At my school, grades are due to “the office” every two weeks. On the one hand I appreciate the accountability of turning in a landmark to help guide kids, but on the other hand I see it as a real imposition on their success. Our three term grades are given as follows:
the average of…
- Quarter 1
- quarter 2
- quarter 3, and
- quarter 4, and
- The term final exam.
So no matter how much progress you make in the last two quarters, your first two quarters can still sink you. And if you’re a bad test-taker, you get thumped three-fold. In many ways, a ‘signpost grade’ would be better… “this is your grade for the term as of today… it can go up or down, but it’s you that decides that.”
This past quarter, I had to give a student a terrible grade. But now he’s avoiding me in the hallways, and on dormitory, and elsewhere. I want to help him, I really do. But I can’t help a kid who is saying vehemently, “I don’t need help.” And it’s not that he doesn’t need help… it’s just that he’s angry about what’s in the past. His work in the past was poor, but now his work in the present is poor. And I feel to blame.
I asked him just now whether his 20-slide slideshow will be done in time… and he said no, it would have maybe five slides in it. Not acceptable… How do I fix this? How do I get him to work to his potential and his greatness?