Public Schools and Grading Rubric?

Updated on November 10, 2018
M.J. asks from Cedar Park, TX
9 answers

Hey everyone,
I have a 13 yr old daughter who I have been trying to teach consistency and good study habits for the last few years. However, she doesn't feel she needs to work as hard as I am explaining to her because her teachers GIVE AWAY "A" grades. I have tried to stress the importance of being a good student and it seems to only go in one ear and out the other. I gave her space this last grading period to let her take control of her own grades being that she is getting older, but that only backfired. She is missing and/or failing 36 assignments between all of her classes, but somehow she still has straight A's. And they are all high A's too! I have upcoming parent teacher conferences with her teachers to hear their explanations. Am I crazy or is something not right here? Is anyone else experiencing interesting grading rubrics from their children's schools. If this is how it is in High School as well, How are colleges selecting students accurately? and is the Honor Roll significant anymore?
Thanks everyone,
Love Concerned M.

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So What Happened?

I think I and my intentions have been misunderstood. Of course I am on my daughters side that goes without saying. I want the best for her and her education by assuring she is learning and not being rewarded for no effort. I know the weight of each assignment and I understand teachers efforts and appreciate them.After talking with my daughter she has informed me that those 0 and missings are correct and she is not sure why she has all A's. I asked this question to see if there was anyone else that had this concern as a Mother like I do. Not to be criticized for my concern. Thank you for your feedback. I can see this is something me and my daughter will just have to work through with the teachers and the district.

More Answers


answers from San Francisco on

Well it depends on the teacher. Maybe the missing assignments aren't weighted as much and your daughter is being graded on how well she performs on tests, quizzes and in class essays. I bet the parents whose kids have turned in every assignment but don't test well are complaining just like you.
You can get clarification at the conference but the teachers usually post their grading rubrics online at the beginning of the school year. If you can see your daughter's grades and assignments can't you see the rubric too?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

By all means, talk to the teachers and ask how they use the app, and if your understanding of the missed assignments is accurate. I do not recommend going back to micromanaging your daughter. It is completely appropriate for her to be in charge of her own deadlines. You can set up rewards/consequences for meeting/missing those deadlines (earn something for meeting all deadlines in a week or losing something for missing deadlines). But don't micromanage when/how she does it. It's great for her to learn that on her own.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Most schools provide on-line information to Parents - are you looking at that to determine the missing assignments or how exactly do you know? On our website, it shows exactly the "value" of homework assignments. Some teachers value homework high and some do not. Find out what the value of her homework is.

It isn't "giving away" A's if the homework has no value.

By the way, you, as a parent, have all kinds of power to provide your child with a consequence for missing assignments - don't expect the school to do your parenting job for you. If you believe that good study habits are created by the timely turning in of homework than YOU need to create a home consequence for it. Ours was if any assignment for the week was missing by the end of the day on Friday, they had no weekend privileges and privileges were not restored the next week until the missing assignments were turned in. I didn't care what the school thought about homework "value," I cared about what value I placed on my child being instructed to do a job and then his or her failure to do it.

Much of what is wrong with parents today is that they expect the schools to do literally everything for their children and don't put any work into their child's education themselves.

No, I am not a teacher.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Somehow the missing assignments do not impact her As. That's not "giving away" As, that's just the teacher's calculation system of the points value of assignments.

I will suggest to you that your daughter is extremely SMART - she is using the system to her advantage!!!! She is not wasting time and energy doing 36 silly assignments when she already has the A grade anyway. It is better for her to use that time getting a good night sleep!

Beyond that, though, feel free to set your own consequences at home. Look at the "silly assignment", and if you as the parent do not think it is "silly", just tell your daughter that she has to do it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

sometimes i think the new apps that let parents hover over every minute of their kids' school experience are a terrible idea. i'm glad i wasn't aware each and every time an assignment got turned in half an hour late.

if your kid is getting straight As, something is going right.

what does her teacher say?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

How do you know she is failing or missing assignments? Do you find them lying around the house? Did you get a progress report from the teachers saying "Missing 36 assignments" or are you tracking things on line. If the latter, do you have any idea how hard teachers work to do lesson plans and provide engaging lessons, and therefore might not have time to update every single kid's record showing whether they turned in each worksheet? Do you know what weight each teacher gives each assignment, vs. how they weight tests, class participation/discussion, and other factors? That's a question for the parent-teacher conference. Another question is, what is the purpose of homework? Is it busy work just to give each kid the exact same practice opportunities, and to give teachers more to do? Or is it to give some kids the opportunity to solidify their skills using different types of assignments? When I was teaching, I gave kids a lot of ways to succeed, and while I didn't want them to totally blow off every homework assignment, I had a number of strategies to help kids manage without every one (depending on their abilities on that particular task or unit). Perhaps your daughter's teachers know what they are doing? But you are entitled to ask whether her assignments are truly lacking (verify the 36 as an accurate count) and ask their recommendation on how hard you should push vs. letting natural consequences occur.

You let go this past grading period - which is basically September and October, right? So if she got straight As, how did this backfire and how is she failing. I think you had the right idea - to give her more control over her own work. But I wonder if you just did it to prove her wrong and show that you know the best way for a kid to be a good student? Maybe she rebelled and is trying to teach you a lesson. That's pretty common in adolescence in school and in other areas - the harder you push, the harder they push back. She will never learn life skills or how to advocate for herself if you ride herd on her all the time. She's 13. What's the worst that could happen if she got docked some points or had to stay after school for detention or extra help? She'll learn!

Colleges do NOT choose students solely based on grade point average! They want well-rounded kids with a wide variety of skills. And they also want students who can manage their own workload. They want independent and self-assured kids who can make all kinds of decisions (academic, social, and more) when there are no parents to supervise anything. The kids they don't want are those who are driven by parents to get everything done - and they don't want those parents calling all the time either! (I saw plenty of parents at college freshman orientation who were shocked when the provost and dean both said that the parenting was done, and it was time to back off and let the kids soar!)

There are many wonderful colleges, and there's a school for every kid. They look at grades, yes. But they really don't care about the first marking period, or the third, when a kid was 13. They just don't. They look at recommendations from teachers. They look at activities and leadership skills. They look at community involvement and social responsibility. There is no magic combination of clubs or sports or jobs that create the ideal student - there are lots of options and I suggest you start letting your child do a few things that interest her. Don't micromanage that. She also needs down time and social time with friends. Let her experiment. She's 13. My son didn't find his passion until midway through 9th grade - for him, it was track & field. He loved it, devoted himself to it, and learned a lot by being mentored and then mentoring others. He had a bunch of other activities, nothing as time consuming but enough to give him a wide range of interests and experiences that told the colleges he'd mesh well with challenges, different experiences and a wide range of students with various backgrounds and interests. He was accepted by some colleges that his higher-achieving, study-all-the-time, take-all-AP-classes friends did not. In fact, our neighbor had a miserable high school career with few activities and zero fun because he was "AP-all-the-way" for 4 years and as a result had book smarts and no social skills. He really struggled.

And how do colleges judge grades if they are "given away"? There are so many ways. One is by using standardizes tests (either the SAT or ACT - some kids excel in one and not the other). Those tests include reasoning skills, not just regurgitation of facts. Another way is that they know the individual high schools. They really do. They track prior students and believe me, if a particular district was turning out a high percentage of incompetent or ill-prepared students, there would be fewer acceptances. I'm sure your district prints a list of what schools the graduates get into - if it's a short list of low-end schools, then you might have a problem. But my guess is, that's not happening. When your daughter is in 10h and 11th grade, there will be parent/college nights to help you understand all this.

For now, I'd have some confidence in your child, keep her occupied with friends and activities so it's not all video games and isolation, but give her down time and a chance to learn to manage her own life and time. Let natural consequences start to rule the day. Otherwise, you and your daughter will be miserable until she's 18, she'll learn nothing without you standing over her, and you'll drive her away from you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If this is middle school you really need to just let your daughter handle her homework.
For some teachers not all homework counts towards grades - so doing it really is just practice.
Other teachers will just do a notebook check every once in awhile.

You went through school, did your work, etc - now is your daughters time to figure it out.
Some kids really flounder a bit in middle school but it's better they do it now than in high school.
All you do is - if the grades are suffering - you take away extracurricular activities until the grades get better again.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I can't say that my son's middle or high school was/is that way. There were classes though where homework wasn't a huge part (10% or so) of the final grade. Usually projects counted for more. But with an average of 5 failing assignments in each class he probably still wouldn't have an A. But we could always tell exactly what weight each category held. If it's not on the student grade portal ask the teachers how they grade.
I will be honest that it would bother me too that I didn't feel that A's were being earned but handed out. At that level I would also question the validity of the honor roll. Is she in GT classes? My son was in GT in middle school and now AP in HS and in middle school they did grade GT easier. Kinda like they knew the kids mastered the material just didn't pay attention to details, maybe? But still they weren't as easy going as your school sounds.
From what I understand about the colleges though, they have their own algorithm about selecting students. They have a way of knowing how schools grade and which schools grade "easy" vs schools that grade "hard". I've heard they also figure how students from each HS school fair at that university on the college level and they can tell by previous students performance in college how well that HS prepares them. For example students from a certain HS may have pulled all A's in HS but in college the average kid from that HS is barely making C's so from history they can see that an A from that school is a B at other schools.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Wow, you got some harsh responses. I totally understand your question. Basically you are wondering how in the world any kid can have straight A's with 36 missing or failing grades. Am I right? I would wonder the same thing. My son is in a private school, and this wouldn't fly, even if the missing work was not weighted heavily. 5 or 6 F' s, on average, per class would definitely bring down his grades. It would be difficult to teach responsibility and accountability if a child is rewarded with good grades with a bunch of missing work. I hope you get to the bottom of it.

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