I could just scream.

31 Aug

You probably could have heard the scream.

Through Read for L.I.F.E., I tried to help a student through Algebra II.  The course was completely online and computer scored.  Allegedly an instructor answered questions and provided assistance; however, prompt responses could not be expected.  (It was like walking a tightrope for the first time without a net underneath.)

Algebra II 2

The course required satisfactory completion of each section before moving on to the next.  Algebra II was part of his four-credit math requirement for graduation.

Math 1

Totally lost in the wilderness!

Math 2

It had to be completed by July 31.  He asked for help on July 21.  [Insert another scream here!]

Math 3

Although I didn’t look closely at all the online materials, I could see that there were probably eight categories of Algebra II to be covered.  Each category had approximately fifteen assignments, two quizzes, and a test.  Each assignment contained 25 problems. While I helped, we worked through four assignments on multiplying polynomials and factoring.  It took four hours.  (Those assignments were due June 30.  [Insert another scream here!]  Oh my ….)

During our ten days together I witnessed some understanding in the way he approached the problems.  He grasped the concepts.  However, the clock was against us.  We could worked 24 hours a day from July 21 until July 31 and probably not completed everything in order to unlock the final.

The frustrating part is that success was obtainable had he ask for help earlier!

“Will I this stuff ever be used?”   How can that question be answered?  There were no practical problems presented.  None of the dreaded story problems appeared.  Application seemed to be a non-existent thought for the developers of this course.

He’ll be 18 in two months.  He works as a transmission mechanic but is considering other possibilities — law enforcement and/or the military.  He has begun to entertain thoughts of dropping out of high school and eventually working on his GED.  It’s sad to realize that he has already completed his science graduation requirement and should have no problem with his other subjects.  It’s math that’s going to be the stumbling block.  As difficult as this course is, the belief that GED math is less challenging is a pipe dream plus he’ll have to pass the other components of the GED in order to get that certificate.

Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare applies.  Had he asked for help when the course began, success was indeed possible; however, he failed.

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