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Sophomore Honors Case Study

Jennifer Van Deusen EDU 615- Section 2 Instructor: Mike Hatfield April 28, 2010

Teacher Comments Tyler is a student in my fourth hour sophomore honors English class. This is Tylers first advanced level class as he was in regular English classes up until this point. I am concerned about his placement in an advanced course due to the lack of his organizational skills, study habits, knowledge of content, memorization capacity, writing ability, and reading stamina. The above mentioned skills are a vital part of the honors and advanced placement path. Comprehension and excelling scores are necessary to a successful academic career in an honors program. A deep analysis of Tyler with the previously mentioned skills is essential in assimilating the struggles Tyler is experiencing. Grades in an honors level course are weighted (projects 20%, participation 20%, writing 35%, homework 10%, tests & quizzes 15%). Tylers grades in the above mentioned areas are as follows: Category Homework Participatio n Projects Tests Writing Weight 10.00% 20.00% 20.00% 15.00% 35.00% Points in Category 105.00 20.00 90.00 225.00 15.00 Points Earned 78.75 17.00 40.00 152.00 7.00 Percent 75.00% 85.00% 44.44% 67.55% 46.66% Grade C B F D F

Assessment Results/Behaviors Organizational Skills- Tyler utilizes an assignment notebook to write down tasks for his various classes. Upon observing his notebook, assignments appear scattered and not consistent. In a given week, two to three days are filled in with tasks and due dates. Tyler uses a folder to keep assignments for my class and has a designated English notebook. When viewed, his notebook contains notes from other academic classes; Spanish, math, etc As an observer he has some systematic tendencies, but in order to improve his learning in the classroom a

revamping of his organizational habits must be in order.

Study Habits- Tylers quiz and test scores fluctuate between Cs to Fs depending on the content and preparation. At the conclusion of a novel study, Julius Caesar, a unit test was given; which consisted of 60 multiple choice questions and two short answer questions. Tyler earned a C on this test; which concludes that he understood most of the material, but he still had difficulty with portions of it. Another type of assessment used in class is vocabulary quizzes. The words are of a higher level complexity and are often tied with the ACT exam or the Advanced Placement Exam. Students are given sentences and asked who or what questions using the vocabulary word in order to determine a true understanding of the word. So far this year we have had 6 of these quizzes and Tyler has not earned a passing score on them. Students are given anywhere from three weeks to one month to prepare for a quiz that contains between 12-24 words. Conversations with Tyler conclude he is not preparing for these quizzes the way he should. Actions were taken and discussed below as to the methods to improve his scores. Flaws in his study habits include procrastinating the studying until the night before or in some cases the morning of, not utilizing memorization techniques (flashcards, study buddies, etc). The lack of preparation has deterred him from succeeding on these assessments.

Writing Ability- Tylers writing style appears mechanical and cookie cutter at times. He struggles with finding and developing the appropriate voice for the writing piece at hand. Writing samples show several mistakes in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Tyler does not take the time to edit or have someone else review his work before submitting it. Upon conversing with Tyler he waits until the last minute to complete the writing assignment and turns it in as is. Many times Tyler does not turn in writing assignments. When asked about this, he mentions he did not understand the assignment; therefore he did not attempt it. As writing is weighted the most in an honors English class; not completing a writing assignment or turning in a late paper will not help in the accurate assessment of ones writing skills. Bottom line- I cannot help him become a better writer until some of the procrastination and organization habits become reformed. Thus, those habits take top priority in transforming and hopefully with my coaching the rest will fall into place.

Reading Stamina- In an honors level course students are required to read five independent reading books per quarter. Tyler did not read any books for third quarter. When asked if Tyler liked to read; he replied that he did but only at certain times. I feel the study habits and organizational skills have affected his all around

performance in the classroom. Those will be the two elements I will tackle first in my mission to improve Tylers presentation in an honors level course.

Checklist The motivation for Tylers success in an honors level course is dependent on his willingness to attempt and comprehend the material, and my ability to direct him in the right path to those successes. The Goal Orientation Theory, which I have deemed directional learning, will be the ideal meshing of teacher and student with the outcome of success. The elements below are the start of a checklist to further help Tyler develop his strengths. Passing vocabulary tests with a C or better (Mastery Goal) Developing study habits including: flashcards and study buddies (Performance Goal) Studying a little bit each night starting weeks in advance (Performance Goal) English notebook for English class notes only (Performance Goal) Folder contains handouts, essays, etc and is organized and current (Performance Goal) Assignment notebook utilized daily (Mastery & Performance) Papers submitted to teacher ahead of due date for revision (Performance Goal) Papers submitted to teacher on time and earns a score of C or better (Mastery Goal) Student self edits and fixes mistakes in grammar or punctuation (Mastery Goal) Student completes 5 book per quarter assignment (Mastery Goal) Student reads at home on their own for half an hour nightly (Performance Goal) Student asks questions during class, after, or before when confused (Performance Goal)

The elements listed below are interventions the teacher will make in order to establish success for Tyler while in class:

Check assignment notebook to make sure tasks are filled out and date listed when they are due Request Tyler turn in assignments (essays, papers) ahead of time for revision Communicate with parents weekly on progress- both good and bad Encourage Tyler to come in at least once a week for extra help and/or review of content

With a plan of action in effect Tyler will be under a more structured course load and help him establish his place in the honors program. It is my hope that he will develop these organizational and study skills that will further develop his content, writing, and reading abilities. With a strong background in all of the areas he should reach success in the honors program. If Tyler continues to not work at improving his poor habits, it will be under strong recommendation that he not continue in the advanced placement track while in high school. Conclusion After watching Tyler under a magnifying glass for several weeks, it is under strong recommendation that he not continue in the honors program. I have found Tylers work inconsistent at best, and his increases in the checklist areas and grade scores are not significant enough to where I would feel an advanced placement student should be. When it comes down to the bottom line Tyler is not motivated to do the course work. If a student is going to be successful on the AP track they are going to have to possess a strong will-power, determination, and dedication to pushing their own academic success. At the end of the day Tyler does not want to do the work or push himself, nor will he let others help set it up for him. His parents want the label of being in an honors class; however they do not understand why he does not succeed. I have remained in constant contact with both of his parents; reminding them weekly of missing assignments or poor test scores. Tyler did earn a passing score on his vocabulary test, but as for other improvements they are few and far between. In this case, Tylers parents want him in the honors program more than he cares to be there. He is floundering, but they refuse to see that he is not motivated to do the work involved. I have been checking to make sure that Tyler is filling out his assignment notebooks and make attempts to become more organized, but he lacks the initiative to do it himself. I even supplied him with a two pocket folder to be used for my class only. It now has become his everything folder. The most important evaluation is seen through his reading capability and writing ability. Both of which are scattered, due to the fact that Tyler will not complete his reading assignments, and the writing assignments although are turned in- lack of effort and ability due to poor execution of time and low comprehension of content hold him back from excelling. Based on recent reading assessments and writing samples, I

have suggested that Tyler enroll in a regular level English class for the fall semester.