Why we shouldn't expect A's & B's by Brian Burgess;How to Keep Bright Kids on Task; www.forefrontfamilies.org

Brian Burgess, Forefront Families LLC

Parents can get very upset when they see their child’s Report Card and it shows that there are no A or B grades. After reading this article you may be able to relax. Intelligence is distributed over a range of scores that educationists call ‘The Bell-shaped Curve’. God has endowed some people with amazing intelligence and others, for various reasons, struggle intellectually. Most people fall in the average range.

Why is it, therefore, that educators and parents expect all students to receive an A or B for every subject? That is just not possible or rational. So, we beat our foreheads. We yell at our kids or punish them. We brow-beat them about not working hard enough, being lazy. Some parents call the school and demand to know why their child did not get a higher grade.

            It is near impossible for a child with an IQ below 100 to get an A. However, it is very possible for a student with an IQ over 130 to get an F. Let me explain before you want me put down by your favorite veterinary clinic! What schools have been doing for too long is mixing grades for academic attainment with grades for effort and attitude. A student who hands in their work on time, who acts appropriately, receives a reasonable score for tests, and the teacher likes is often awarded an A or B.

            “So”, you say, “what’s wrong with that?”  By combining attitude, effort and an academic score it leads to mediocrity.  The student and their parents believe that the child has worked really hard and has achieved a high academic grade. But this is not necessarily so. The child then believes that all they have to do is maintain that level of performance. The parents are also happy with their child’s efforts.

            Some people may still say that they can’t understand what my problem is. Let me tell you. When your child takes a standardized test (based on nationally-derived norms and set by a nationally-approved company) the test is purely academic and no relevance is given to attitude, effort, completing homework or handing in work on time. Do you see my point now? Parents, the school and the Board of Education may wonder why the subsequent scores are so low on the State Testing program.

            Have I got an answer to this problem? Yes, I do. Two scores should be given on each Report Card, one for purely academic achievement and the other for attitude, effort, good citizenship etc. This was the way things were done when I was being educated in New Zealand. Probably this may be how things are done in some education districts throughout the USA or in other countries where readers of this article may be.

            If you see the sense in what I am telling you it would be a good idea to speak to your local Board of Education. If they adopt this method of reporting, scores and expectations will rise. Why I like it, too, is because it is true reporting. I would give more credence to the Attitude/Effort score. Not everybody could or should have an A or B for their academic score by nature of the distribution of intelligence, but every child is capable of receiving an A or B for Attitude/Effort.

            Truth in reporting is paramount. Truth is one of our most vital values and needs to be upheld. Jesus said that He was the Truth and that the truth would set us free. I certainly would feel more free as a parent if I could see the truth about my child’s performance and not have it intertwined with other ‘masking’ factors!

            If you have any comments or questions on this subject, please contact us at sally@forefrontfamilies.org, or visit our blog site at www.forefrontfamilies.blogspot.com, and our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org