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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-14-2013 12:33 PM
moominmamma
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

11-14-2013 08:58 AM
NiteNicole
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.

11-14-2013 07:29 AM
beanma

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. 

11-13-2013 05:38 PM
IdentityCrisisMama
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. 

11-11-2013 07:29 PM
alaskanmomma 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.
11-10-2013 03:22 PM
mystiquesmom
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.

11-09-2013 09:29 PM
MeepyCat 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.
11-09-2013 09:22 PM
ocelotmom 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).
11-09-2013 09:06 PM
erigeron

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. 

11-09-2013 09:00 PM
MeepyCat 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.
11-09-2013 06:04 PM
erigeron

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. 

11-08-2013 11:59 AM
One_Girl
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.

11-08-2013 09:57 AM
JudiAU

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

11-06-2013 08:06 PM
Linda on the move

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.

11-06-2013 04:46 PM
sewchris2642

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. 

11-06-2013 02:36 PM
cindaian

I would try to gauge what is acceptable a bit more on the daily effort I see in getting home work done, especially for potentially challenging classes.  I think I'd rather see a "B" in a class that was challenging & a LOT of effort went in every day to the subject than an "A" for a class my kid just skated through with little to no effort that didn't challenge them.

11-06-2013 01:48 PM
lena1928 I think that you might benefit from reading up on gifted children. My husband and I are both gifted, and our first son definitely is highly gifted. This poses challenges in many areas other than just academics (e.,g. social, mental.) I was always told that I was smart and was, thus, expected to come home with all A's. This was absolutely no problem or challenge for me, and it was also what I wanted for myself. Gifted individuals often have high expectations for themselves. This wasn't always a good thing for me, though, because when a topic actually challenged me or when I came home with a B+ (once, I still remember it!), I felt like a completely unworthy failure. If I wasn't good at being gifted, what was I good for? These are very common challenges for gifted children. I've done a lot of reading on how to help gifted children achieve not only success, but, more importantly, personal happiness. I think that you should place more of an emphasis on dedication, hard work, and effort than you do on being smart. This will teach your child to be satisfied with giving their best effort rather than being the absolute best. If your child's school grades according to an actual bell-curve in a A-F system, only 2% if the children should achieve an A, 13% a B, 68% a C, 13% a D, and 2% an F. Not many schools use an actual evenly distributed bell grading system, but, as with most distributions of behavior in nature, true achievement actually usually falls pretty darn close to those percentages without adjustment. What this tells me is that you should be happy with a C. If your child is motivated to achieve higher in certain areas, that is awesome. If not, let it be. For most people, it takes a good bit of effort to get an A, B, D, or F. Your child still needs time to be a child, play, have family time, hang out with friends, practice sports or instruments, without having to dedicate an unreasonable time to achieving certain letter grades. When your child is an adult she will likely not even remember what specific grades she got in elementary school. If she does it is probably that she received undue pressure to perform a certain way. That's my opinion based on personal experience, watching my children, and lots of literature. One book that I recommend is Guiding the Gifted Child by Webb, Meckstroth, and Tolan smile.gif
11-06-2013 01:19 PM
lanajoic

At our house - the rule is - if you have TRULY done your best effort on your homework, on a test, on a project, in class... then the grade you earned is the best you can do and we are ok with it!  If you have not put forth what we know is your best effort, anything less than an A is not acceptable.  By choosing not to study or do your best work - you are showing us that you have mastered the concept and don't need to do any more to become an expert.  However, if that backfires and the choice not to study or double check your work or put forth some effort gets you a grade less than an A - then you made the choice, and there is a consequence.  I know it sounds tough, but we expect them to do their best, whatever that is.  It might be a B or C, especially in some of their harder classes, but true effort is what we are after, because we know that they may not have the ability to always get an A.     

11-06-2013 07:38 AM
beanma

I care about effort. If dd1 is trying with good, concentrated effort (it can be exhausting to do "your very, very best" all the time, so I'm not asking for that, just a good solid effort) I'm good with it. I hope that will earn her As & Bs, but if she gets the occasional C in a subject that is hard for her, but that she really tried in then that's okay. It's not okay to not do the work and just slack off completely. I really don't like grades and I think Dd1 would actually do much, much better w/o them. She is self-motivated to learn most subjects and grades and tests just make her anxious and freeze up. Although I am programmed to be grade conscious from my school experience I try not to be focused on grades w/ dd1 and instead focus on her effort.

 

With dd2, it's all check marks and 1, 2, 3s in elementary school. Not worried about anything with her.

11-05-2013 08:54 PM
meemee

i wont care about grades till high school.

 

however having said that the reality is that dd is an A student. rare Bs but mostly A's.

 

so when she started getting Cs and D's (mostly for not turning in homework on time) and even F's - i knew it meant trouble. something was wrong. 

 

for us that meant after a year and a half of trying including changing schools it was time for another answer.

 

that was homeschooling through a school with curriculum (to please ex). 

 

dd is a perfectionist. and she believes in keeping her part of the bargain. so getting As was important for her. she knew the grade was not important for me. her effort was more important. 

11-05-2013 07:07 PM
Linda on the move
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

When you get a report card, what grades do you expect to see? What do you find acceptable? What happens if the grades don't seem acceptable?

... She was in a gifted program in elementary school, and she's in advanced placement classes in middle school. That means she is smart, but it also means the classes might be pretty challenging. I have no idea what to expect as the first quarter is coming to a close and I'll be getting her first middle school report card soon.

 

I'm surprised that you don't have any idea what to expect. The schools around here have websites with logins where parents can check their child's current grade in every class, check for missing assignments, etc. Even without that, graded tests, papers, homework should give you a fair idea what to expect.

 

My kids are very different from each other, and what I expect to see if therefore different. However, one of my DDs is very like your DD and is now in highschol in a similar sort of program. We think a 3.5 GPA with no grade lower than a B is a reasonable goal. Her grades are often better than that. If her grades are lower, or any one grade is lower, we expect her to have an action plan.

 

She is in a VERY tough math class when she checks her grades on-line, sometimes her math grades is a C. She meets with her teacher, and occasionally meets with a tutor. We expect her to continue to work hard, do her best, and continue to find ways to tackle this class. She isn't in trouble or anything -- we just expect her to stay on top of it and be honest with us about how it is going and how we can support her.

 

The thing about high achieving kids who attempt difficult classes and then don't get As is that often, rather than needing to be told that they need higher grades, they need to be reminded that their value doesn't lie in their GPA and that perfection really isn't a reasonable goal.

 

Grades are just a form of feedback. Sometimes they are feedback that you need to be doing something a bit different in your class. But less than straight As doesn't mean than anything is wrong. Perfectionist just make themselves crazy.

11-04-2013 10:18 PM
Peony

DD1 just made the honor roll. Yes, I was thrilled but I don't expect it. I look for how hard they are working, are trying, etc... 

11-04-2013 07:16 PM
mnj77

We get very detailed report cards with specific skills and a grade of Exceeding, Meeting or Developing for each skill.  The skills are like "adding up to 20" or "can write characters related to the unit" (she's in Chinese immersion).  There are also general attributes like "risk-taking" and "principled" (IB learner characteristics).  I really like this scheme because it's a pretty objective assessment and comes without a lot of judgment.  If DD had a lot of "Developing" grades, I would definitely be working with the teacher to figure out what needs to change but I wouldn't be upset with DD. 

11-04-2013 07:33 AM
pattimomma
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.

:yeah This applies to all my kids - typical and special needs.

 

Grades are not always what they seem. My first grader has an IQ in the mildly gifted range and a severe learning disability. His report card has straight 'A's yet he doesn't know all the letters of the alphabet or any sight words. He can't count past 11. He is academically way behind the other kids. If I was just going on his grades I would be satisfied with the school and think that he was making progress in school when he actually isn't. You really have to know your child, the curriculum, and the classroom expectations to determine if the grades are an accurate reflection of anything.

11-04-2013 07:23 AM
Ragana
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post

This really depends on what the teacher says about dd's overall work and whether there is improvement or not. I expect improvement or stability on grades of C and above.

 

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.

11-04-2013 07:18 AM
Ragana

Our standard is personal best. DD1 is generally getting As and Bs in middle school. We are pushing her a bit because her Bs are often the result of correctable habits - teacher offers option of re-doing incorrect test answers, and she decides not to do it; she forgets to chase up assignments the teacher didn't record or she missed somehow; she sometimes has issues with doing her best in a class because of the teacher's personality. Fairly minor issues. We are encouraging her to improve on these habits before high school, though, when grades become more of an issue on the college path. And frankly some of those are good life lessons to learn in middle school - much harder later.

 

With DD2, it's a little different. She does fine - at least grade level - in her work/grades given by the teacher, but she doesn't test well. We're deciding how to handle that issue with standardized testing. We may just ignore the standardized testing results. I don't see any point in pushing her on that.

11-04-2013 04:57 AM
IdentityCrisisMama

This is my DC's first year with grades (she's in 6th at a traditional middle school now).  We def. won't be talking about what grades are acceptable in a parent directed way. That said, I have shared with my DC that it works best for me, personally, if I have a goal of receiving an "A". For me, the consequence of that goal is just to do my best and to allow grades to be part of the focus of learning. I think my DC has internalized some of that and I know she wants all "A"s. From the looks of things she will not have that. We talked about that and I said a goal and achievement are two different things and it's find, good, admirable to have goals that are hard to achieve. 

 

Our DC had a rocky start to academics. I honestly can't imagine a time where we, the parents, value grades over things like effort, responsibility, and learning but I will admit that I am comforted to know that DC cares about her grades -- because even at this age, they do matter to some extent because most of the better highschools in our area are merit based. It's a sad reality where we live but DC's SEVENTH grade scores will impact her life in pretty serious way. Wahhhh!!!  :(

11-03-2013 09:54 PM
moominmamma

I don't really have expectations for acceptable grades. I have kids in college, 12th grade and 10th grade and one taking 9th grade math at school (part-time: she mostly homeschools). I haven't seen my college kid's grades at all -- haven't asked and don't care. She's mostly paying her way via scholarships, she's an adult, it's her life. I know she's earning credits, working hard, feels like she's learning tons, and is happy. 

 

It's the same for my high schoolers, except that I do see their grades once in a while, because the school requires me to sign off on their report cards. I really only care about the same stuff I care about with their older sister. Are they learning? Are they happy? Are they engaged by their schoolwork and school experiences? I mean, obviously because they have post-secondary ambitions, they need to be making themselves decent transcripts. But again, that's their business. If dd wants to do pre-med, it's her funeral if she ends up with a C rather than an A in Bio 11. It's nothing where I'm setting the bar -- it's her ambition, not mine, driving the expectations for grades. 

 

My 10-year-old, well, it just doesn't matter at all, since high school transcripts don't start accruing here until the 10th grade level. If she flunks math, it's no big deal. She can just try something different next year. But again: she's happy, she's learning, she's engaged by the work. Whether she got a D or an A it really wouldn't matter to me in the big picture.

 

Of course, I do feel a sense of validation when they come home with A's. It's nice to have your perception that your kids are learning well in appropriate educational environments backed up by someone else's opinion on the matter. But a poor grade in a student who is working reasonably hard would say more to me about the appropriateness of the education than it would about the acceptability of the student's performance. 

 

I honestly don't put much stock in grades at all. I'm one of those parents who would be all for abolishing grades. I would prefer just teaching to mastery, with individualized rate of progress through the curriculum.

 

Miranda

11-03-2013 06:46 PM
One_Girl This really depends on what the teacher says about dd's overall work and whether there is improvement or not. I expect improvement or stability on grades of C and above.

It is very hard to motivate a child who just doesn't care about grades. There isn't much to take away and bribes don't work. My DD is smart and capable but unless she is held accountable she doesn't do her work. She has been slowly getting better and is wanting to do work but I am happy with improvement at this point.
11-03-2013 06:15 PM
grumpybear

Agree with what has been mentioned above where I'm happier if he gives it his personal best than if he gets an A or whatever the highest marks are.

He is a few to several grade levels above his current grade so his teacher is really working hard to challenge him because the last thing we all want for him is for him to get used to coasting. Because once real life hits and he gets his first mistake, we don't want that to devastate him.

So honestly at this point (he is in 2nd grade), the grades are fairly meaningless. What matters is the growth and amount of effort put forth.

In fact I am the happiest that for PE and Music, his teachers had evaluated him to be consistently doing his personal best because those 2 are the 2 areas where he finds it hard to be motivated

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