Grades.... - Arlington,TX

Updated on May 03, 2012
S.S. asks from Mansfield, TX
32 answers

I'm taking a poll, asking the question:

Was a "C" in a class acceptable when you were in grade school?

**Note, I am not referring to kids with special needs or circumstances. I am not looking to offend anyone asking this question. I have a specific reason I am asking, but long story short, I have given my stepkids an incentive of a vacation if they not bring home any C's on their report cards from Christmas break till the end of school.

This is two different schools but anything between 70 and 79 is constituted a C.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the responses, looks like they are pretty consistent across the board.
To give more info, these kids are 10 and 12, not in any gifted or advanced programs. And they most definitely are capable of A's and B's, they are just lazy. The second I mentioned an incentive, the grades came up and have stayed up from what we're told. The final report card of the semester will of course be the deciding factor. And the vacation is nothing extravagant it is just going to Hot Springs for 4 days.
Thanks to everyone for their input and perspective.

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answers from Honolulu on

A "C" was okay. Not the ideal, but it was okay.
As a kid, we never got punished for grades. Nor, was it used against us.
Because, a "grade" is not always the absolute proof of a child's capability... but it can indicate or convey a difficulty with a certain subject or that, a Teacher was a bad teacher.
And, I am not my siblings and they are not me, as a kid.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I was told to bring home As or Bs. So no, a C was not acceptable. But it was because my mom knew I could get good grades, you know? If I had struggled or was struggling, she'd have been happy with me getting a C. My brother's did and she never got on to them. . .

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answers from New York on

When I was in school, I got mostly A's with a few B's and only 2 C's ever. My mom new I was a good student and that for the most part I did my best so she never really paid any attention.

I tell my kids that a C is just not acceptable. Why, Because I know that they are capable of getting a higher grade.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

I pulled straight F's one quarter to prove a point.
I won the point
That I was an idiot
A scientific one, though.

No. Nothing less than our 'best' was acceptable. In my case that meant A's. In one of my sister's that meant C's. My parents didn't care about the letter grade. They cared about EITHER effort OR performance. Meaning, I could get A's with almost no effort, but my sister struggled mightily for C's and D's.

They were as proud of C's and D's with effort, as they were with straight A's.

Tidbit... I joined the military out of highschool... my sister got a double degree and is working on her MA/Phd.

Ironically, or not, both of us went for what was challenging, instead of what was easy.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

too broad a question.
my kids homeschooled through middle and high so it didn't really apply until college. but they (not i) were generally happy with a high C or above in math, which harder for them, and very pissy if they got anything below an A in anything else.
the grades constitute an average over a very large spectrum. it's unrealistic to expect that average to apply to every child in every subject. if you've got a science whizz, of course you've got a higher expectation. but if your art devotee is struggling with the elemental table, demanding an A is probably going to cause grief all round.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

For the most part, I expect A's, some B's and maybe the occasional C in a more difficult subject. My son struggles with spelling (4th grade). He gets all A's and a C in spelling - I'm ok with that.

If my kids were in High School and taking advanced classes, I'd be ok with a C. I'd prefer them to challenge themselves vs getting an A in a class that was too easy for them. So for me, there are no hard rules about this. I figure, I know my kids and I know what they are capable of and the grades should just accurately reflect that indicating that they are trying hard enough.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Parental expectations need to be based on each child....honoring, encouraging, & applauding each individual strength & weakness. :)

I learned an important lesson when I was in H.S. One of the science teachers was notorious about not gearing his teaching/grading based on societal norms. What would be an A in any other class...barely pulled a C. This was 1977 & he taught to 1950s standards. At the time, I hated his class... but as a parent, I now applaud his efforts. This lesson taught me to judge my expectations from each class....based on the individual class, too.

I truly believe that by combining these two can approach grade expectations honestly & fairly. In no way do I shortchange my expectations. In no way do I make excuses. I simply try very hard to have reasonable expectations which allow for growth, encouraging that growth.

Sooo, to answer your question: yes, a C was acceptable for me - in gym, in that one science class, & a few others. It rarely happened, but my Mom knew the root cause of each event. The rest of the time, I pulled straight A/H' I guess I also have to say my parenting, when it comes to grades, is directly based on how my Mom handled me! Wow, that makes 3 pathways leading to my expectations!

Thanks for posting this question....which, in turn, taught me something about myself!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

A's was the goal in our home, B's were cool, C's.... well that meant you needed to try harder. It depends on your child tho, C's are like A's in some families. Once you know what your child IS capable of, you go from there.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

No. When I was in grade school, it would have been an affront to my parents, because we were all pretty good students. If any of the three of us had brought home C's in elementary school it would have been intentional. Not because we were struggling.

In middle/high school it was similar, though there might have been a class or two that was more challenging for my one brother, and he might have had to actually WORK to bring home a B or an A, but even then, C's were not acceptable.

For my own kids, Cs were not preferred but were "ok" once in a while, for our son in elementary. He was in private school, and a C was 78-86 if I remember correctly. In most cases, his Cs would have been B's anywhere else. School comes easier for my daughter and SHE would be offended to earn anything less than an A or A+. So a non-issue with her.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't know.
Truthfully, I was capable of so much more than C's.
And I never remember my parents "expecting" anything--or at least they didn't voice their expectations to me. I knew I was to do my best--and for me that was A's with an occasional B here and there.
My son is also (so far) pretty much a straight A student. He's capable of A's right now. He's young--3rd grade.
I do tell him that someday, some grade, some subject, he might experience a subject that might not come as easily as things are coming for him right now. He's capable (right now) of straight A's with very little effort.
On the odd occasion, he has received a B or a C on a quiz or exam, but never below a B for a quarterly grade.
I just encourage him to do his best. We don't stress over the number/letter grade label too much.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Not in our house but it depends on the kid, the subject and other circumstances. Are the rest of the grades As? Did the child try their very best? How do they feel about the grade and school in general?
An occasional C here and there is not the end of the world but if it's a case of not working to potentional then I would nip it in the bud as soon as possible.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I think a C is okay if the other grades reflect any sort of difference.

The reason I say this:

I had problems with math all my life. From 3rd grade on I had C's and D's in math. No matter how much I was beaten or grounded I could not make any higher in math.

I can honestly say any time I am given any sort of a higher math problem to solve I freeze up and my brain turns to jello because I hate math so much. It made me feel stupid and worthless all my growing up years. I hate math.

I am near perfect in testing in basic math by the way. In any testing that is basic math like adding, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, all that...I test out with near perfect scores. So I am not dumb in math, it's the higher stuff I can't get, I have a glitch when it comes to that stuff.

On my ACT when I was a senior in high school I made 20's in every area except math. My score in math was a 7, yes a 7.

I did some evaluations in college as an adult and got a learning disability "diagnosis" based on my abilities to do math. I could have un-timed tests, open book tests, notes, a calculator, what ever I needed to succeed. They could not logically flunk me in any math class I was required to take.

So my point is, they may have some sort of glitch in this area and it's not diagnosed. It could be that the light bulb just has not come on yet too. Some areas of the brain take longer to wire up and turn on. One day that light bulb may come on and that particular subject is easy and the grades go up.

I think if there is a drastic difference in their grades then it might be a good idea to talk to the teachers and find out if they seem to be struggling with the concepts or just hate the subject. Perhaps taking them to an educational evaluation to see if they can find some glitches or possible missing links would be in order. They may need to go to some special tutoring for that particular issue too.

There are many options before just saying they are not doing their best. They may absolutely be doing their best and learning they are stupid and worthless in the mean time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

I always thought C work wasn't a good thing either. Recently I read a Love and Logic book in which the author made an interesting point. He said the kids should "own" their grades. One point he made, that I had never thought about was, what if, at work, you had someone constantly telling you that your work was average and wasn't good enough. You had to excel at every thing you did at work. Even if you tried, you had to try harder. Every report had to be above average, etc. Would you continue at that job? How long? If you kept a mostly clean house and someone always criticized your effort would it spur you on to do better or would you get irritated? It was interesting to me.

Anyway. Not really an answer, just something to ponder.


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answers from Dallas on

It was not acceptable for my brother and I because my parents knew we were capable of better than Cs. For my own children, my youngest is in 2nd grade, and we expect As from him because he is easily making high As. As the material gets more difficult we may adjust our expectations.

Our oldest is in the 8th grade and is in all pre-AP classes. His classes are very difficult. I teach AP Language in high school, and I know how tough school can be. Our oldest son usually makes As in all of his subjects except pre-AP Algebra, but occasionally makes high Bs. I am not happy when he makes Bs in English or Spanish because I know he is capable of better, and he NEVER studies those subjects at home. In math, he makes Bs and occasionally Cs, and we are fine with it because he studies all the time and goes to tutoring before and after school. Algebra is tough for him, but he is putting in tons of effort. For us, our expectations are tied to effort and ability.

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answers from Dallas on

When I was growing up a C was acceptable to pass a class; however, we were advised to study and bring home A's and B's.

Now if I were using grades as a reward (I am for my oldest). I tell them they have to stay on the honor roll the entire semester for me to take them to Hawaii/Europe/wherever. (or A's/B's-no C's). If they want something higher, then we strive for the principles list which is no grade lower than a 92 in all subjects. It's achievable they just have to want it bad enough to apply themselves. We had them do this in order to get the new ipod for Christmas. One had to stay on the principles list and the other the honor roll. Ofcourse we're talking 2 different personalities here and so we adjusted the scale based on that, but no C's would qualify in any group.

I hope they achieve their goal. Mine were very excited and asked each week for me to check their grades on the schools website.

My two oldest have decided they want to play soccer/volleyball for TCU (after watching the girls soccer team), so I told them they need to "BRING IT". Mommy would be glad for them to be close, but academically they've got to stay on their game.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I feel it depends on the child. I have three kids: 22, 21, and 8. For my oldest getting a "B" was a HUGE achievement. Things just did not come easily to her. My 21 year old was a kid that never cracked a book and could make an "A" standing on his head the same thing with my 8 year old. So, with that being said, for my oldest as long as we knew she was really trying a "C" was acceptable but meant there needed to be more work in the future. For the other two...a "B" means they are goofing off in class or not turning in work.

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answers from Boston on

Not for me, but it was for some of my siblings. I was capable of all A grades and put a lot of pressure on myself to get them. To me, personally, a B was unacceptable. My parents didn't care though and for a couple of my brothers for whom school wasn't as easy, C grades were fine (D's and F's were not).

We have different expectations for our kids based on their abilities. We expect my SD to get at least honor roll (A's and B's) and really, she should be disappointed with that because she can and should be getting high honors (all A grades). A C for her is unacceptable and we track her grades and let her know that when she slips, she needs to get back on track.

For my oldest son, most report cards have included some C's and even a few D's but he struggles in school. He did make honor roll for the first time last quarter and it was a big deal. SD also made it so of course we celebrated both of them but really for him, this was a minor miracle. Our incentives are pretty small scale though - for last quarter, we went out to dinner as a family and I let my son get a silly t-shirt that he had been wanting for a while. For this quarter, if they both hit honor roll again my husband will give them a driving lesson (they're both 14).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Not in grade school or in high school. Accor ing to my father anyone can be average "C" he expected us to be above average. And when we were not, we paid the price! I remember my brother being taken off the school baseball team because he did not have a B average.

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answers from Detroit on

C is a passing grade. I think it's acceptable (as long as they tried their best) but not rewardable.

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answers from Chicago on

Depends on the particular school's grading school. What percentage constitutes a C? Anything under 80% at my school would not have been been ok with me (my parents didn't really care what our grades were, as long as we were doing our work & behaving in class).

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answers from San Francisco on

No, a C was not acceptable when I was growing up. It would have been unthinkable. I never even had a B until college.

Both of my daughters know that bringing home a C in any subject would land them in very hot water. To be quite honest, they know they have some explaining to do if they bring home a B, even. However - this is because they go to public school, which is hardly challenging, and they are both very bright girls. If they went to a more challenging school and I know they had truly been working hard, a B could be acceptable. But never a C. I would flip my lid over that.

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answers from New York on

I don't remember ever getting in trouble for grades. I was not top of the class and I definitely didn't put in the effort to match my potential, but I think my mother felt that as long as we passed ... it's not like she was expecting us to go to college.
As for my own kids, I don't set specific rules. Not everyone is capable of straight A's. I set my expectations based on their individual abilities and if I feel they aren't putting their best effort in, then there's trouble. I have one who is capable of higher grades than the other.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

I got one C+ in 9th grade Geometry and it wasn't pretty! I remember this report card so clearly: A+, A, B+, A, C+, A, I was still in trouble.

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answers from Dallas on

Absolutely not. I'm pretty sure the world would have ended :)

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answers from Chicago on

A "C" a "C" are you kidding me, no bringing home a "C" was not acceptable. I got a "D" once and I thought my entire life was OVER! Now, I was also rewarded a "paycheck" by my father (divorced) for my grades so doing well was important - that was my spending money before I could get a job and when babysitting was not as lucrative of a business for a teenager. Now, I had told my mom I was struggleing in the class, the teacher was not a very invested teacher, the subject was not a favorite of mine and I was annoyed and bored. I asked for help and got it, but not in time to bring my grade up. Even with that I managed to graduate with a 3.75 gpa - no AP classes, but I did take up an optional 7th period 3/4yrs of highschool. However, no life was NOT good when/if less than a "B" was brought home.

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answers from Columbus on

When I was in school, any grade seemed acceptable!! At least to me!! lol!! But seriously, I don't remember my parents ever pushing me to get really good grades. I know I got C's and it never bothered them. But it did start to bother me when I was in high school. I pushed myself to do better and was determined to get on the honor roll - which I did my last two years.

For my kids, all I have ever requested is they do their best! They're both in high school now and they've always pushed themselves to get A's and B's. I've never had to resort to rewarding them for good grades; they know getting the Awards at school and possibly scholarships, etc. in the future is reward enough.

Good luck!!

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answers from Charlotte on

Well, I don't actually know the answer to that, Mama. I worked so hard in school (I was one of those "pleasers") that I made mostly A's. Then in high school, higher level math threw me for a loop and all of a sudden I had low grades for the first time. I cried my eyes out looking at bad test grades - the boy sitting in front of me would tell me funny jokes until I stopped crying. Poor teacher - I'm sure the girl in the 2nd row weeping was no fun for him, though he REALLY was a poor teacher. He wrote all over the board, and not from one side to the other, but here and there and everywhere. My dad offered me a big "bonus", thinking I just needed an incentive. He had never done that with me before for anything. I told him that a bonus wouldn't help - what I really needed was a tutor. THAT helped.

As a mom, what I expected from my kids was to do what they were capable of. One of my kids is capable of more, and I know that. I want them to WANT to do the work. School is a ton harder today than it was when I was younger - kids are doing math 'word problems' at younger ages now. I never saw one until I was in 9th grade long ago.

We pick where we live by the quality of the schools, so by the time my kids were in high school, the level of their classes is like going to a junior college. Those honors and AP classes are hard, and yes, I do see C's. Thankfully they get an extra point for those classes. Some kids don't want to take the hard classes because they want the easy A's. The point in taking these harder courses is to be more ready for college level courses, especially if your child is going to a major university. That way college work is not so shockingly harder from high school work.

I guess I look at it that kids need to internalize doing well. If they only do it for a bonus, or to make everyone else in their lives happy, they can totally fall on their face once they are on their own. As parents of a college age child now, I think the most important thing is for our kids to make good enough grades to be successful in college, which means making a GPA high enough to keep the scholarship he has, get credit for courses in one's major (usually a 2.0), and ultimately graduate. So far, so good, and my college son hasn't yet had a C, which tells me that he IS internalizing doing well. Things like being on the Dean's List and other accolades are icing on the cake and look good on a college graduate's resume.


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answers from Washington DC on

yes, I actually mostly got B's and C's. C's are average and my mom used to tell me, as long as I did the best I can, then she doesn't care what grade I got. I will tell my kids the same thing. My daughter is only in 1st grade, and they use the number grades (1-5) and so far she has all 5's. I'm hoping to keep it that way (she LOVES school), but if she ever gets a C, I won't be mad or upset or even freak out on her. It's average



answers from Dallas on

A C in grade school was not acceptable. A C in high school calculus when you don't excel in Math....could be if you had done everything possible to get a higher grade (tutoring, meetings with teacher, etc) Getting a C in grade school is one step above failure in the school district I was in. Anything under a 70 ended in No Pass No Play for Texas so just accepting a C did not swing it in my family. B's were great if you really tried your best but you had to prove that you really tried. A's were fantastic!

If there a reason that a C is worthy of a reward. Is this a particularly difficult subject, have they tried after school tutoring? Are they doing everything needed to attempt to increase their grades and all they end up in are C's? If so then a C maybe worthy of a reward. If they aren't trying and end in a C then I don't think that is worthy of any reward much less a vacation. It is just teaching them that they don't need to apply themselves.


answers from Norfolk on

C as an over all grade average was not acceptable in our house growing up.
It's not acceptable in our house now.
It's one thing to have an off day and get a C on a quiz every once in awhile.
Like once a quarter.
Some extra study and some extra credit can overcome that.
If it's happening every week, it's not just an off day.
If keeping the grades up is a problem, meet with the teacher, find out what the problem is and take steps to correct it.
If there's more than one problem, do your best to solve them one at a time, but keep knocking them down.
Incentives are nice, but they don't help if the problem hasn't been identified/corrected.
Where I grew up, a local amusement park gave out tickets based on how many A's and B's you got at the end of the school year (it was a ticket per ride type of park).
You could have a pretty good day at the park and save a lot of money if you could keep those straight A's up.



answers from Washington DC on

I was reamed once for bringing home a B+ Mom said the only reason I got the B+ and not the A- was because I did not pay attention or was giving the teacher attitude.
My dad told me in 2nd grade "When you take Calculus in high school......"
THey were both teachers and cared very much about the grade, plus my teachers were their best friends.


answers from Dallas on

We do not expect our 17 yr old to have all A's because at some point and time, there will be a class that tests you but for the most part... yes we look down on C's because we know her potential. We do not put pressure on her to have all A's.... we just ask her to do the best she possibly can.

We are fortunate... she has never really had to study much to maintain a 4.0 even with AP and Honors. She is very driven (like us) and is striving to go to a great college. College is not an option in her mind, it is the next step in her life. She puts pressure on herself with grades, community service, extra curricular activity.

I think some people will "settle" and if you "settle" for less than your potential then you are missing out. Some children have C's and it is the best they can do. I just believe children should be supported to be the best they can be.

I did have a couple of C's in college and in High School but I maintained my grades high enough to have an academic scholarship all 4 years of college.

Anything below 70 here is failing. A C would probably be 75-79.

I do not think there is anything wrong with your incentive. Some people thrive on a specific goal and if that trip gives them the extra Umh to do better, then hats off to you!! You are only trying to help them meet their potential (because you know they have the potential).

I look at this like I look at a sales rep/employee... many companies will offer incentives for higher sales numbers, higher profit, etc.. Most will strive to make that extra bonus, trip or whatever the motivator is... You are basically doing the same thing. We do this with our business.... I offer $$ bonuses to people who get our trucks loaded on time and gets the trucker on the road safely. I do the same with truckers... make the timely delivery safely and there is $$ waiting on you.

Good luck

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