Thursday, December 06, 2007

Report Cards

I hate making up grades, not because I don't want to do the work but because I hate to make decisions that have major effects on other people's lives. I spend a lot of time looking over exam grades, homework, attendance, etc and come to what I hope is a fair and reasonable grade. My students usually don't complain too much.

Yesterday I made the error of telling some of my kids their grades in advance. Of course the complaints started. One kid, with a 67 average got a 55 because he was missing 15 homeworks. "Miss, you didn't collect mine." I asked him, how did I missed his and got every other homework. He couldn't answer and walked away angry. He's not really a bad kid. Today he came in, "forgave" me for failing him but failed to hand in homework again. He told me that it was okay that he didn't pass. I said, "Joey, you are good! You know that I won't change the grade, you know that you deserved to fail, so you are justifying your grade in your own mind. Just do what is right and your grades will go up." He smiled and walked out. Hopefully he will improve. I had this kid last year and went through the same scenario then. He's bright, he just has to learn that he cannot get over on me.

My real problem with grading is the administration. They are not so easy to deal with. My AP complains if we pass too many and the principal complains if we pass too few. The principal thinks that if a kid gets a 55 the second marking period, he is going to pass the third one and programs the kid to move ahead. The only way we can guarantee that this won't happen is to give out grades of 40 and 45, something I hate to do. I don't want to pass someone that does not deserve to pass, but I don't want to destroy a kid's average either. It is much harder to recover from a 40 or a 45 than a 55. I would like to be able to just put down an F for kids that fail. Too bad the administration won't let us do that. I know there are teachers out there that love to give the "true average". This accomplishes nothing. I would rather put down a comment or make a phone call to let the parents know the true story.

Too bad I didn't pay attention as to when report cards will be issued. That would have been a good day to be out sick.


NYC Educator said...

It doesn't matter when they issue the report cards. If you come in the next day, the kids will remember their grades anyway.

Or maybe not. Well, you've given me something to think about. Please don't do that anymore. It's been a long day.

Anonymous said...

I try to 'formula' rather than 'reasonable' my grades, which has (so far) served me well, especially when it comes to kids knowing why they got what they got.

Even still, I get one once in a while. I remember a young man, at Hofstra now, as a freshman first marking period, complained that he didn't get a 90. Every grade for the marking period, project, participation, test, quiz, was below 90, except for one quiz, 25/25. So I carefully explained, and he nodded that he understood, but it was the same the next marking period. And not just a math thing. Over the next four years he was shocked by a fair number of his grades from a wide variety of classes.


Anonymous said...

We're not allowed to give F to our kids. We give them NC (no credit) or incompletes. I have students who have failed 5 classes and have an 84 average since those classes aren't averaged into their GPAs.