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Old 09-28-2010, 06:06 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,014 posts, read 37,656,456 times
Reputation: 73602

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My 8th-grade son got a great grade on a science test, but at the same time he got a bad grade on a science portfolio, which is basically daily management of all classwork and worksheets in order in a particular binder.

I'd like some suggestions on how to deal with these two grades that he got simultaneously. Even though we said "good job" and praised the good test grade, my son feels cheated, like we did not acknowledge the good grade enough because we then took away his laptop after the portfolio grade.

We feel the bad grade should be punished because it is an "effort" grade. He was given a "midterm" progress report, did badly (like a 55/100 because of missing sheets and stuff out of order). He promised to get back on track and keep up with the daily work but still only got an 80 this time.

How do I properly acknowledge the good work he did studying for the test now that praise seems moot, since he feels like we unfairly punished him by taking away his laptop (access to social media)?
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:15 PM
 
Location: here
24,469 posts, read 28,723,874 times
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you know, my parents used to punish me for getting a C on my report card. They would ground me for an entire quarter. It really didn't help. I think they would have had better results if they stayed on top of me and my school work instead of just asking me about my homework and taking my word for how much I had. My kids are young, so I'm not sure how we'll handle that.
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Canada
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Did you say he got 80/100 after the poor grade of 55/100? Please clarify.
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:20 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,014 posts, read 37,656,456 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalan View Post
Did you say he got 80/100 after the poor grade of 55/100? Please clarify.
Yes, on the "make-up try" the teacher gives them, he got an 80/100 on the portfolio. The most you can get on make-ups is 90/100.
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:57 PM
 
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 34,604,245 times
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But that's not a bad grade. That's a B. He did significantly better on the makeup. Why would you want to punish him for that?

Also, it sounds like your son is academically fine, but organizationally not so fine. Perhaps instead of punishing him for doing badly (or not up to your standards) you could help him learn how to organize better. I think he needs more help, than he needs to be punished. Some people are just really lousy with organization, and punishing them for it only hurts their self-esteem.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:06 PM
 
Location: maryland
3,967 posts, read 5,671,712 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
My 8th-grade son got a great grade on a science test, but at the same time he got a bad grade on a science portfolio, which is basically daily management of all classwork and worksheets in order in a particular binder.

I'd like some suggestions on how to deal with these two grades that he got simultaneously. Even though we said "good job" and praised the good test grade, my son feels cheated, like we did not acknowledge the good grade enough because we then took away his laptop after the portfolio grade.

We feel the bad grade should be punished because it is an "effort" grade. He was given a "midterm" progress report, did badly (like a 55/100 because of missing sheets and stuff out of order). He promised to get back on track and keep up with the daily work but still only got an 80 this time.

How do I properly acknowledge the good work he did studying for the test now that praise seems moot, since he feels like we unfairly punished him by taking away his laptop (access to social media)?

I think that is a bit harsh.....i mean you should have broken even. But in honesty i was like that too...and i assume that the test scores carry more weight then the prganazation?
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,014 posts, read 37,656,456 times
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You're right. The portfolio grade reflects the management of paperwork.
Normally we don't "punish" bad grades. He is a smart kid who tries to rush through work and studying to get to fun. (Who doesn't?)

The punishment aspect came up because, the night before he was turning in the portfolio make-ups (after he had gotten an original grade of 55), he did not seem very concerned about making sure he had all the paperwork organized. He kept blowing us off about it saying he was pretty sure he had all the worksheets, like he was "close enough."

That's when his dad said, OK, if you don't get a 90 on the make-up, you lose your laptop for a week. Then we had to follow through with the consequences at the same time he told us about the good test grade.

I guess I'm wishing we could separate the two grades and really congratulate him on the test grade, while still being able to follow through on our ultimatum.

The first time around when he got "close enough" to an A on the portfolio (which was a 75 even after make-ups), we had no consequences. This time we felt we had to have some kind of consequences to make him get serious.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Denver area
21,134 posts, read 22,102,729 times
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Are you helping him with the organizational skills? I agree that he needs to learn that effort is worthwhile, you can't just skate by on test grades but some people are just not naturally organized. If this is a continual issue, I would figure out how to help him achieve that rather than just a flat-out punishment.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:26 PM
 
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 34,604,245 times
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I really think your focus should be less on the grade he gets for organization, and more on his actual organizational skills. It is a life skill that he'll find incredibly useful once he's done with school. If he is intimidated by a lack of skill, he will underperform and of course get lazy, make excuses, and run away from the responsibility involved in being organized.

If he gets solid practical guidelines on being organized, he might show you, but mostly himself, that he really can do it and that it doesn't take much effort.

An idea for you to accomplish this:
Find out what it is about his organization that is lacking. Put the idea of his being lazy to the side for now (he might be - but often this is a sign of avoidance). What, exactly, is his weakness with regards to organization? Is he using spiral bound notebooks that get messy when you rip pages out of them? If that's the case, you can switch to spiral bounds that have easy-tear perforations. Is he left-handed? Find him some no-smudge leads with a mechanical pencil and quick-drying ink pens. Is he having trouble juggling all those pocket folders? Then get him an accordian-style folder instead, with tabbed folders inside it and each tab marked clearly with subject line.
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,014 posts, read 37,656,456 times
Reputation: 73602
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonChick View Post
I really think your focus should be less on the grade he gets for organization, and more on his actual organizational skills. It is a life skill that he'll find incredibly useful once he's done with school. If he is intimidated by a lack of skill, he will underperform and of course get lazy, make excuses, and run away from the responsibility involved in being organized.

If he gets solid practical guidelines on being organized, he might show you, but mostly himself, that he really can do it and that it doesn't take much effort.

An idea for you to accomplish this:
Find out what it is about his organization that is lacking. Put the idea of his being lazy to the side for now (he might be - but often this is a sign of avoidance). What, exactly, is his weakness with regards to organization? Is he using spiral bound notebooks that get messy when you rip pages out of them? If that's the case, you can switch to spiral bounds that have easy-tear perforations. Is he left-handed? Find him some no-smudge leads with a mechanical pencil and quick-drying ink pens. Is he having trouble juggling all those pocket folders? Then get him an accordian-style folder instead, with tabbed folders inside it and each tab marked clearly with subject line.
I appreciate the ideas. He has always been a self-starter and has had no previous problems with organization. Because he is very smart, this teacher is really challenging him, and I think it may be the first real time. Maybe he doesn't have a good system and no one noticed it until now because he was always able to get by.
This teacher is treating them like high school students, which is what they will be next year. So I am grateful that he is exposing them to this kind of workload. I think a review of my son's organizational system is in order.
The good grade/bad effort thing still bugs me, though.
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