Saturday, September 3, 2011

Is a 70 Good?

It's the question I get every year...Kids coming into 4th grade are really just starting to grasp the concept of the letter grade. They know they're supposed to make A's and B's, but they dont' fully understand what those letters mean or how the grades are calculated. So each year I struggle with the same question posed by a new student who has just recently made a C: Is this is a good grade?

What's the answer to that question? If I say "A C is average." they don't understand. Good or Bad...those are the choices. Its one of the questions I dread because after all these years, I still don't know the right answer! Too bad we have to have grades at all...

5 comments:

  1. What if you said that there were 3 grades possible: A = Secured, B = Developing, and C = beginning. I did this with my students, I stopped using percentages and instead went to this because I had to give grades. This way parents and students could see whether they had secured something or not. And we always went back to those beginning skills to re-adjust their grades once they secured it.

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  2. I completely understand where you are coming from. Being from a school system that requires A,B,C,D, and F grading scale, we are constantly dealing with what is good. Parents, and even I as the teacher, often expect more than a 70. We consider it below average! Is that right or wrong? We need to push kids to do their best, but some kids are at their best at a C. Are we shunning them that they are below average and not average? Do we want those A students to think a 70 is OK because it is average? I am looking forward to the day when we are standards based-mastered and not mastered.

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  3. Both excellent points! I love the idea of changing the meaning of A's, B's, and C's, but also look forward to the day when we move towards standards-based assessments.

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  4. I agree with all the replies. One of my keys is when a student or parent says, what does a C mean, I want to be able to show them a clear set of criteria that I used as the basis for the grade. I find rubrics are my friend, because it helps me clarify my thinking as well as helping students and parents understand what they need to do to be successful.

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  5. I totally relate to this post. I wish we could totally focus on learning and not on grades! I'm glad to have stumbled upon your blog!

    http://fifthgradeteacher-ld.blogspot.com

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