Parents can get very upset when they see their child’s Report Card that shows no A or B grades. The expectation is that 'their' child IS capable and therefore SHOULD be getting high grades. When they don't meet parents' expectations the children are often brow-beaten and/or thought of as lazy. Sometimes parents blame the teachers.
So, why not As and Bs?
1. Intelligence is distributed over a range of scores that educationists call ‘The Bell-shaped Curve’. While some students excel intellectually, others struggle. Most people fall in the average range. That would be a C intellectual grade
2. It is near impossible for a child with an IQ below 100 to get an academic score of A. However, it is very possible for a student with an IQ over 130 to get an F.
3. What schools have been doing for too long is mixing grades for academic attainment with grades for effort and attitude. A student who hands in their work on time, who acts appropriately, receives a reasonable score for tests, and the teacher likes is often awarded an A or B which doesn't equate with the standardized nationally derived tests. (See point 6 below)
4. By combining attitude, effort and an academic score it leads to mediocrity. The student and their parents believe that the child has worked really hard and has achieved a high academic grade. But this is not necessarily so. The child then believes that all they have to do is maintain that level of performance. The parents are also happy with their child’s efforts.
5. When your child takes a standardized test (based on nationally-derived norms and set by a nationally-approved company) the test is purely academic and no credence is given to attitude, effort, completing homework or handing in work on time. The score is also completely objective and does not account for teacher preferences. Parents, the school and the Board of Education may wonder why the subsequent scores are so low on the State Testing program.
The answer to the problem:
Two scores should be given on each Report Card, one for purely academic achievement and the other for attitude, effort, good citizenship etc. (This may be how things are done in some education districts throughout the USA or in other countries where readers of this article may be.) It would give more credence to the Attitude/Effort score while maintaining the integrity of the academic score.
What can parents do about it?
a) Speak to your local Board of Education. If they adopt this method of reporting, scores and expectations will
b) Understand that your child may not be intellectually capable of getting As and Bs.
c) EXPECT 'As' for attitude and effort.
Truth in reporting is paramount. I certainly would feel more assured as a parent if I could see the truth about my child’s performance and not have it intertwined with other ‘masking’ factors!
Written by Brian Burgess