"Mommy, guess what! I got an A+ on my project!"
"The project you took out of here this morning?" I thought. "Impossible."
"You did, huh?" I said out loud. "Did you make any changes to it before you turned it in?"
"Nope, turned it in just like it was. And I got an A+ on the presentation, too." She smiled, then skipped off to her room.
I turned to my computer, pulled up my email, and sent an email to the Principal that in short said "we need to talk."
|Our expectations of our children need to be higher.|
Different response than you would expect? My daughters feel the same way when I insist on going to the parent/teacher conferences. "You know I got an A in math, right? Why are you going?" They ask.
So why am I going to meet with the Principal about this last grade? Because an 'A+' is supposed to indicate superior work, exceeding all expectations. An 'A' is a sign of "90% or more was done as expected". And 'A+' means the student went above 100% of what was asked. My daughter's project had misspellings, grammar errors, and was not well researched. If this is an 'A+', I'm concerned about her teacher's expectations.
Now understand, I do believe my children are fully capable to do quality, top-grade work, and if any were to come home with something less than a B, they're going to have problems. But an A should represent a good effort made to prepare a perfect specimen of work; a B, an effort that didn't exactly make the mark, but was a very good attempt. An A should not be awarded to papers that are full of mistakes and obviously show a lack of effort; especially not an A+.
It's about more than the grade that will go on the children's report cards. They are in middle and elementary school, so their grades (with the exception of a few classes) will never be seen by college admissions counselors or anyone else post-graduation. They should be learning about setting their own standards, having high expectations for themselves and their work, and figuring out what it means to really do a good job. In middle school, they should be expecting that they will have to do something over to get it right, wear through a little bit of pencil lead to get the answer, spend some time on a project, and learning to make corrections when they get something wrong. And maybe, I might be reaching her, but just maybe, it would be nice for them to open a book and write a paragraph. I'm just saying, it might be nice.
The lesson my child has taken from her recent grade is that minimal effort, obvious mistakes, and pretty pictures will earn her an A+. Yes, I need to see the Principal.