Thursday, February 22, 2018

It's Not Me, It's You

Yesterday I spoke to someone from the Department of Education in NH. They told me that I could possibly use my SAT scores in place of some of the Praxis. I got excited and called my High School. It was surprisingly easy to get a copy of both my transcript and scores (the scores are in the transcript). However, my excitement quickly turned to discouragement as I thought, "wow, was I stupid back then."

I have NVLD. One of the ways this affects me is in math;

  • Poor arithmetic skills.
  • Very poor math skills
  • Difficulty with math, especially word problems.
  • Deficits in the areas of nonverbal problem solving, concept formation, hypothesis testing.
  • Many people with NVLD are very good at rote learning, and they are able to do well in math just by memorizing data. But as they get older they struggle to solve more advanced mathematical problems that are based on recognizing concepts and patterns.
  • Visual-spatial planning difficulties.
  • Poor abstract reasoning.

Okay, keep that in your head, as I give you the next bit of information. Here are my final math grades throughout all four years of High School.

*anything in bold from now on reflects the core subjects.
  • Algebra I-D+
  • Algebra II-D (first and second quarter I got failing grades)
  • Geometry-C
  • MCAS Math-U
Now let's move on to something more positive. Here are the classes I ended up with a B- or above (not including classes where I could get satisfactory or unsatisfactory);
  • Computer Lit I-B+
  • Fundamentals of Language Lit-B-
  • P.E.-A
  • American Lit-B-
  • Art Workshop-B
  • Biology-B-
  • Chemistry-B
  • English 11-A
  • Health 11-B-
  • Human Relations-A-
  • Math Sat-B-
  • Video Production 11-A
  • English 12-B
  • Exp. Childhood-B+
  • Health 12-B
  • Pottery-B+
  • Psychology-B+
  • Sculpture-B
  • Video Production 12-A
Now let's look at classes I got a C+ or below.
  • Civics/World History-C+
  • General Science-C
  • Italian 2-C+
  • Italian 3-D-
  • P.E. 10-C+
  • World History-C-
  • U.S. History-C+
  • Law-C
  • MCAS Science-C
So, looking at core subjects (Math, English, History, and Science). Here's how I did overall;
  • 7/16-I got a B- or above. That's 43%.
  • In math, I got a B- or above in 1/5 classes.
  • In my other classes, which could be categorized as electives or "specials" (as my school calls them), I got a B- or above in 12/16 classes.
I felt really discouraged, but even more so when I looked at my SAT scores;
  • 440 Verbal
  • 380 Math
I felt like, wow! Apparently, I was really stupid in High School. Then I started thinking about things. Here's my take-a-away from all of this;
  • Most of the classes I did well in were hands on. I learn really well kinetically, so this makes sense.
  • I was not diagnosed with a learning disability and aside from having support from a liaison, I was not in SpEd classes (though I'm pretty sure I was in middle school).
  • The classes I did the worst in were mostly math, which makes sense for me. People with NVLD, as described above, struggle a lot in math.
  • Because I have trouble piecing things together, trouble with word problems, etc, I don't do well with standardized tests. I also took the SAT with no accommodation.
Today, I have accommodations in school; I have a proper diagnosis, and guess what? I am getting nearly straight A's. I even got a B+ in geometry which is one of the most difficult things for people with NVLD. So, I wasn't stupid. I just didn't get the proper support and diagnosis I needed to succeed. I was an average student when it comes down to it. I graduated 119 out of 240. 49%...average. Yeah, I did shitty on the SAT, but fuck standardized tests. Oh, and on top of everything I was being bullied.

So, it wasn't me. It was the school system.

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