Editorial: Honor Roll Analysis Reveals Average Statistics, but Causes Aren’t Obvious

Manitou rides the average fence in honor roll and act score.

March 14, 2016

A couple weeks ago, the honor roll and honorable mention students for last quarter were announced. Looking at that very long list of students, we wonder if MSHS students are average academically. When the math is done, 22 percent of students who go to MSHS are on the honor roll. That’s 115 students with a GPA of 3.75-4.0, and 13 percent, or 70 students are honorably mentioned (GPA of 3.5-3.7499). You would think that’s a large proportion, but we have a lower percentage of students on the honor roll than Coronado or St. Mary’s.

How are we suppose to interpret the data? Fewer Manitou students were able to make the grade despite an internally weighted system that gives honors classes as much as a 3 percent advantage over our neighbors (an 87% in Manitou is an A-, where as at Coronado, the standard is 90%).

Coronado has 1556 students compared to Manitou’s 515; St. Mary’s has 338 students.

The biggest factor may be from the block system. Neither Coronado nor St. Mary’s has a block system and they have high percentages of students that achieve academically. In the block system, teachers feel rushed to try to meet the state’s expectations. For instance, when students walk into math class at Manitou the teacher tells them that they will have a lesson per day, sometimes two. This can be overwhelming, especially with students who aren’t the greatest at math. The block system may be the problem with how low the percentages are.  Manitou encourages students to do well, but when classes are rushed this could be quite hard.

With the block system having a ninety minute class can be tiring and the material may become boring. If the student is just struggling, they should ask for help.

On the other hand, students like Tucker Kennedy (11) who have experienced both schools say the block system benefits them.

“I went to Coronado…  and with seven classes and being an hour long the teachers give you more homework,” Tucker Kennedy (11). “The smaller class sizes at Manitou and longer classes help.”

Our material may just be more rigorous. Kids may have taken a course thinking it wouldn’t be as hard as they thought and the student just doesn’t understand the material. Students may need to talk to the teacher and ask for help. Maybe we should promote more self-motivation? Or we give too much homework. You would think since we have 4 classes we get less homework. In reality, we get more homework and homework is a large portion of our grades. Teachers will argue that homework is good practice, but there is a point when it is too much. Greater rigor may give us greater challenges, but it is hard to argue when the percentages are lower.

Our grades aren’t necessarily the biggest factor of manitou’s performance. Testing does come into factor and how well students perform on standardized tests.

“I find school hard because tests are about how much you can remember rather than if you understand the subject. If you don’t do great on tests you grade will be affected dramatically. Not to mention if you miss a day with the block system it’s hard to get caught up,” Alli Marte (10).

Students have said many times that standardized testing is a waste of time. This would probably be due to how different each student learns. There are 7 different ways one can learn, visual, solitary interpersonal (prefer to work by yourself), social interpersonal (work in groups), mathematical, kinesthetic, verbal, and auditory. In school not all of these are covered to help the student learn better. Standardize testing may not be the best way to test a student if they know the material, especially if the student has test anxiety.

Last year the ACT scores were published in a story in the Gazette. Manitou scored 20.9, Coronado 20.8, and St. Mary’s, 25. Seeing that St. Mary’s ACT score and honor roll list is higher than Manitou or Coronado, this could prove that the students are more encouraged. The school is a college prep school, the encouragement to go to college could go right along with that.

Another aspect that may come into play is kids just don’t want to try. Many students don’t want to go to college; they think that it won’t get them any further than just getting a day job. Maybe the education about what college can do should be pushed to encourage students to further their education.

Our numbers for the school aren’t bad, although our number of honors students is lower compared to a large school like Coronado, or even a smaller school like St. Mary’s. The school work seems tough enough. Students who want to reach a goal of academically achieving can, and some do very well. Maybe the staff should review the block system or maybe the students aren’t encouraged enough.

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