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Sunday, October 16, 2016

NEVER GOT AN A

NEVER GOT AN A
This cranky re-run is from October 2011

My thirteen year old son’s last report card had three A’s and two B’s.  Of course I am very proud.  I am also perplexed. Spence is in eight grade and already he has three A’s.  From eight grade through high school and then four years of college, except for health and phys-ed, I never got an A.

I am not bragging that I never got an A, I am just confused. What has happened to our system that an A is now commonplace.  Spencer is pretty bright; maybe he deserves the A’s, maybe.  Maybe from all the proud parent of an honor roll student bumper stickers I see, maybe our grading system has been watered down.

In my day (this phrase is the first sign of the onslaught of becoming an old fart) teachers would never give more than ten percent of their class an A.  They would also give ten percent of their class a D or less.  I think today’s teachers just do not want to argue with today’s parents.

Today’s parents, parents that played Beethoven to the womb, bought the “My Baby Can Read” program nonsense, only show educational DVD’s on TV and have had tutors for their little geniuses since age four, will not accept that their child might just be average.  

It used to be the teacher is always right, now it is give them an A or prepare to fight.

If only when these children are adults, their employers are as nice as their teachers.  “Give me a raise, or my mommy will come in and yell at you!”

I did have one eight-grade teacher, in my day, who was too “nice” to give a bad grade.  I had failed two tests in this class and had a 60, or F average.  I was acting up in class one day and she threatened me, “Young man, if you don’t behave I will give you a D for the day.”  Wise-ass me answered, “A D? That will raise my average.”  (Sorry, I like that story and had to find somewhere to slip it into my blog.)

I’m glad I never got an A.  I never deserved an A, and had to work pretty hard for a B.  I got a bunch of B’s, maybe more than C’s, and I was proud of them.  It feels good to earn something, even if it is not the gold ring.  

I hope Spencer earned his A’s and feels good about them. Maybe he is just in a really smart class.  He must be, because in his class of twenty-two, fifteen received A’s.   

19 comments:

  1. Spencer has more than likely earned the 'A's. I'm an older fart than you and I would have had straight 'A's if it weren't for that bleep gym class. Kids are all different, I had a daughter struggle in school and she was upset because her brother "didn't even have homework" and he got 'A's. She was quite put out and worked her bleep off to get 'B's and 'C's.

    Be happy.

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  2. I never worked hard in school and no one was more surprised than me when I got an A in Math twice in one year, at end of term exams. I often had As in English as I found it fun and I did like Math too, but was usually beaten by Mark for the A.

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  3. I earned nothing at school, but then there was nothing to claim. It was years later before I heard of A's and other earned qualifications. I think I'm kind of glad!

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  4. I didn't get many A's either Joe (and probably didn't deserve to) but Miss Mac got 3 A's and an A* as well as a bunch of B's in her GCSE's - I really don't know, she is IS bright and she certainly worked hard but I don't ever remember people getting such good grades when I was at school, even the really clever ones. I can't call it and that's why I'm sceptical of the whole system. I've always believed that continual assessment was a far greater indicator of ability.

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  5. i got lots of As. almost always. and i graduated 35 years ago. i was valedictorian w/ a 3.96 gpa or something like that. these days, valedictorians have gpas of 5.something. so much extra credit, college credit, advanced credit, etc. etc. yikes!

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  6. Less than an A was not acceptable from me when i was growing up. My brothers got away with Bs and Cs. Was i an A student or was i busting it because of fear? Probably the latter.

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  7. I got A's all through public school and it was NOT because I earned them. We found that our pretty quickly once I started high school.

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  8. I got mostly A's but found locale played a big part in how I got them. In the South--where I spent half my school years--all I had to do was show up. In the North, I had 4 study halls a day and needed them all. Today's kids have such a huge advantage via electronics. No boring hours spent in the library. Just a few key strokes and anything they need to know is right there.

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  9. I always told my kids to do their very best, and if that turned out to be a B or even a C, I could live with that. But if I felt they were slacking and accepted a B or C when they could have done better, then it was time to start scaling back their "quality of life". Myself, I was a solid B student. Meh.

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  10. I didn't do all that well in school. When I went to college it was a different story. I earned my BS in Business Management and my GPA was 3.96. I was very proud of that and I earned it too, by lots of hard work.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  11. My daughter sailed through school with straight A's. Her younger brothers had to work hard for their grades. It was hard on them!!

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  12. There has always been teachers who give out easy A's . . . And the smart kids are the ones who figure out who those are!

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  13. I received few "A's" and those were usually in art or history. I was a dunce at math and science.

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  14. An easy A. I got quite a few of those in elementary and high school but I found they (or I) were/was sadly lacking when I got to college.

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  15. Hi Cranky,

    I got a few A's, a few B's and the odd C but never failed. But like you say, not everybody gets an A. The reason is that generally examiners (particularly at big exams like A levels and degree level) grade people based on the Poisson Distribution (if I recall my Stats from around 35 years ago). So you are correct in that only a certain number will get A's with the bulk getting less than that.

    My A's were in what people might call the toughies - Maths (NOTE The "S" at end of Maths, America :-) ), Physics and Chemistry, which is why I am cursed working in IT as a Geek (or Nerd as you Americans call them).

    At a normal teaching level, I don't they used the Poisson Distribution (as your average teacher probably doesn't even know what it is).

    ;o)

    Cheers

    PM

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  16. These days kids can order teacher editions for their textbooks from Amazon. Shows up especially in math, when they get all the answers right on the homework, but can't pass a test. Or can't show the steps involved in getting the answer.

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  17. Schools there must have had a cavalier attitude toward discipline because if I'd said something like that to a teacher, I'd probably have taken my teeth home in my lunch kit and when I got home, my mama would have gotten rough :)
    Actually, I don't think grading on the Bell Curve was a good way to educate kids. You set the bar and if kids reach it, they get an A. If they fall short, they get something less. Nothing is gained by grading on a curve.
    R

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  18. I got a lot of A's over 40 years ago when I was in high school and then the preceding years of elementary school, etc. I was gifted in the ability to be a quick learner and a quick test taker. I would finish my test within 10 minutes of getting it and then try to look busy for another 10 minutes before turning it in to do something extra curricular and usually aced the test. I studied and did what was expected and got the A's. Maybe it was easy grading. My mom told me a story when she was in high school in English the teacher had a question the students had to answer daily. She did the best she could to answer it and only got "C's." She asked her friend, who got "A's" how she did it. The friend said "the teacher doesn't read what you write" (they turned in notebooks daily). She said "she just looks at how much you write on the page. If you write a full page, you'll get an "A." My mom did the same thing, jibberish mainly for a full page and got A's. And she graduated in 1940.

    betty

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  19. I was a mediocre student in high school (or so I thought). Fast forward 15 years and I found myself in college in the U.S. I ended up with all A's. In some classes I had to bust my butt, but Math and English was like a repeat of high school.

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