Different teachers + same class = unfair advantage

By By Stacey Stein, Online Breaking News

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 Every year when students receive their schedule cards, the first thing they do is eagerly scan the teachers they received. News of the “easy” teachers is greeted with shrieks of delight, while others groan at the disappointment of a “hard” teacher.

 Unfortunately, as unfair as it may be, teachers who teach the same classes often teach completely differently, giving some students advantages and others disadvantages.

 This is not to say that all teachers are easy, hard or teach differently compared to their counterparts. Most teachers who teach the same class as others have uniform assignments, quizzes, projects and tests.

 According to social studies resource teacher Rodney Van Tassell, within each department teachers are further subdivided into professional learning communities (PLCs) based on what classes they teach.

 Within PLCs, teachers then create lesson plans and assessments. Although tests do not have to be exactly the same, they must be based off common material, carry the same weight and be worth equal points.

 All teachers should be required to give out the same tests. If teachers are teaching the same material, the tests on this material should be identical.

 According to Principal Joan Benz, teachers do not have to give out the same tests in order to give teachers flexibility.

 However, flexibility should be limited to lesson plans and styles, not assessments. When assessments are different, one is usually inadvertently harder.

 According to Van Tassell, although tests should be given out on the same date, there is flexibility over when to give out quizzes.

 Although some flexibility is needed, this can be especially frustrating when students feel unprepared for a quiz and see that their peers have the same quiz on a later date.

 According to Benz, if the administration notices that a teacher is teaching differently, they will work with resource teachers and PLCs to figure out why and correct the problem. However, Benz does acknowledge that certain teachers receive more complaints of being hard or easy than others.

 Although all teachers are different and have their own teaching style, there must be a balance between allowing a teacher to teach the way he or she wishes and keeping the difficulty level the same.

 If students feel that their teacher is teaching differently than the rest, Benz advises them to anonymously drop a note in her mailbox.

 Classes must be taught equally. In many cases, earning an A is easier with some teachers than others, and that is simply not right.