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Avatar universal

Help! Advice needed.

This is a parent teacher "relationship" question.

My DS's grade dropped after the final exam.  He maintained an A all year but after the final received a B+ (he missed the A by less than a point).  I contacted the teacher to ask for her to double check DS's work.  She would not do this and said the grade was final.

In discussing with my DS, I find out the teacher did several things out of normal and the final could not be studied for.  I am at a total loss.

I don't feel this is right when it had such an impact and I feel her refusal to review his grades is unfair.  I also feel that she failed to do review and giving them a test they could not prepare for is unfair.

She will not budge.  I feel more strongly about it somewhat because of her refusal to discuss.

What would you do, if anything?
40 Responses
3149845 tn?1506631371
Hi, make an appointment with the Principle but maybe investigate this more. Start with the things out of normal. Dont just take your childs word but read exactly what was asked in  the test question and what was studied in the course of the year. Have your ducks in a row and be factual.
Avatar universal
Talk with principle or nothing. His B+ is not going to be a matter of life or death.
13167 tn?1327197724
Well,  at this point your only choice is going to the principal.

Does your son feel as strongly as you do?  You don't say what age he is,  but I think he should be the one doing the following up.  

I made this mistake with my own kids,  and helicoptered them to death.  If he doesn't learn the skill of standing up for himself now,  he will have to learn in double time with more difficult things to tackle than this.

Best wishes.
973741 tn?1342346373
COMMUNITY LEADER
I agree to go to the principal but if the same standard is applied to all students, there probably isn't much you can do.  This is real world.  Say he was a sales rep and he worked his butt off and was doing really well and then a customer changed course and he didn't hit his sales goal.  Should the company then say that it's okay, you were close enough?  Real life often involves things out of your OR mom's control.  His grade must have been vulnerable enough that if he didn't do well on the exam, he'd get a B+.  All kids took the same exam under the same parameters, right?  So,  I am not really sure if a complaint is warranted or not.  

There are life lessons at this moment. One is that we are responsible for ourselves and the outcome of things like tests----  and if you intervene, you really mess up the lesson.  

If the teacher thought there was a possibility that she made an error, I'm sure she'd have let you know.  But she also probably has a class load of students and every parent that is disappointed in their child's grade might make it hard to cater to one.  

that's just my opinion.  If something unfair happened like he has different standards than everyone else, then definitely there is an issue.  But just that she gave a test that she expected kids to be able to be prepared for by being in her class and taking whatever notes or applying whatever was taught in that class verses learning it from a book, probably isn't grounds to have the test re evaluated.  

good luck

(PS: I do realize how frustrating it is in this grade driven time period in education and that if you are on track for a certain gpa and to have it derailed at the last minute, it stinks!)
480448 tn?1426952138
Ditto all of the above advice!

It sounds like perhaps there is more of a PERCEPTION that this is the teacher's fault than is probably the reality of it.  Most teachers wouldn't hold their ground like that unless they were sure that the test was fair, and the kids were prepared.

It's also usually very easy for a teacher to recognize when something was amiss with a test....by looking at ALL of the grades.  If almost every student BOMBED the test (or certain questions were missed by close to the entire class), then there may be more to look into.

I think you may have an opportunity to teach your son with this experience....  that the real world is often unforgiving, and not always "fair".  Even IF the teacher is somewhat in the wrong here, unless there was something blatant, she's the authoritarian who is giving out those grades.  Not every grade is fair, and not every grade was fairly earned...you know?  Like, kids getting an A when maybe they should have had a C at best, so it kind of comes out in the wash IMO.

MORE importantly, I would worry a little bit if your son is taking a B+ SO hard that it's affecting him AND you to the point where you're considering taking this further.  I GET that a straight A student wouldn't be happy with anything less than an A, but that's not a good way to go through life.  

Children have to be able to cope with disappointments, and accept that they won't always be "perfect", and that CERTAINLY a B+ is still wonderful!    If a child goes through life being devastated about getting a B+ versus an A, they are going to be set up to NOT accept disappointments in life....because as much as we'd all like it to be the case, not everything in life is fair...there will be unfair tests, unfair teachers, coaches, bosses....

So.....to end my rambling (lol), even IF you feel that the teacher is wrong, maybe it would be more valuable for you to use this as a learning experience for your son?  It's probably not an easy decision to make...if it were ME, I wouldn't go to the principal over a B+, even if I felt something wasn't quite right.  

(I lied, I'm not QUITE done rambling....lol...)

I'll give you an example of one thing I DID go to the principal about, that was kind of a tough call for me.  When my son was in FIRST Grade, he got an "N" in gym class the one nine week grading period, which means "needs improvement"....they get graded with O (outstanding), S (satisfactory), N (needs improvement) or U (unsatisfactory) for their ancillary classes, like gym, library and art.  My son had always gotten an O in gym class...he loves gym!  So, I was a little perturbed!  

Now, I kept saying to myself...."self, it's GYM class, who CARES!?!".  So, I figured I'd e-mail the PE teacher and ASK why the drastic drop?  I was hoping to end it there, like by her telling me my son ATE the rope instead of climbing it, or something obvious like that.    

She proceeds to tell me that almost ALL of the K and 1st graders got an N, as the kids are scored on various factors, and they all scored poorly on "listening" and "following directions".  Ummm, they're 5 and 6!  So, I talked to my son's teacher, and here, I found out that indeed, almost every kid got an N or a U in gym, it was unheard of, and actually, the primary teachers were not happy about it.  I guess they had tried to talk with her about it, and didn't get very far. The PE teacher admitted that ALL of the kids, K-5 were evaluated using the same exact scale.  Made no sense....to anyone but her apparently.  Keep in mind, the PE teacher is VERY young, right out of school, so probably a bit naive and a little less seasoned than some of the other teachers.

So, my son's teacher encouraged me to contact the principal, as obviously, the PE teacher was using unreasonable parameters to grade the younger kids.  (Looking back, the teachers were probably so glad I opened my mouth...they sent me in to do what THEY didn't want to do!  LOL)  

SO, I contacted the principal, she investigated it, and the gym teacher was actually made to change the entire scoring system for grading, based on what grade the kids were in.  There had to be different parameters, and the things that a younger child would obviously naturally struggle with (i.e. attention span) was not scored heavily.  My husband and I laughed that they should have named the scale after me.  ;0)

So, while that example may not be exactly like YOUR situation, hopefully it illustrates for you what I went through in trying to determine how far to take it.  In the grande scheme of things, the "N" in gym class wasn't a HUGE deal, but what WAS a bigger deal was that the current grading system they were using at the time was inappropriate.  It wasn't easy, I was uncomfortable about making a big deal out of a gym grade, and had it turned out to only have been my son, I would have dropped it.  I'm glad however, that I DID pursue it, otherwise, ALL of the younger kids would never get anything better than an "N" in gym, until they got older.

You'd have to determine if the teacher was as "wrong" as you think she is...and if it's something worthy of going over her head about.  Also, the reality of the situation is that sometimes, if a parent makes waves, the child ends up paying the price for it in the end.  It shouldn't be that way, but it often is.  Keep that in mind as well.

How old is your son btw?  What grade is he in?

Good luck with your decision, let us know how it goes either way!
Avatar universal
It was a final exam worth 10% of the total grade.  The teacher told the students that they could not study for it and she did no review with DS's class.  I cannot speak to the other classes.

I don't think it is fair to ANY student to give such an impactful exam that cannot be studied for.  It is also a different format than any given test throughout the school year.

I normally let my kids handle these things but DS would not because he said the teacher would not change the grade and she scared him.

I made a simple review request and was told no.  

Ultimately, the grade doesn't matter but I feel like the lesson here is to expect respect and I feel the teacher intimidates the students (w/o going into whole history, I've had two other kids have this teacher and have had many parents complain) and feel that it is now important to show my kids that it's okay to stand up when you believe an injustice has occurred.

We've let other things go when a teacher has been willing to explain the reasoning.  My kids are good kids who don't get into trouble and get mostly As and a few Bs.  We've never demanded a grade but have told them they must try their best.  

We've had our share of lessons and I'm okay to let my kids fail, but also want them to know I will defend them.

Am I off my rocker on this?
Avatar universal
My DS is a junior in high school.  

I have one older and one younger.  I have wrestled with this but ultimately feel the teacher, who didn't follow some school rules, was not even willing to discuss.  I tried but met with deaf ears.

I feel that is unacceptable.
973741 tn?1342346373
COMMUNITY LEADER
I know it is frustrating but do think that you may be off the mark here.  You inquired and she responded.  I guess go to the principal but your allowing your son the credit of having some pride in the grade he EARNED.  Ya know, by the standards she gave the whole class---  WHOLE class and not just your son, he ended up with a B+.  When I was in college, I had a teacher that told us up front that he'd given out a handful of A+'s his whole career.  He said it with pride.  I knew I needed to figure out how I could surprise him.  I never got the A+ but got an A.  The A I am most proud of my entire college career.  

He didn't get an A.  He earned a B.  Because you don't like the standards with which the teacher gave the test----  I'm not sure that warrants an investigation.  Had your son gotten an A would you still be up in arms about it?  

Just thinking out loud here.  
Avatar universal
The problem I have is that he earned an A the entire year.  The last day of school is given a test that he couldn't study for and it dropped his grade to a B+.

When I asked the teacher if she would review because it was less than a point from the A, she said no.

I don't think it's the A or B, but the fact that he maintained one grade for 179 days and on the 180 day lost that grade by less than 1 point because of a test that he could not study for. (Actually a small portion of the test could be studied for and he got a 100, but did much worse on the portion he couldn't prepare for.) It seemed reasonable to ask to double check.

The teacher's reply was very short.  No. She is the final authority.  

It's that unwillingness to discuss that I feel implores me to pursue.  With three kids I've had many opportunity to discuss different issues and nearly every teacher has been willing to talk with me and most, if not all, I've left feeling like I understood where they were coming from,  but then again, they've been willing to hear where I'm coming from.

And just so you don't think I'm nuts and overbearing, it's 3 kids over about 32 combined years of school and about 60-70 teachers and I've maybe spoken to 3 or 4 about anything outside of class or normal p/t conference.  I don't think that's too bad.



973741 tn?1342346373
COMMUNITY LEADER
Well, you are your son's advocate so really, you have to do what you feel is best.  We gave you an outside opinion but when it comes down to it, this is something that you have to ultimately decide what to do.  Does your son want you to pursue it?  
3149845 tn?1506631371
You mention that the students could no study for it. So how can she test for something they never studied. Thats way im advising to be more specific. What was the test question and what did they study for thoughout the year. Its not logical to test for something that was never taught.
13167 tn?1327197724
anonymous_825,  I'm curious about telling the kids they "couldn't" study.  

Certainly,  there are portions of tests that you can't study - for example,  on an SAT you don't know what the prompt is going to be.  You can't prepare for it unless you cheat,  because you don't know they're going to ask.  "What is your greatest accomplishment and why",  "Who do you most admire",  that sort of thing.  You don't want to give any prep time,  you just want to see what the student can do impromptu.  Was the part of the test like that?

I think there is some value in that.  For the other stuff,  he could prepare by reviewing the year's tests and chapter summaries.  

For the most part my kids have had very fair teachers but a few bad apples so I know it can happen.
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