There is a feeling of dread. Kids and parents alike. Success? Failure? No one wants to look.
Traveling on the WayBack Machine…
No one forgets their first year as a teacher. For sure. Nothing prepares you for your first report cards.
I got the day off to sit in front of the computer. What? I lost the formative assessments. “I know what…I’ll ask the department chair!”
There is Janice, calm as always. She listens quietly and then gave me the dredded answer. “You just have to find it.” Still smiling…the go-away eyes.
Shuffle. Rattle. Crash. I found them. OMG! There aren’t scantrons. I’ll have to grade by hand. The 21st Century? No, back to the stone age.
Whew! I finally got all the tests entered into the computer. The printed report. “Gasp!” A quarter of the class had a D or lower. I know what’ll happen next. Janice will come and get me.
Quick to get out, I realized that there was only one assessment that almost everyone failed. Math teacher that I am, I knew skewed results when I saw them. Back to Janice. “You can’t drop County Assessments. They’re weighted 3 times. Sorry.”
Sloughing back to my room. Sighing, I submit the grades. I knew what was next. A parade of Special Education parents.
Is it too late to run?
Grades are important, but they are not the only indicator of learning. It can be very upsetting when your child brings home low grades, especially when compounded with their disability. Is it motivation? What about self-esteem? Did they work hard enough?
Starting a conversation with the teachers allows a better understanding of the situation. Be prepared with questions to begin the dialogue.
- Is there a standardized method for grading?
- Do students with IEPs/504 Plans receive a more equitable grading system?
- How do they match grades with performance?
- Is there an opportunity to get high grade?
- Do meaningful grades reflect the student’s classroom experience?
“Our kids” see success in letters. Make sure to focus on learning too.