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What grades are acceptable? - Page 2

post #21 of 35

It all depends on the child and the subject.  If my first got less than As and Bs in high school math courses then that was a sign that something was not right. Getting a C in an art class was a reason for a high five.  When my 2nd got Cs and the occasional B in her basic algebra class, that was a sign of celebration.  If she failed to get less than a B in an art class, then that was a sign that something was not right.  Same with my son.  His strong subject is history.  Right now in 10th grade, he is doing college level history and only getting Cs.  Not because he doesn't understand the work or isn't studying or not turning in the work.  His "problem" is that he is very weak in writing and high school history is all about paragraph answers to questions and essays.  So his grades reflect that.  Orally, he would be a straight A student in history.

 

Going from As and Bs in elementary school to Bs, Cs, and even Ds in middle school could be because now she has to learn.  Something she might not have had to do in elementary school.  Or because she is gifted, she never learned to study.  Both are common "failings" of gifted kids.  And middle school can be a big adjustment for some kids that has nothing to do with being gifted or average.  Going from one teacher in one classroom with the same 20+ students to 5-6 different teachers in 5-6 different classes with 20+ different students in each class can be a tough adjustment to some kids. 

 

I look more at the teachers comments than the grades themselves.  Especially low grades in subjects that that child has no interest in or that isn't their strong suit.  Poor grades in a subject that they are strong in and/or have a high interest in would be a different matter. 

post #22 of 35

This is a link to an article on the difference between being a perfectionist and being a healthy striver. http://www.exeter.ac.uk/wellbeing/resources/online-resources/perfectionism/

 

I've known too many smart people who eventually flipped out. For some of them, it didn't happen until university. Perfectionism is not  healthy, and I think getting overly hung up on grades or even "always giving 100%" can end up leaving kids a little messed up. After all, there do is always more you could, always more you could study. At the highschool level, it never lets up. There is a lot of pressure here to take summer courses so they can take more AP courses during the school year. "Always 100%" could end up meaning "keep going until you have a break down."

 

There are other skills teens need to work on, like how to self regulate media, how to balance social life with study, how to do their own laundry and such, and while I do think that study is the primary focus, I think that getting obsessive it about can stunt other developmental issues, so the young person actually ends up LESS prepared for the next stages of life.

 

Side note, when my DD, who frequently gets straight As, when in 6th grade, there was a special needs girl who spent a little time in her class each day. Her teacher assigned them to be partners on a history project. My DD ended up making the time they worked together all about teaching the other girl how to use power point. Her teacher told me later that he had put them together because he knew my DD would be kind to the girl, but he expected her to pretty much just do the project while the other girl watched because "that's what smart kids do, they want to get good grades." He was surprised and impressed that my DD didn't seem to care about the grade, but rather about really working with her partner.

post #23 of 35

I expect them to work to their ability. I expect a gifted student to work just as hard as one who struggles. 

post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragana View Post
 

I think grades are a good indicator that something needs to be tweaked, at least at our schools. When we check the grade reports and see Cs we intervene to check if assignments have been missed, if DD is understanding the material or needs some extra explanations, etc. Our electronic system is such that sometimes the teachers aren't caught up or have forgotten to put in assignments, so I think it's worth checking now and then. It does make it easier to see improvement or slide downward and this is usually confirmed by the teacher's impressions overall as well.

 

I missed this earlier but I wanted to comment on it because I think I don't see a C as a bad thing.  In our school district a C still means average and it is okay to be average.  If my dd suddenly dropped down to a C I would talk to her about why but I wouldn't worry otherwise.  It is okay to have subjects that you are only average in.  My dd tends to get low grades the first quarter then pull some up depending on how interested she is in a subject.  I am fine with her putting more effort into subjects that interest her while getting C's in others.  If she had no academic interests I might worry but she does.  She also loves choir and orchestra and that her desire to be in them has motivated her to work harder this year in order to keep her grades up so she can continue to meet the requirement to be in them.

 

I am not worried about future college acceptance.  Everybody in our family goes to college so I trust that this will have a good effect on her view of what she wants to do in her future.  Our state universities accept almost everybody (15% rejection rate last year) and we have many community colleges so on the off chance that her grades and SAT scores aren't good enough for university she will still most likely get into community college.  And if she doesn't choose college I will still support her.

post #25 of 35

My daughter is still too young for school but looking ahead I feel like I want her to be working up to potential. Particularly in high school so she can qualify for college scholarships--we are saving some but we are not made of money, and I don't want her to have huge loans. I would not want her getting lousy grades due to slacking off/not feeling like doing the work. My husband apparently never did his homework and his parents just lumped it; I don't want to foster the attitude that getting lower grades due to not wanting to do homework is acceptable. That's a totally different ball game versus working hard and still not getting a great grade in a class that is challenging for you. 

post #26 of 35
Erigeron, it might help you to take a look at the scholarships out there. Not all "merit money" is awarded on a strictly grade basis.

I think that A's and Bs are fine, Cs are an indication for concern, and Ds and Fs are emergencies. But my oldest is still in early elementary school, receiving report cards on alternative systems that changed mid year last year. On those, I honestly want to see him performing ahead of grade level, because, thus far, I know he can, but if his math suffers a little because he's mastering a social skill, I don't really sweat that.
post #27 of 35

I know there's money awarded on other grounds--heck, I got some of it in college myself--but I don't see where a kid is doing themselves any favors by slacking off, either, and I don't want to encourage that. JMHO. 

 

'Course, right now I'm more focused on potty training, and all this stuff can wait about 12 years. 

post #28 of 35
We homeschool, but I decided long ago that it isn't something I want to stress over or cause stress over.

I want them to learn the concept well enough that they won't have trouble in future classes that build on that knowledge. I want them to move on to the next grade. I want them to learn motivation and follow-through somewhere. But I don't feel that requiring certain grades does that. Nor do good grades necessarily represent good effort (says the lifelong slacker who made straight As through most of school).
post #29 of 35
Of course you do yourself no favors by slacking off, but you do yourself no educational favors by avoiding risk either. I want my kids to know that it's fine to try something new, or difficult, even if their gpa takes a hit.
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post

 

 

I only ask that my daughter work hard and TRY.  Her grades are what they are.  Getting a C because you never do homework or you were busy talking in class is not acceptable.  Getting a C in a subject when you gave it your very best effort?  Sometimes that's just life.

 

Pretty much how I feel about DS#1 grades.

post #31 of 35
As long as they try their hardest, I won't expect any grade. If they try their absolute hardest and get an A-- terrific! If they try their absolute hardest and get a C--that happens. I plan on being very close to their teachers and catching struggles so we can get a tutor if necessary.
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
 

After all, there do is always more you could, always more you could study. At the highschool level, it never lets up. There is a lot of pressure here to take summer courses so they can take more AP courses during the school year. "Always 100%" could end up meaning "keep going until you have a break down."

 

There are other skills teens need to work on, like how to self regulate media, how to balance social life with study, how to do their own laundry and such, and while I do think that study is the primary focus, I think that getting obsessive it about can stunt other developmental issues, so the young person actually ends up LESS prepared for the next stages of life.

I'm really glad you brought this up. While I probably talked about effort and etc., I think it's also important for kids to start to figure out how effort, school, and grades fit into the bigger picture. My own DC surprised me this year by limiting her after school activities so she could have time for homework and for free-time with neighbors and friends. I think that was a good choice for her but I also would have understood if she wanted to participate in sports or other things, which would have limited time for school work to an extent. I think "best effort" is really more about the skill of prioritizing, which is subjective and varies from kid to kid. 

post #33 of 35

Yeah, I really don't like the 100% best effort thing. I like a good solid effort, but I don't want my kid to put her nose to the grindstone and only do schoolwork and frankly there's always something you can do better—write neater, go over your math answers again, read ahead in the book. It's too much. Do a good job, but don't worry about perfection. I am ALWAYS going to see something that could be improved, but when dd1 has worked hard on her Science poster or her Writing essay I think there's a point where me pointing out things she could do better has a negative effect rather than a positive effect. I do look over her work most of the time and point out any egregious errors — like she didn't quite understand the assignment, or easy to fix errors — like a spelling mistake, but beyond that if she puts forth a good effort I'm not going to continue to insist that she give 100%. Sometimes 85% is plenty. Rarely is 15% enough, though. I do expect a solid effort and then I'm happy with a B or even a C although I would take the C as a sign that I might need to work with her a bit more. 

post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

Of course you do yourself no favors by slacking off, but you do yourself no educational favors by avoiding risk either. I want my kids to know that it's fine to try something new, or difficult, even if their gpa takes a hit.

 

I agree with this.  I'd rather my daughter try a harder, more interesting science or math class than coast in the easier classes for easier A's.  At the same time, if she has zero interest in math or science (right now that's where her interest lies, but for the sake of argument), I don't mind her taking less demanding science and math classes to make more time for another area of interest like lit or languages.  My own high school was designed along those lines and I enjoyed it very much.

post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
 

I think getting overly hung up on grades or even "always giving 100%" can end up leaving kids a little messed up. 

 

Totally! I'm one who suffered from a lot of cognitive dissonance as a kid because messages like "just do your best" created a conflict between what I felt they literally implied, which I knew I wasn't doing, and the [superior] 'results' I was getting nonetheless. I really began to distrust a lot of the messages I was being given about education because I just couldn't buy the message that "it's important to always give 100%." As an adolescent who was naturally questioning everything and trying to make my own mind up about what was important, I definitely flirted with an existential crisis concerning my education: I didn't buy what they were telling me about how important some of the stuff was, and I was almost ready to toss the whole business in the trash. 

 

Thankfully in mid high school my dad, who was a university professor (of philosophy, which probably helped!), spent a lot of time talking with me about these issues and validated my skepticism about some of the messages I was hearing. It put a lot of the dissonance to rest for me. The point of education he said, in the big-picture sense, is to become a happy and decent human being who has integrity and can contribute meaningfully to the world. That's the broad goal that you should always be actively pursuing and "doing your best" to move towards. But that entails rationing limited time, energy and motivation to a number of different areas, only some of which are schoolwork. Sometimes working really hard at courses and credits and grades is in service of that big-picture educational goal of becoming a decent, happy and productive member of society, but sometimes it's not. Schools and other educational institutions tend to pretend that their goals are completely in sync with those greater goals, but the synchronicity is at best approximate, at worst in direct conflict. He helped me see where corners ought to be cut, so that other things could take precedence and better balance my life and my education. Hearing from him that it was good to cut corners sometimes helped me a lot.

 

I think there's a very important role for parents to help their kids make sense of the extent to which the drive for better grades is serving their greater goals at any given age and stage. Platitudes about always giving 100% are simplistic and at odds with that important guiding role. I don't think parents who say "always do your best" really mean that in the literal sense. And maybe most kids get that: maybe they hear the subtext, which is probably "just put forth a decent effort commensurate with the importance of the task."  But for me the difference between the message and its implied subtext was frustrating and at times confusing. 

 

miranda

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