Individual teachers have more freedom in how they want to teach those skills and content,” social studies  teacher Mr. Casey Aubin stated.

It is understandable that certain teachers have different styles of teaching. However, what is not understandable is the variation of opportunities different classes of the same course receive. For example, some classes may offer retakes or extra-credit opportunities, while the same class with a different teacher will not.

Extra credit is up to individual teachers. I don’t typically offer a lot of extra credit in my classes. I will try to throw a few extra credit questions on tests here and there, but I don’t have a lot of extra credit assignments,” Mr. Aubin stated.

 

Students, like sophomore CJ Allen, have noticed disparities among the opportunities offered to classes of equal curriculum, but with different teachers.

“I think that you can’t standardize how hard a teacher is because everyone learns in different ways. I assume you can standardize the opportunities that everyone gets,” Allen stated.

While my grade in science may be on the border, five points away from an A, someone with a different teacher may have the opportunity to receive the five points of extra credit or a test makeup that I was never offered. This is evidently unfair because I have no control over the teacher I receive, but those missed opportunities shouldn’t determine my grade.

“Some teachers don’t offer extra credit or they offer a lot and some people that would do the extra credit don’t have the opportunity to,” Allen agreed.

While students have noticed these disparities, the urgency for change remains debated.

“Yes [students should receive the same opportunities], but I don’t know how urgent of a need it is. I feel like it should be a priority, but I don’t know enough about the disparity of the situation to know how large the priority should be, “ Allen stated.

Some students believe that there is no need to standardize the opportunities offered in classes.

“Not everyone will always get the same opportunities. Even if there was a way to even out where points are given, some teachers are just harder to understand and each kid will have a different level of difficulty with that teacher’s style of teaching,” sophomore Claire Wagner shared.

While different teaching styles are and should remain different, unequal opportunities should not be accepted, especially if it’s something as simple as monitoring the amount of extra credit or the number of test make-ups teachers can offer.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Equal Courses, Unequal Opportunities”

  1. Kurt Hironimus on October 15th, 2015 9:48 am

    Students have approximately 24-30 teachers in their four years at LHS. Over the course of the four years, how difficult their teachers are should even out (let’s face it–we are talking about how hard a teacher is, not about “opportunities”).
    Also, I’ve had plenty of students come back and tell me future classes were easier because I was harder, so maybe students should complain when they have the easier teachers. Actually, some do.
    Finally, conformity will just hurt the students. All teachers account for what’s right for students in different ways. Instead of wishing extra credit will be offered for all, students might consider that instead they might get extra credit for none.

  2. Lola Akinlade on October 22nd, 2015 5:32 pm

    Thank you for your response! I completely agree and mentioned that the difficulty of teachers shouldn’t be something to complain about, because it helps students prepare for future classes. The issue I had was specifically with the opportunities offered from teachers of the same course, not with the difficulty of the teacher. The amount of extra credit or test make-ups a teacher offers should not have an effect on the individuality of the class, as it doesn’t change the teaching style or curriculum. Finally, it may be beneficial to offer extra credit for none, as the opportunities among classes would remain equal. Thanks for your input!

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