parent/teacher conference need help

rfantJanuary 12, 2002

Help! My child came home with her grade sheet and had dropped from excellent to satisfactory in conduct. (She is in 6th grade = never been in trouble and makes A's). Her story is the teacher gave the whole class the same grade. She has always received "excellents" and maintains she has done nothing to deserve the satisfactory. My question is I plan to talk with the teacher to request a review of my daughters conduct to see if she really did deserve the satisfactory- but what do I do if the teacher tells me she gave the whole class satisfactory regardless of whether a student was acting excellent. I personally think if she did give all students satisfactory and some were excellent that is nothing but LAZINESS. I am not sure how to approach this discussion with her if she did as my daughter implies. I need some suggestions, please!

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I would be surprised if the teacher tells you what she has given the other students, even something like giving "all" the students a particular grade. I suspect her grade system is more along the lines of a difference in how she defines satisfactory vs excellent in conduct. It is a VERY subjective area.

It doesn't strike me as a "lazy" way out of a grade as it is likely just as easy to give an "excellent" as it is a "satisfactory."

    Bookmark   January 12, 2002 at 8:27PM
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It really depends on the situation. Some teachers interpret those words in different ways. Speaking for myself, I'd probably give about 90% of the class 'satisfactory'--only giving 'unsatisfactory' to a child who repeatedly disrupts the learning of the rest of the class; and Excellant would be reserved for the very few students in each class who were absolutely perfectly behaved (very, very few of those in any elementary class--and it ceases to have any meaning if given out too freely, in my opinion). Satisfactory is a good 'grade'--it means your child as been well-behaved, is doing what's expected of her. Sounds more like a this teacher just defines the word differently than some of the others. And, to my mind, giving out lots and lots of undeserved 'excellant' ratings could also be seen as lazy. All a matter of perspective, you see?

There's also the scenario that perhaps your daughter is trying to justify a legitimate drop in her grade--in which case you have to decide whether she just had a bad week before the grades were due, or is having more serious problems which need to be addressed.

You, of course, can do what you think is best once you've gotten the facts and assessed the situation, but to me, if it is a case of a teacher who doens't give out 'excellant' freely, it doesn't seem like an issue that's worth fighting over. Sometimes we have to choose our battles and save our fights for the things that really matter. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2002 at 11:23AM
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My son had a fifth grade teacher in elementary school who only gave out S's, never E's. She turned out to be one of the best teachers he's had. Since then, he has had several middle school teachers who only give out S's.

The first time it happened I was surprised, as my son normally got E's. I checked with the teacher to make sure my son wasn't misbehaving.

My opinion is to pick your battles, and personally I wouldn't pick this one. The important thing is that your daughter is well-behaved and cooperating in school, by 6th grade she probably doesn't need the reward of seeing an E in conduct on her report card, as long as she knows S is the highest grade given.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2002 at 11:32AM
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I wouldn't bother. My daughter's teachers give out very few if any E's in conduct. That would mean that the child has been perfect every day in class. I doubt any child can do that. I too consider S's good grades. I'd let this discussion with the teacher pass. Save your discussion for more important things. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 9:18AM
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I second Daisy and Nancy, wouldn't worry about it. If her behavior had truly worsened, you would have seen evidence of it before now in the way of disciplinary measures. This teacher probably just has a more strict definition of satifactory and excellent. It is a more subjective grade that tests and classwork grades. If you mention it, I'd do it very briefly and maybe not even relate it to the grade. Just a casual question about how she follows directions and works with peers. Focus on how she is learning and making sure she is prepared for middle school.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 10:40AM
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I'm a third grade teacher and our "excellent" is called "advanced", "satisfactory" is called "proficient." I almost never give an "advanced" grade unless the child's ability level is extraordinarily above grade level. "Proficient" or "satisfactory" is a great mark. It means the child is doing everything that is expected at his or her grade level.

I'm doing report cards right now and I have given one "advanced" or "excellent" grade for a child reading and comprehending beyond an 8th grade level. All other marks are either "progressing," "proficient" or "emerging." We also have "minimal" but for the same reason I am careful with "advanced," I am also careful with "minimal." "Minimal," to me, means that a student doesn't have ANY skills in that area that are grade appropriate. That is almost never the case. "Advanced," to me, means that there's nothing left to strive towards.

I think that if you're concerned about the mark, by all means, talk to the teacher about it. But please don't be disappointed if it is his or her opinion that behaving appropriately in school is an "all or none" type grade. Either you are doing it and your mark is "satisfactory" or you're not and your mark is "unsatisfactory." I just can't think of any real-world examples of behavior that tops "satisfactory" to the "excellent" level.

I truly doubt that any teacher would tell any group of students the marks of the other students. If that is accurate, I would have more of an issue with that.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2002 at 5:45PM
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Thanks for all the good advice. I am looking at matters a little differently. Haven't been able to talk to teacher yet (sickness in family) but do plan to check with her on my daughter's behavior (just to make sure). I am leaning toward agreeing with everyone here "to pick my battles". This may not be that big deal. Will let you know what happens after I talk to the teacher. Thanks for the followups.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2002 at 11:39PM
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How is school going? I was just checking in and wondering how the school year has been?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2002 at 12:20PM
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