Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The 80% Commandment

I saw this at Kitchen Table Math: http://kitchentablemath.blogspot.com/2008/11/80-commandment.html and I have found it to be true in my classroom.

"The relationship between students’ accuracy with schoolwork and their subsequent
behavior is described by the 80% Commandment: “Thou shall not expect a student
to do a learning task when he or she does not have the skills to complete the
task with 80% success. Otherwise, that student will either act out or tune out.”
Today’s frustrated students who lack basic skills most often respond by acting
out."

Today was the last day of the week for us. I expected my remedial classes to put up a fuss about working today. I thought about the 80% commandment when I decided what we would do for the day. Since we learned how to solve linear inequalities in one variable yesterday, i thought we would spend another day on the topic and extend what we learned yesterday to include inequalities with no solution, all real numbers solution, and compound inequalities. Because they were somewhat familiar with the topic, they were quite agreeable during the lesson and everyone finished the assignment and turned it in. Overall, it was a fairly pleasant day. I think the moral of the story is, when you know you are going to have a day that has the potential for a lot of excitement like Homecoming, Halloween, day before holiday, etc. . . Remember the 80% rule. You'll be glad you did.

2 comments:

Pissed Off said...

I can't agree more. The kids that act out the most are the kids who don't belong in the class to begin with.

jd2718 said...

I like this a lot. I learned long ago that a lot of my bad student behavior at the beginning of my career came from overmatching them. Quantifying that observation is a nice idea (though, I don't know abotu exactly that number... I think it is the idea that matters more...)

Jonathan

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