The Not So Smooth Transition to Grade 11.

While chatting to the Academic Director recently he said something that stuck me about the early months of grade 11. He said (and I am paraphrasing slightly) ... Around thanksgiving I am certain of two things, the first being I'll have turkey and the second being I will field calls about the grade 11 math course...

As I have come to realize in my career, the transition for students between grade 10 and grade 11 is a challenging one.  The curriculum is denser, expectations increase, all of the sudden kids are wondering why their work habits from grade 10 are no longer getting them the same marks. Students who were pretty good math students get marks back 10-15% lower than they are used to and really struggle with this.

I started to wonder if this was just me and reached out to colleagues at my school and others to gain their perspectives and embrace the strategies they use, but the feedback was similar to my experience, students often struggle with their transition into their grade 11 year. In math in particular it is not uncommon for students to see their marks drop (especially at the very beginning).

While it's nice to know I am not the only teacher seeing this phenomenon,  the question remains, how do we support students through this? What are the skills they are lacking in order to make this transition successful? What is different about the students who are not phased by the increased work/cognitive load of these courses? What skills and tools do these students have that others do not?

These are all ideas I hope to dive into further.

5 thoughts on “The Not So Smooth Transition to Grade 11.

  1. I know this is also something that I have experience at my school. There is definitely a transition into grade 11 math - I look forward to hearing about what you try and what insight you get over the course of this year.

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  2. Some great ideas Holly. I am excited to see how your project progresses. I know in my math experience I was always strong at math and now that you say this this happened to me more in Grade 12 year where my marks dropped. I took this as a moment to build resilience and decided to kick it into 'high gear'. Saying however I know all students have this inner motivation. Looking forward to your findings.

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  3. Hi Holly, you've raised excellent questions here:

    the question remains, how do we support students through this?
    * with care and empathy as much as possible. It is a balance between support and challenge. Check out @ayoung

    What are the skills they are lacking in order to make this transition successful?
    * Check out @rpearson @jbornstein

    What is different about the students who are not phased by the increased work/cognitive load of these courses? What skills and tools do these students have that others do not?
    * You should ask them! What a great way to collect and reflect on some in-the-classroom data. Check out the work of @sgupta and @lbettencourt

    See you soon,
    Garth.

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  4. Hi @hjepson,

    Thanks so much for sharing where you're at. You have uncovered so many noteworthy questions and ideas here, that will no doubt fuel you in tomorrow's design thinking work.

    I look forward to seeing where you growing ideas take you tomorrow and in the month ahead! During tomorrow's F2F, be sure to connect with some of the Math teachers that @nbrooksbank tagged, as they will be a great source of information and inspiration.

    See you soon!

    Cheers, Nicole

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