Dumbing down the standards?

As educators we believe we need to hold our students to high expectations. We push them to succeed. We sing and dance and put on a show to get them excited and interested in the material. But what happens if you have students who are just not capable of ever mastering the standard or standards at their grade level? Do you lower your expectations for that child? Do you “dumb” down the standards?
I don’t have the definitive answer. However, I do think it is critical that as educators we know our students and their potential. We have to be realistic with our expectations, so that our students can experience success in learning. I have a student in my 6th grade class who is reading at a 1st grade level. Does this mean my expectations for him are less than that of his peers who are on grade level? Certainly not. I have high expectations for his learning and his work. Do I use a different set of standards by which to guide his learning? Absolutely. If the standards that were set forth for him to master were the same as those of his peers, he would never experience success in the classroom and would be turned off from learning. But with a set of standards at his learning level, we can work on accomplishing those standards and making progress on his learning.
Having realistic expectations is key to success in the classroom.

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