Passed Out

thumb203_content_335_ITIL_v3_Examinations_Average_Pass_RatesAfter all the hard work, the enthusiasm, the reflecting, the HOURS and HOURS spent researching, networking, sharing, thinking – my year has been summarized by an overall passing rate on the Algebra 2 Regents exam that is lower than my colleagues.  And after a year of my best work as an educator, not only did I find this out in a rather unpleasant manner (via text message while away at Exeter), but it seems as if the support and encouragement given to me by my supervisor has vanished because of this number. (It is thus highly ironic that I was awarded an extremely high number under the new teacher evaluation system prior to this.)

This was my first year teaching this course, and I am not happy with my numbers.  But I am also looking at this situation objectively and recognizing that this is what it feels like to be defined wholly by a number.   I shudder to think what teachers whose test scores were published in newspapers went through.

I had a great deal of difficulty writing my glowing post about Exeter earlier today because this issue was lurking just below the surface.  I put it aside while I was away, but am now confronting what it may mean for me next year programmatically and as part of the school community.  I have been filled with anxiety about a ‘loss in stature’ within my department, without seeing the larger issue – that my quest for excellence and engagement for my students and myself only matters if standardized test scores are high enough.  And that is an ugly truth.

I’ve survived far worse in my life than this, and refuse to allow my cherished summer to be ruined.  But the black storm clouds this evening definitely mirrored my mood.  Thankfully, the thunderstorm brought cooling rain and a lovely breeze.  We’ll sleep well tonight.

Watercolor by Geo

Watercolor by Geo








  1. Trina

    As a fellow math-o-phile and aquaintance from Exeter-2013, I remain inspired by YOU! Inspired that even though you came into this field later than others, you continue to grow and help so many others to do so … Some may have started earlier, but most have lost the love of numbers that you continually exhibit. They may get a higher review here and there, but what about the students with whom they are entrusted? Please know that you are so much more than ‘passable’ … You are an inspiration!

    • Wendy Menard

      Trina, you are the best! I would have loved to have seen you again this summer. Thanks for your support. Since I wrote this post, I have come to think that [hopefully] my assistant principal was reacting off the top of her head, and that, when she had a chance to reflect, realized that I am more than a passing rate on a standardized test.

      Regardless, your kind words mean a great deal -thank you.

  2. Pingback: Conundrum | Her Mathness

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