Why do We Have to Have Grades, Anyway?
Is your child making the grade? What grades mean to kids, parents, and educators.
What You Need to Know
Grades are part of every kid’s life. But what do they signify, really? Here’s a rundown of what grades mean to those involved.
- Students know that grades signify their progress. But they can do more. If a teacher gives a low grade, it helps if the teacher explains why. Otherwise, the student may not know how to improve.
- Parents are comfortable with traditional letter grades rather than narratives or other forms of evaluation.
- Grades help teachers gauge the progress of their students as a whole and individually. They can help a teacher know whether he’s pushing too hard in one direction or whether the kids need a greater challenge. And grades indicate to administrators how well both students and teachers are doing.
How You Can Help
- Ask teachers to be specific about ways your child needs to improve a low grade. If your child comes home with a D, ask the teacher to specify why the grade is low and what you and your child can do to improve in that area. This can be especially important in subjects such as math that build on previously learned skills.
- Think back to how you pulled up a grade. Share with your child how you struggled with long division, algebra, or writing. Tell her how frustrated you felt. Then tell her what you did to get a handle on the subject. Was it extra time with dad to go over problems? Was it writing in a new way, such as in a diary? Let your child know that you have been where she is, and that it can get better.
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