# Perfect no more

A particular, perverse point of pride: in sixteen years of teaching high school mathematics in New York City, I have never had a student score 100 on a Regents Exam. I’ve prepared students for Course I, Course II (never Course III), Math A, Math B, Integrated Algebra, Integrated Geometry, Integrated Algebra II/Trigonometry. Hundreds of students. But no 100s.

A few have come close. Hanna (I did not know until after she graduated, valedictorian, that she lived in the house next to my building) got a 99 on Course II – recent immigrant she did not know the word “similar” and guessed it meant “congruent”. And I’ve seen a few more 98s and 99s, a bunch of 95s, 96s, and 97s, but never 100.

I just don’t teach that hard at the test. It was, honestly, a point of pride that I could prepare a child well, without teaching every bizarre regents twist and turn. Other teachers spoke about 100s, but I knew I never did the intensity of prep, nor showed adequate fidelity to the Regents’ topics, to ever match them.

But I think one of my students, sneaky, did extra studying on his own. My first 100. I’m a little embarrassed.

I never took credit for the 100s or even high nineties. The ones I was always proudest of were the 65 -70s. The good ones would do well no matter who their teacher was. These were the kids I felt I helped.

90’s vs. 70’s

The students who score over 90 will almost always do well.

It’s the 70’s crowd that makes the cut by having a good teacher.