School Grades

Updated on March 16, 2015
S.J. asks from Des Moines, IA
25 answers

My child received a D on a test for which she went in to retake for more points which is allowed by the school. When my child saw the teacher, she asked, "May I retake the test during lunch?" The teacher then replied (in a reportedly sarcastic manner), "Oh, the one you failed?" This reply was said in front of another of my child's teachers (who had no need to know about the score) and within earshot of my child's classmates.

It was quite unprofessional and heartless on the part of the teacher not to mention humiliating for my child who takes pride in her grades. This is also in violation of FERPA confidentiality regulations since the test score was recorded, part of an official record, and the others present had no need for the information.

Would you complain or let it go?

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So What Happened?

My dd had to take the test at lunch so she had to ask the teacher right at that time or there would not have been enough time to do the test. She actually didn't get to eat her lunch at all.

I probably won't do anything ...except now my daughter knows that she needs to make arrangements ahead of time to do a retake when she can talk to a teacher privately. No matter what, I do think the teacher was out of line. For those of you who said a teacher can post grades, that is against the law. I'm sure many teachers haven't been trained or they don't know what is allowed.

Featured Answers


answers from Boston on

Well, she did fail it. Right? Lesson learned.

Let it go. Seriously. She asked in front of people, and the teacher maybe was a little sarcastic. But, really , she is letting her retake a test. That doesn't sound heartless to me.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Honestly, I don't think it is worth complaining about but I do think it was pretty rude of the teacher. My kids are in HS and they are able to retake as test if they did not do well. The teacher could have just said yes or no .

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

Well.... In all fairness, YOUR CHILD is the one that brought it up publicly in a group setting. There's always the chance the comment wasn't said sarcastically, that your daughter just perceived it that way(and that's unfortunate and I'm sure hurtful/embarrassing for her). I wouldn't bring it up to anyone, the teacher didn't randomly call her out to announce her less than stellar grade, your daughter brought it up. I think you stand to gain nothing and could really cause harm to the way you and your daughter are perceived by her teachers...

17 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

First of all, you were not there so what you were told is hearsay and what you posted is hearsay. Do you always believe 100% of a story before you get BOTH sides? You were not there so you do not know exactly what was said or what tone was used.

Your DAUGHTER opened that confidential door when SHE went to speak to the teacher and she continued to speak when someone else was in the teacher's room. Your daughter probably was embarrassed about a D which is not a failing grade but a poor grade and she probably interpreted things differently than how they were meant to come across.

You need to get a better understanding of the FERPA laws.

It would probably do you more good to be supportive of your daughter and teach her how to handle moments like this instead of finding someone to blame and being so defensive and judgmental. Remember, you are teaching your behavior.. Don't teach a child to be judgmental and defensive. Teach children to be independent and responsible.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I don't think Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) means what you think it means.

Your daughter brought it up in a public area and not in private.
I get that she's embarrassed about the D and the teachers comment didn't help with her feelings about the grade.

You are tuned in to your daughters feelings and want to complain about your daughters feelings being hurt.
That's kind of shaky ground to stand on.
Peoples feelings get hurt all the time - sometimes over fairly trivial things.

Your daughter already feels embarrassed - I can guarantee that your complaining about the situation is NOT going to make your daughter feel any better and could make her feel a good deal worse.
You want a 'got your back' moment to prove you're her friend - but that's not necessarily being a good parent.

Your current area of focus is just in the wrong place.
I think you need to focus on why your daughter got the D in the first place and help her with her study methods, get her a tutor, do some practice tests with her, find out what the root of her problem with the subject is and get her the help she needs so that when she retakes the test she gets a grade she can be proud of.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Wouldn't your daughter have implied that she hadn't done well on the test simply by asking about a retake? It's not like she would have asked for a retake if she got an A.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I agree with the others that said that your daughter brought it up in front of other people and should not expect the conversation to be completely private. It's also possible that she perceived the tone as sarcastic when it wasn't intended to be. I don't think you have anything to gain at all by making an issue out of this.

I do understand why you're upset, as you feel your daughter's privacy was validated. I just don't think complaining is going to have any positive results and may have negative consequences.

Finally, if your daughter is asking in front of others to retake a test, it becomes fairly obvious that she didn't do well the first time around. Anyone who may have overheard the question already knew she failed before the teacher replied.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Did you confirm this conversation actually happened or are basing your opinion on only hearing one side, your child's version, of the story?
As I tell my own children, get ALL the information and points of view before making accusations and/or passing judgement. That's just common sense.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I doubt that test scores are confidential. In some schools term grades are posted in the hallway.

I would think that having a failing grade mentioned in this sort of situation would be a natural consequence. Your daughter is in middle school. Why are you so upset? You cannot protect your daughter all her life. When will you help her to deal with less than perfect situations? I suggest that your need to blame someone else as evidenced in previous posts and to find ways to deflect attention from your daughter and the basic and more important issue of her failing grade is doing her a misservice. Life will not be perfect. When you come to her defence you are teaching her to find excuses so that she won't have to deal with the issue at hand. I suggest that your time and energy would be more helpful if you don't waste it fighting a battle you cannot win.

After your SWH: sarcasm can be an effective way to teach. In a literature class we studied various ways to get a point across. Sarcasm was one. I'm not saying that the teacher's comment was OK. I am saying that judging a comment as rude based only on the written word is being judgemental. I chuckled when I read the comment that mirrored the seriousness you are giving an extremely minor situation.

I have now read a government description of FERPA rules. I see nothing in them that would indicate that this teacher is in violation of them. I, too, doubt that you're a teacher trained in FERPA. I see your SWH as another example of you not accepting the reality that life and people are not perfect. The search for perfection causes much anxiety. I know from personal experience that there is no such thing. For me, the search and resulting anxiety and the need to defend indicated that I was not able to accept that I was OK even when life through a curve ball. With continuing counseling I am able to say "it is what it is" and let things go.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

All teachers have access to all the kid's grades anyway so I am not sure why you think this is a big deal. Why do you think teachers don't have this access? How else are they to figure out when a child is in an upward or downward spiral. It doesn't necessarily start in all classes at once.

FERPA says officials with a legitimate interest, being one of the other teachers is in fact a legitimate interest, just because you don't understand why doesn't change that fact.

Thing is so what if one of her other teachers knows she failed a test if she is doing so well in the other teacher's class? Most teachers are not idiots, they know kids have their strong subject and others they struggle with. All your daughter's teachers are in this together that is a good thing. Stop looking for a reason to be a victim of something.

Oh my, why don't I read the what happened first. You cannot self teach yourself government regulations, they are far too complicated. The government defines legitimate, not you, that is what makes them complicated. That teacher probably already knew she failed the test, now she knows she is the kind of child that works to improve, how you think this is a bad thing is beyond me.

Per your additional what happened, this forum was not created to tell people they are right, it was to answer questions. When you have a go at teachers in your what happened you are the one setting the nasty tone, we are just responding. Perhaps this is why you are having this issue in the first place, you clearly hold no personal responsibility for your words or actions wouldn't surprise me if your apple doesn't as well

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I agree with Jennifer T. Your child got a D and unkess it is discussed in a private conference I do not see what the teacher did wrong. What happened to the days we supported the teachers. Before jumping the gun, I would at least ask the teacher what had happened and instead of getting on his/her case, work together with him/her on strategies of helping your child improve her grade.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Let it go and tell my child to make sure the room is clear if she's going to get embarrassed over her grades. Then I'd tell 'em to study harder and ask for help if they need it.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I don't see how your daughter's asking her question is somehow to blame for the teacher's snarky reply. Yes, your daughter brought up the retake in a place with others around, and yes, there's not really an expectation of perfect privacy about grades -- as someone noted, grades sometimes are posted in hallways for certain things.

But the teacher had zero reason to say "Oh, the one you failed?" like that. You don't say how old your daughter is, but if she's older than elementary age, and isn't a super-sensitive kid, she likely is reporting the comment accurately. And it was simply unnecessary, no matter the inflection, to me.

I would still let this go. It's already happened. If you go to the teacher quoting law and complaining about this unpleasant but very minor thing, the teacher's possibly going to see your daughter as a problem student. Instead, tell your daughter that while the comment was not necessary, the teacher might have been having a truly awful day and forgot herself in that moment, or because the teacher sees so many grades every day, she may not be particularly sensitive to one student's concerns over one grade. And your daughter and you can be less sensitive too. It's one grade, one retake, and other kids who heard the comment really are going to forget it. She won't be labeled by her classmates due to this, and she needs to learn that. They don't care one bit about her grades, though of course she does, and felt like all eyes were on her in that moment.

If she needs another retake at some point, or has a question for the teacher, I'd advise her to either find a private time or e-mail the teacher --that's how my kid and her classmates communicate about things like retakes with teachers. (They're middle schoolers so it's expected they'll use e-mail, though.)

Don't let her brood on it or keep bringing it up. You should do the same -- dont' give this comment any more of your mental energy. If the teacher shows a real pattern of being rude to students, that's a different story, but that requires more than this one comment.

I would note that it can be very hard for kids to get a teacher in private for even a moment during a school day to ask one quick question like this one. I know from my own middle schooler's experience that teachers may only be alone in their classrooms at a very few times each day (if at all), and those times don't necessarily fit with a time when the student can go to that classroom and ask a question. There may have been no time or way, that day, for your child to ask her question when no one was around.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I've never heard of grades being confidential. When teachers hand back test and homework you can generally see the grades of those sitting close to you.

while the teacher didn't nerd to blurt that out, I agree with the other comments. I'd let it go. In fact I'd let it be a lesson to my child.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

First of all, teachers talk, so saying something in front of another teacher is nothing. They've already talked about it in the lunch room. Regardless of confidentiality regulations, which you may or may not be interpreting correctly, teachers talk about their students to each other. It's sometimes very necessary. (Almost) all teachers have their students' best interests at heart; we are not talking about them in order to bring them down.

Second, maybe the teacher wasn't being sarcastic, maybe she was genuinely asking which test.

Third, if your child is so humiliated by the D, then maybe she can tell the teacher that she would appreciate it if the teacher did not mention her grades in front of other students. Or if your daughter is too shy, then you can do it.

I don't know what kind of school your daughter goes to, but plenty of kids get D's; it's not that uncommon, and nothing to be ashamed of. Most of the kids at the schools I teach at don't care if their classmates know about their D's.

Teachers say a lot of things to kids during a day, and if every parent monitored every thing a teacher said, they'd probably find something to freak out about. Give the teacher a break, she probably didn't mean to humiliate your daughter. She probably didn't realize your daughter was sensitive about it.

Just ask the teacher not to do it in the future.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I would let it go, and if others knowing she failed was THAT humiliating for her then maybe she should study a little harder. You can not even be sure the other kids heard, and teachers have access to students grades so in front of the other teacher was not an issue IMO.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I read your SWH that said you probably wouldn't do anything, but I think that's the wrong tack to take.

Your daughter's teacher was extremely disrespectful to your daughter. It sounds like she actually doesn't like your daughter. She has taken trust away from your daughter that will affect her with other teachers. You know, she didn't FAIL. A "D" isn't a good grade, but it's not a failing grade. Just passing this off doesn't help your daughter.

I would go in and talk to the teacher. Ask her if she has a problem with your daughter personally, that she would treat her like this in front of other people. Listen to what she says. If she passes this off like it's nothing, remind her what the law says, and then tell her what I've written above. Listen to her again. If her attitude is the same, time to go talk to the principal.

If your daughter is struggling in school, get her some tutoring. It will make her feel a lot better and help her for next year, when hopefully she'll have a teacher who doesn't act like this year's teacher. Your daughter needs some renewed confidence and being more secure in her subjects, as well as having decent teachers, will help.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Buffalo on

That sucks....
The teacher was out of are already dealing with lots of peer issues and then to have a teacher put them down like that in front of others is uncalled for. There's probably nothing to do, but I feel for your kid.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

she must not play school sports.... They have a form to give to each teacher to fill out grades for academic eligibility, all the teachers see all the grades. This would be a non-issue for me.. If you don't want to be embarrassed by your grades get better grades. Peer pressure is not always a bad thing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

It sounds like the teacher was wrong to say that...she obviously knew why she was retaking the test
She didn't have to blurt it out
I would tell the teacher that she should speak in private about grades

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I'd do this.

I'd talk to my child, I'm assuming she's older and can understand that she asked about something private in front of others. She didn't expect privacy so the teacher did nothing wrong.

What your girl learned from this is to ask the teacher "can I speak to your for a moment in private please". Then the teacher can answer yes or no. She can't press the issue and make her speak about it in front of others without really really betraying confidentiality.

As for the teacher. I'd ask her to please remember that kids are learning and next time she has the "opportunity" could she use this sort of thing as a teaching moment where she could have asked "Do you want to talk privately or do you mind if Mr/Mrs ???? hears too". This is a way for you to let her know you know she didn't remember to help a child learn something new. Then by teaching your child about speaking up for themselves it's a win win situation.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Retaking a test doesn't mean she failed, so it is not an automatic admission of failure by requesting that the test be taken over. It simply means, she was not satisfied with the grade she received.

I am not aware of FERPA, but work within HIPAA. In my line of work, I might be a print operator in some cases, however, I cannot look at the information on the print out. I might touch it, but I am not allowed to read the contents. With that said, certainly, a teacher could accept or decline the request to retake a test without using the word "fail". And, I am quite sure if she said "fail" it was said with sarcasm. Who says that? What's the point?

Further, I just took a brief look at FERPA. If any teacher is breaching the act, they are way behind the times. That can get them, the school, and the school district in a lot of trouble. It wasn't written for a loose interpretation.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Let it go.
Your daughter DID almost fail.
Perhaps she should have studied more.
Your daughter could have talked to the teacher when no one was around. Then she would be sure that people are not eavesdropping.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I have many teacher friends and there is no confidentiality between teachers. They head on over to the teacher lounge and let it rip. I'm sure everyone already knows the general grades, personality issues and learning disabilities of all of the kids by this time in the year. It wasn't a kind comment though and I do wonder about teachers and their ability to empathize and teach children right from wrong. How is that comment going to teach the right behavior? If anything, it will humiliate and knock her down so she won't want to try harder next time. If you address anything, that's what I would call out.



answers from Houston on

If this is what happened then yes it was mean and the teacher should not have done that.

Your daughter however shoulders some responsibility as well. She did not perform well on the test. That is what set everything out in motion. How many times has your daughter had to retake a test? Perhaps it would be better energy spent by you ensuring that your child is prepared for her school work and tests.

I think what most of us see here is a Mom who is not holding her child responsible for her actions. At least, that is what I see.

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