At this point, I’ve posted the first “real” grades for my English classes this year, and I’m going to ask that before you do anything else, you take a BIG HUGE BREATH. Just…
It’s easy to get upset about a less-than-stellar grade on a report card, no matter what you consider that to be. For some of you, it’s anything less than an A. For others, it’s grades of D or F.
Whichever camp you fall into, there are some things you need to keep in mind if things aren’t quite going your way:
- Week one grades aren’t really that accurate. When there are only a handful of grades in the gradebook, one really good grade or one really bad grade can yank the average out of control. Take a look and see what’s going on. Was it just one bad test or missing assignment, or are all of the grades equally poor? I give a LOT of grades (there are 12 columns in my paper gradebook already and we’re only on week 2). There’s usually time for a low grade to be evened out, provided the student makes some effort.
- Habits are more important than points at this stage. Missing and late work destroys a student’s average faster than anything else. When I grade work, I start by marking each assignment that I received with a “Turned in” flag. Missing assignments are flagged “missing” (which automatically enters the grade as a zero). When the assignment is turned in, the flag becomes “Turned in – Late”. Does your child have a lot of missing or late assignments at this early stage? If so, is there a good reason (such as absences)?
- Call/email early. If you have a question about a grade, please don’t wait until parent-teacher conferences to give me a call or send me an e-mail. It’s best to nip problems early before they become major issues.
- Ask for help. When ESS begins, students can come to my classroom on Wednesday mornings for ESS. That gives a student extra credit in the class and also gives you the benefit of one-on-one tutoring to help raise the grade. Students: don’t be afraid to ask for help studying or for a chance to retake a test or redo an assignment. The answer won’t always be yes, but don’t be afraid to ask. If you never ask, the answer is always no. 🙂
Finally, here are some quick answers to questions I’ve received about grading:
- Summer reading test (Pre-AP only) – sorry, no retakes on this one. You were given a Quizlet with the exact test questions and answers.
- Bell ringer quizzes – these are only worth a small number of points a week. One bad quiz won’t hurt you much (most worksheets are worth more than this). If you have a bad week, dust yourself off and study harder the next week.
- Major Works Data Sheet – East of Eden (Pre-AP only) – some of you forgot to go back and finish this one, and therefore got a 45/60 instead of a 60/60. I will allow you to go back and do this, but it’s on you to let me know when it is finished. I will not go back and check on my own.
- Syllabus – This is a grade and a requirement. You must turn it in. If you don’t, that will result in a consequence beyond a zero in the gradebook.
- Extra credit – I don’t give a ridiculous amount, but I do give some extra credit here and there. There are several different ways that I offer extra credit to be fair to everyone (for example, bringing in supplies, donating books, completing extra work), and there is a cap on how much can be earned.