Monday, November 28, 2005

Unsatisfactory report cards

I try not to make a big deal of grades with my kids, but their new report cards are just screwy. Their middle school hasn't used letter grades on report cards for as long as I've had kids there; they get numbers for each class, and up until this quarter, the explanation has been "70-100: Passing. Under 70: Failing." That's at least to the point. Kids still talk in terms of letter grades, but since I encourage my kids to work hard and just worry about passing, I'm cool with the simple pass/fail designation. But now the school has switched to a new computer program with new explanation: "85-100: Honor Roll. 70-84: Good. Under 70: Unsatisfactory." Classifying any grade above 85 as "honor roll" is kind of misleading, since at least in the past, you've had to get every grade over 85 to make it. And then, that 70-84 "good" -- in other words, if you blow the honor roll, you might as well get a D, it's all the same. I guess that's nice for kids who have to try hard to get a D, but it kind of stinks for those who try hard to get a nice solid B. And now kids don't fail anymore, they're just "unsatisfactory"? Gentle's nice, but only if they're not still going to make you repeat the year if you're unsatisfactory in a whole lotta subjects. I don't know. Generally, terminology that rewards effort and softens failure is good for learning challenged kids like mine. But this stuff just sounds like it was made up by a committee, based on whatever the way the educational wind is blowing.

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