Tuesday, December 11, 2012

She got an A+? I need to see the teacher

"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. 


Soror Karen M said...

EXCELLENT points...I wish more parents/guardians shared your viewpoint. Matter of fact soror, I'll drive....want to meet the principal, the teacher, the whole dang lot of 'em that co-signed the mediocrity.

Running on Empty said...

You are right to see the principal!

Mommyx4 said...

FYI - UPDATE - I did go see the Principal and had a really good, positive meeting.