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    #208510 - 01/07/15 04:04 PM My son answered too well and marks were taken off.
    tillamook Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/20/12
    Posts: 116
    My son arrived home with barely held back tears this afternoon because he had to redo his homework.

    I read through the questions and his answers and am puzzled. There were three questions on a two page chapter. The first two questions were essentially the same so in the second answer he explained that and then elaborated. The last question was also so obvious that he went beyond the answer and went into possible reasons behind the explanation in the text.

    I don't understand how a teacher could mark this down. Could she not see that he understood and was over answering? Was it an exercise in following the rules or was it to determine understanding?

    In any case, while it's not an important mark I feel I should discuss it with her. I hate conflict. Any advice? Empathy?

    It's quite likely she was in literal mode while she was marking and perhaps didn't think about the person answering.

    Thoughts? Feedback?

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    #208514 - 01/07/15 04:25 PM Re: My son answered too well and marks were taken off. [Re: tillamook]
    tillamook Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/20/12
    Posts: 116
    Thanks for your comment.

    He's 11 and they were basic science questions with the answers spelled out in the text - no room for insight really. He just doesn't think that way so he added his insight.

    If she was just scanning for the standard answers she might have just marked him down.

    Just sad that he (accurately) felt he did well and was a bit blindsided. Also at the age where holding your emotions together is important but still hard. frown

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    #208517 - 01/07/15 05:35 PM Re: My son answered too well and marks were taken off. [Re: tillamook]
    Tinker Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 12/10/14
    Posts: 8
    Your son has my sympathy. I've been there and it definitely feels personal. Let him know that he did well and that you are proud of him. I'd let him skip the do-over if the grade is unimportant. It feels like an insult to be asked to change good work.

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    #208520 - 01/07/15 07:20 PM Re: My son answered too well and marks were taken off. [Re: tillamook]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3987
    Sorry to hear he had this experience. Most elementary teachers, in particular, have very little grounding in science, and often are a little afraid of math and science, actually. On a related topic: back before we started homeschooling, I used to routinely find errors in answers provided by the text used at school. Initially, I would send in little corrections, but eventually, I realized that this was just confusing and upsetting the teachers, and it was probably going to be more useful to explain to the children that teachers are only human, and textbooks are the products of people who are only human, so there will be errors and misconceptions. Our job is to learn to be critical consumers of information (but in a respectful way).

    It may feel a little like creating disillusioned little cynics (though I don't think it is), but there is something to be said for teaching children that even a well-intentioned person with many admirable traits can inadvertently promulgate injustice. (This is as true of ourselves as of others.)
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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    #208521 - 01/07/15 10:00 PM Re: My son answered too well and marks were taken off. [Re: tillamook]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    I like aeh's helpful perspective on this.

    We have over the years also had the unfortunate experience of a handful of teachers who were determined to take DD down a peg or two, using whatever means came to hand.

    Not giving "the" answer-- or going beyond it... or not being LITERAL enough (that is, stating "XXXX happened in 1648 because YYYY happened earlier that same year" rather than "XXXXX occurred late in 1648" or things like this.

    It can be maddening, and can definitely lead to cynicism. Particularly if one catches whiffs of a teacher's personal bias sneaking into things. For example, my DD had one teacher in an AP course who docked her points for not mentioning in an essay (which was open-ended) that the New Deal made the economic collapse more severe and prolonged the period of unemployment.

    Really not kidding about that one.

    She had quite a stinker for biology in high school, as well.
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #208524 - 01/08/15 05:39 AM Re: My son answered too well and marks were taken off. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    For example, my DD had one teacher in an AP course who docked her points for not mentioning in an essay (which was open-ended) that the New Deal made the economic collapse more severe and prolonged the period of unemployment.

    Really not kidding about that one.


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    #208525 - 01/08/15 06:02 AM Re: My son answered too well and marks were taken off. [Re: tillamook]
    Kai Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 647
    I have told my children again and again that the correct answer--when the correct answer is being determined by another person--is the answer that that person thinks is correct.

    This notion has served them well, particularly on standardized tests.

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    #208528 - 01/08/15 07:25 AM Re: My son answered too well and marks were taken off. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2638
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    For example, my DD had one teacher in an AP course who docked her points for not mentioning in an essay (which was open-ended) that the New Deal made the economic collapse more severe and prolonged the period of unemployment.

    I think this is true, having read "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression" (2008) by Amity Shlaes. The meta-question is how history teachers should grade essays on subjects that are still disputed by historians and economists.

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    #208532 - 01/08/15 09:03 AM Re: My son answered too well and marks were taken off. [Re: tillamook]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Exactly. It is debatable, but my DD definitely does not believe that it is so, based on her own understanding and research into the international economic picture and what other economists/historians have as opinions on the subject. Her course textbook certainly suggested that it is an untrue statement, by the way, and she supported her position with ample citations, which went above and beyond the assignment, even. The teacher just wanted something very specific.

    It just seemed pretty obvious to DD that her AP history teacher was being driven far more by ideology than by grading her work fairly and objectively at that point. She was indignant.

    This was confirmed, by the way, when she (experimentally) presented HUAC and McCarthy as "well-intended and effective, if maligned by some radical elements of society" a week or two later in the term. wink To enthusiastic, gushing praise from the instructor, I must say. grin LOL. It just about killed DD to write those words, little socialist and future ACLU member that she is.

    Ultimately, she may not have learned a lot of history, but she DID learn to craft a compelling and disingenuous essay for a particular audience, whilst in the pursuit of a grade. I consider this an important life skill, by the way, so I don't necessarily mention it as a means of complaining about the teacher. The teacher was fine other than the clear Libertarian/revisionist ideologue business. This is also the same teacher that argued with my daughter when she objected to a conflation of the terms "socialism" and "communism" by the way-- so this could have been an epic clash of ideology. I simply reminded my DD that her ultimate goal was not about being right-- but about earning an A (as long as she knew the underlying subject well, that is). The teacher was the very human person she had to be keeping happy in order to make that happen. Mission accomplished, by the way.

    She did have a bit of trouble anticipating just what such an individual would think of LBJ, by the way. That was a challenging essay for her to write. She learned a lot. wink

    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #208536 - 01/08/15 10:52 AM Re: My son answered too well and marks were taken off. [Re: Kai]
    Quantum2003 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/08/11
    Posts: 1432

    Hugs to your DS. It's always sad when their enthusiasm in a subject is not matched by the teacher's.

    The grade may simply be not following directions or irritation/laziness on the teacher's part that she has to take the extra few minutes to review your DS' work. I am not a teacher, but I have to confess that I have criticized adults for wasting my time with two page explanations when I requested a couple of short answers to incorporate into a document.

    Originally Posted By: Kai
    I have told my children again and again that the correct answer--when the correct answer is being determined by another person--is the answer that that person thinks is correct.

    This notion has served them well, particularly on standardized tests.



    ITA with this.

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