Monday, March 23, 2009

The Horns Of My Dilemma

I am in a bit of a quandary this evening. I don't want to be one of THOSE parents. But I think I have to. Just this once. Here, now! Who's that laughing at me behind my back?

The situation is this. Last week at Parent Conferences, I went to see The Pony's teacher, as usual. It is HH's duty to pick up the #1 son's grades. I'm working, don't you know, at conference time. The least HH can do is half. But this time, HH did not pick up #1's grades. Which led me to tell #1, "You'll have to pick up your grades at school Monday, like all the other kids whose parents don't love them enough to go to conferences." Don't call 1 800 BAD MOM. My kid understands my sense of humor. That's not the issue.

#1 brought me his grades after school. He was a bit talky, a sure sign of embarrassment. He started off by saying, "Well, here's something you've never seen on my report card before: a D- and a B." The D- was old news. It was from 2nd Quarter, in choir, because he didn't go to a concert. The B was new. It was in English. I was a bit surprised, as this is the All-A boy. However, he had an A in Math, when he should have had an A- by one percentage point, but I guess the teacher decided she pitied him, and anyway, it's usually good to give at least ONE A out of 80 students.

I got to digging about the B. "Did you not turn in some work? Go look it up." The students have access to their grades online. While he was looking it up, I said, "I'm surprised Mrs. Basementia Buddy gave you that A. You said you reversed the numbers on that test on slope, and dropped to a 96." He scoffed, "She likes me. I do good in her class." To which I replied, "And obviously you don't do 'good' in English."

#1 found out that one of his scores was listed as 6/30. He said, "I don't remember EVER getting a 6 on a quiz. I have all those graded papers." He dug through his backpack, drew out a dog-eared blue folder, and pulled out that quiz. It was marked 26/30. This is very easy to do when entering grades in our gradebook program. My problem is usually the opposite. Instead of punching in '10', I have on occasion put in '100'. My clue was when a student asked me how he was doing, and I said, "OK" and he said, "Just OK?" So I looked it up, and that little devil had something like 240 percent, so I looked at the individual scores and caught the error.

Anyhoo, when I got out my trusty $1 calculator, it turned out that instead of the 89% B on his grade card, #1 should have had a 95% A-. Which does not mean so much in the big scheme of Middle School grades, but it IS a core class. And at semester, the computer automatically averages the 3rd and 4th Qtr letter grades together for the semester grade that is the permanent record.

So...can't decide if to mention it to his teacher tomorrow or not. #1 said he would forget to bring it up himself. I have his graded paper. I have a good working relationship with this teacher, a fellow traveler (and I don't mean that in the communist way). It is very hard to override a grade for a previous quarter. At least that is what the counselor's office would have us believe. That must be because we can't do it ourselves. Someone techy or the counselor has to do it.

The more I think about it, the more I want to try to rectify the matter. Fair is fair. I'm throwing caution to the wind.

At least I'm not the mother who bought her son Legos to build a Native American diorama the day AFTER it was due, NO EXCEPTIONS, and wrote a note to the teacher to accept it because it was HER fault, not her son's, because she had been too busy to listen to him when he told her he needed some crafty stuff to build a diorama.


Chickadee said...

Don't feel guilty for talking to son #1's teacher. That is a BIG difference grade-wise. And as you know, it's all in how you approach the matter. I'm sure it will be no big deal.

Hillbilly Mom said...

We had a nice chat this morning. She apologized, which was not necessary, and said she would try to get it fixed with the counselor at Basementia.

Then my loving son went and told her he didn't know WHY I was so obsessed with that grade. What a turncoat!

DeadpanAnn said...

I say bring it to her attention. Most English teachers already know they suck at math.

The computer program we used was called Gradebook, and it would sometimes do some shady math that would shave 3-4 points off a kid's grade.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Miss Ann,
She took it well. I agree she sucks at math, but that didn't affect this little error. She is a traveler, so she has to use a freakin' LAPTOP to do all her grades. To me, that would be like boxing with one hand behind my back.

We use PowerSchool Teacher for taking roll and all that crap, and it has a program called PowerGrade. We are not fond of it. The last one we used made a noise if you entered something over the points possible. This one won't. And that's the error I make most often.