Who is a Successful Honors Math Student?
This list is distributed at Fairfax High to parents and teachers who are helping students figure out which math class to take.
This student is one who:
Considers math to be one of his/her favorite subjects.
Is a critical thinker and enjoys exploration and problem solving.
Always wants to understand and not just rely on memorization.
Does not expect or need every step of a problem "spoon fed" to understand.
Can easily recall concepts and skills learned in previous math classes and incorporates these skills into new concepts being taught without having to be told or re-taught the old skills.
Has excellent attendance.
Is willing to do homework every night.
Works well with other students.
Is bored if a math class moves to slowly.
Feels a responsibility equal to the teacher's to ensure that he/she is learning as much as they possibly can.
Won't be too frustrated by learning what may seem to be useless skills because he/she knows that high school is primarily a time for building those skills in preparation for future advanced studies in math, engineering, chemistry, medicine, etc.
Is not simply taking an Honors math class to look good for college, but is also taking it because he/she wants the challenge of a harder course.
Several parents have asked me what the difference is between regular and honors classes. Some of the daylight might be explained this way: Last week, Tricia Colclaser's Honors pre-calculus students left class with their heads down after sweating through a lengthy test. She'd made it a tough exam with problems they had to figure out how to approach, using formulas they'd learned in the past or just plain logic.
In my (Non-Honors) Algebra II, there weren't many curve balls. We didn't encounter problems on tests that we had not seen in class and practiced many times. The numbers were usually easy to divide and multiply. Very few elements of surprise.
What do you think distinguishes - or ought to distinguish - an honors class?
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