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    #185722 - 03/24/14 12:41 PM How to approach to teacher about an unfair report?
    Leyla Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/08/13
    Posts: 58
    Hello all,

    Feeling very overwhelmed with my daughters grade report and need suggestions on how to approach this...

    She is almost 8 year old, 2nd grader. Started gifted program in our public school this year. She is on the side of a quite/shy kid. She is not a student focuses best and motivated to do her work quickly. Yet, she is accepted to the gifted program after a 7 hour test (COGAT + ITBS same day, back to back) with 99% scores.

    The problem is that most of her grades are 2 out 4 in the last report card. Teacher’s comments are most related to focus problems and requiring reminders throughout the day.

    As far as reading levels, she reads at 5th grade level, her math test scores high. I am having difficulty understanding her low grades given her measured high test results. I almost feel like teacher dropped 1-2 points from each and every grade because of her focus issue.

    As far as focus problems at home, yes, she requires multiple reminders. I totally agree with our teacher. We make sure she is not signed up to many activities so she has time to finish her homework. She finishes her homework every day including optional/challenging parts of homework. We definitely think she is doing much better in terms of focus at home comparing to a few months ago.

    We have requested a meeting with the teacher and meeting tomorrow. Any ideas on how to approach her? Even though I agree with teacher on the issue, I don’t agree that the report card grades fairly.

    Thanks in advance..

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    #185730 - 03/24/14 01:54 PM Re: How to approach to teacher about an unfair report? [Re: Leyla]
    Aufilia Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/25/14
    Posts: 336
    Loc: Washington
    I think I would state that you're concerned to see your daughter has just 2's, and ask the teacher how grades are determined (it is, after all, different than it used to be) and specifically what your daughter would need to do differently to bring up her grades.

    Since she's in the gifted program, she may be measured against higher standards than previously (in our program 3rd graders are graded to 4th grade standards, for example). And if this is her 1st year in gifted, that may be a big stretch from last year.

    But, it also could be that since she's not "focusing" perhaps she is not completing all the work that grades are based on. I know the case with my daughter, who was upset with her grade for math: her teacher told her that she (the teacher) knew that DD knew the work very well, but that she if she wasn't demonstrating her knowledge by completing and turning in her work, the teacher couldn't legitimately give her a better grade regardless.

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    #185731 - 03/24/14 01:55 PM Re: How to approach to teacher about an unfair report? [Re: Leyla]
    epoh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/31/11
    Posts: 954
    Loc: N. Texas
    *sigh* This is why I prefer the traditional grading methods. None of this ridiculous wishy-washy opinions weighing on the grade.

    Personally, I'd go in and kill her with kindess and concern. "Oh my GOSH, Ms. Teacher! It looks like my daughter is just having a TERRIBLE time in your class! All I've seen are her test and homework scores and those are all 100's (or whatever). What on earth can I do to help fix this situation?" Etc, etc. If she's a normal person, she'll immediately start downplaying this, with the whole "oh, no, she's doing well, she just needs to "blah"... at which point you need to follow up HARD on why, if it's just this ONE thing, are her grades so low?

    I doubt you'll get her to change the grades, but hopefully you'll make her realize how ridiculous she's being.

    The child's behavior should not be any sort of significant factor, if any, on their GRADES. Most schools have a separate section for behavior on the report card to relay concerns about things like lack of focus.
    _________________________
    ~amy

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    #185732 - 03/24/14 01:56 PM Re: How to approach to teacher about an unfair report? [Re: Leyla]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    The first thing I'd do at the meeting is to ask how the numbers on the report card are assigned, and what they represent. Our elementary school used a "1-4" report card (rather than letter grades), and the system was not just a # vs letter, but represented very different concepts - "4" represented total mastery of the curriculum that was to be learned over the course of the year, so the students were actually expected to be either a 1 or 2 through at least the first semester. If this is what's up, I wouldn't put too much thought (or discussion) into the grades. If instead the numbers correlate to "A/B/C" etc grades, then ask how the grades are calculated (classwork vs tests etc) and ask where your dd is having challenges vs where she is doing well.

    Also be sure to ask all the questions you can think of that have to do with the teachers' notes that your dd is having difficulty with focus in class. Try to brainstorm a way together that will help with reminders so that the teacher isn't having to remind her over and over again.

    Best wishes,

    polarbear

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    #185733 - 03/24/14 01:58 PM Re: How to approach to teacher about an unfair report? [Re: Leyla]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Do you know what the report card is based upon?

    That might help in terms of understanding why the marks seem so different from what you'd have (otherwise quite reasonably) expected to be the case.

    I doubt that the teacher will be surprised that you've asked to discuss it.

    My advice to you might be a little unwelcome at this point-- but here it goes:

    keep an open mind and ask for help UNDERSTANDING the report card-- what is is based upon? What kinds of data make up the marks you're seeing? Why are those things being marked so low?


    Now, you may well walk away from that meeting feeling grumpy and as though the teacher is targeting your child, or as though s/he is pressuring for an ADD/ADHD diagnosis or something...

    or that the grading scheme, while fair/consistent, isn't "academic" in nature, but is primarily behavioral instead.

    But at least you'll know.
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #185738 - 03/24/14 02:20 PM Re: How to approach to teacher about an unfair report? [Re: Leyla]
    Leyla Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/08/13
    Posts: 58
    Thank you all for quick replies. All the feedback is very welcome :-)

    In report card:
    4 means exceeding expectations
    3 means meets expectations
    2 means inconsistent meeting expectations
    1 means needs more time to develop skills

    There are different sections of report card and each section has subsections: Math, Reading, Writing, Communication, Science, Social Studies, Fitness/Arts, Social Skills

    Her written comments for all sections starts with hard work/improvement. She mentions 99% in math test, also talks about DD's last writing assessment being compelling. To be honest, if I only read her comments, I see a picture of a girl working hard, showing progress/improvement despite her focus issues. Then I look into the grades and see bunch of grades dropped to 2 from 3. I would like to know, if there is progress/improvement, how do the grades fall?

    For ADD, I talked to our pediatrician about it and he asked me to fill our a questionnaire. According to the scores in that, she doesn't meet inattentive, just below the borderline. He thinks given DD's skills in piano and her being eligible in gifted, there is not much to worry about, but watch closely etc. I am myself not too worried about this, as she is definitely improving in many ways.

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    #185743 - 03/24/14 02:54 PM Re: How to approach to teacher about an unfair report? [Re: Leyla]
    Quantum2003 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/08/11
    Posts: 1425
    I don't wish to offend, but your detailed description actually suggests an accurate and therefore fair report. There is a big jump in expectations in elementary grades as kids are developing very fast. I had a 2E student through elementary so have received the same type of reports sometimes. The gaps became bigger as time went on. I admit it was a bit confusing initially because my DS also got A's on tests and I made sure he completed homework. However, after meeting with the teacher, the grading became clear to me. In our situation (not necessarily yours), the classwork weighed much more than the test and homework combined and DS was not able to complete all the class assignments and the test was designed to be more "basic" and expected to be aced by most students whereas the class assignments were meant to stretch so the grade was accurate.
    Unless your DD has an IEP or 504 and sometimes not even then, it may be hard to convince the teacher that a child who does not complete all the classwork well should receive the same grade as a child who aces all the classwork. That may not be your DD's situation at all. My point is to enter the conversation with an open mind and approach as a request for help to bring up your DD's grades.


    Edited by Quantum2003 (03/24/14 02:58 PM)

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    #185745 - 03/24/14 02:59 PM Re: How to approach to teacher about an unfair report? [Re: Leyla]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4292
    Originally Posted By: Leyla
    I would like to know, if there is progress/improvement, how do the grades fall?
    Grades can fall because the expectations went up. Note that "expectations" are subjective, whereas mastery of a topic or unity of study can be objective.

    For example: 99% on a math test is objectively a great measure. Subjectively, if the expectation was 100%, then the 99% fell short; it did not meet expectations.

    This may lead to consideration of whether the expectations are reasonable. For example: Is the expectation set at 88% for gen ed pupils, with a higher expectation (possibly 100%) for pupils identified as gifted? Some may say that the expectations ought to be made known proactively; Grading ought to be a transparent process. Parents and students ought not to be placed in the awkward and dis-empowered position of guessing how things are evaluated.

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    #185746 - 03/24/14 03:08 PM Re: How to approach to teacher about an unfair report? [Re: Leyla]
    Leyla Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/08/13
    Posts: 58
    Quantum2003 - Not offended at all :-) Instead your comments gave me a different angle to look at it. Will definitely ask about how much weight goes to class work/homework etc. One question about gap becoming bigger. Do you mean it got worse in the higher grades? Hope not :S

    Indigo - Totally makes sense. I just wish it was more transparent. I have an engineer mind, subjectivity makes me disappointed.



    Edited by Leyla (03/24/14 03:09 PM)

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    #185747 - 03/24/14 03:17 PM Re: How to approach to teacher about an unfair report? [Re: Leyla]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4292
    Originally Posted By: Leyla
    I just wish it was more transparent.
    After having the discussion which others have suggested and learning how the process works, requesting/advocating for the process to be more transparent with information shared proactively may be a next step.

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