QOTW: grades

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2009
QOTW: grades
12
Sun, 11-07-2010 - 3:03pm

This week's questions are about grades and are maybe a little more philosophical:

Do you think grades are 'the' motivator for your gifted child to perform well? Or are there other, more important, internal, motivators that matter more?

Do you think a grading system where getting all As is the 'norm' stimulates (over)perfectionism in your gifted child more than a system would where C's and B's are the norm (or the other way around)?

Suzanne

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2005
In reply to: suuzzzy
Mon, 11-22-2010 - 5:26pm

Malachi just finished his first quarter in a kindergarten program that gets grades.

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc248/gwennyc/b6yfcl.png<A href="http://s218.photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2010
In reply to: suuzzzy
Mon, 11-22-2010 - 11:35am

We are at a charter school that requires parent participation. It seems to have a mix of principles including constructionism, non violence, etc. The school shares a campus with a regular public school though the District originally planned for the charter school to take over the campus. There are 9 classrooms, K-8 and a K/1 class. Parents must volunteer 3 hours per week for the first child.

It is nice that there are so many parents on the playground and in the classroom, and I was surprised about the portfolios last year though it makes since because there is differentiation in the work.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2009
In reply to: suuzzzy
Fri, 11-19-2010 - 6:55am
What kind of school is it? I love that they work with portfolios... The philosophy behind it sounds a bit alike the montessori elementary school my girls were attending till 8th grade... I miss those days a little, I must admit...
Suzanne
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2010
In reply to: suuzzzy
Thu, 11-18-2010 - 7:32pm

My ds(6) is in a school that doesn't grade, they work on their portfolios. They have included their best work

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-21-2003
In reply to: suuzzzy
Thu, 11-11-2010 - 10:49pm

My kids are quite motivated to get good grades in the subjects that interest them (English, math, French and music in both cases) and far less motivated in the other subjects. So they end up with a predominance of As, a few Bs, and the odd C. I have no problem at all with their attitude as I was much the same way in middle and high school. (By the time I got to university I was a straight-A student.) Some of their classmates are hell-bent on getting high 90s even in subjects they actively dislike, not to learn more about the subjects but to maintain their spotless track record. I suppose there's nothing wrong with this approach, either, except that it leaves less time for pursuing one's passions.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999
In reply to: suuzzzy
Tue, 11-09-2010 - 2:28pm

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
In reply to: suuzzzy
Tue, 11-09-2010 - 12:59pm

Only my eldest has ever been subjected to grades, and that began at age 14 when she entered the local school part-time. She seems to have a healthy attitude about them: sometimes they're correlated with mastery, and worth paying attention to, sometimes they're correlated with hoop-jumping, and then you're best to focus on the learning itself rather than the grades.

Most of her coursework is very easy for her and so far I don't think she's earned anything less than an A. This year she's taking some required courses that are neither in her areas of natural excellence (which are language and literature) nor in subjects like math and science where the grading criteria are firm and objective, so I expect she might get a couple of Bs and Cs. Her school seems to overall have a B-minus kind of average; certainly As are not the norm. Anyway, I don't expect that she's particularly concerned about earning As in those courses and it won't bother her at all to have lower grades.

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
In reply to: suuzzzy
Tue, 11-09-2010 - 11:29am

Do you think grades are 'the' motivator for your gifted child to perform well? Or are there other, more important, internal, motivators that matter more?

I do think that my kids expect to get As, but at the same time, I don't think that it's an especially important motivator. They know that our biggest concern is that they put forth a good effort. One of our dds had such math test

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2009
In reply to: suuzzzy
Mon, 11-08-2010 - 6:20pm

My girls were in a Montessori school up till last year, where there were no grades. You just finished your tasks, did tests to check yourself if indeed you mastered the subject, and you'd move on to the next assignments. I found out the main motivator for the girls to do certain tasks was because the topic interested them or because they felt they had neglected the subject too much and they wanted to develop evenly.

Now they've entered a school with grades 1-10 where 5.5 means you have a sufficient, and anything above it is nice. All of a sudden it doesn't matter anymore WHAT is being studied, but HOW they need to study it in order to get a good grade. And I hate to see this actually causes more superficial learning then they did before: DD L got a bad grade on a test because she put definitions in her own words, and the teacher wanted the literal wording of the book, so now she has stopped thinking for herself and just reproduces terms without fully understanding what she says. But she gets better grades.

DD Y seems to develop an attitude where she doesn't do more than she needs for a sort of ok grade (7 or higher). It doesn't matter anymore if by missing out on certain knowledge she'll get into trouble later on, not yet anyway. She's trying to keep herself from freaking out too much (as the perfectionist in her would actually like to have all As) by developing an 'I can't do it perfect anyway' kind of attitude which makes her give up too early. She wrote 1 line replies to open questions which asked for at least 3-4 sentences, just because 'it was good enough like that'. Even though she knew much more to tell. She's clearly still searching for a balance, as before the fall break she was trying to study so hard and get As only. She didn't have time for anything else anymore (cello, reading novels, playing with friends), and that made her unhappy. So grades now seem to become 'the motivator' and a huge influence on their studying behavior and I don't like it at all! Sigh.

Suzanne
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2003
In reply to: suuzzzy
Mon, 11-08-2010 - 4:38pm

Nope, not in the least.

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