Thursday, November 05, 2009

Missing the Mark

The first marking period has now come and gone. Report cards have been distributed, and students' abilities, interests, and efforts are now coming into focus for many parents. For those students who are new to high school, the sorting now begins.

I have some of the best averages ever for students in Latin I and Latin II. Their scores are solid and the results of their preparation is obvious. I even have one student whose work is practically impeccable. I didn't realize it until today, but she has scored a 100 (or better) on every single assignment. Wow! She makes me proud.

What is disturbing, though, are those students who receive a printout of their grades and they are surprised or upset that their averages are so low. When questioned as to why they received a 21 on the test or a 45 on the quiz, they readily admit that they did not study. More than once. Often. They don't write down their assignments. They don't take their books home. They don't study for their quizzes. They don't prepare their translations. Why, then, do they think that they should receive a higher grade? In what class are they receiving good grades for next to no effort?

After every marking period, I announce to my students, "If you're happy with your grade, keep on doing what you're doing. If you're not happy with your grade, you need to make some adjustments." Sometimes there are adjustments, and sometimes they continue to be shocked.

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