I think you've misunderstood me. I don't mean that our expectations of teachers shouldn't be high--of course they should be high. Rather, I'm suggesting that it's unrealistic to expect teachers to approach each student cold and with no point of reference. I have more than 200 students. If I didn't have basic guidelines for appropriate behavior in my head to use as a reference, I'd be basically reinventing the proverbial wheel with each student. This is impossible with so many students. If you're able to do it, then go for it. But I think it's unfair to suggest that those who aren't able to do so are wrong or lazy for making things a little easier. It seems that by your reasoning we should do away with grades entirely. After all, who am I to determine what amount of effort should result in an A or a B? In an ideal world, yes, we'd be able to give lengthy, narrative progress reports to parents describing, in detail, our observations as to student achievement, effort, and behavior. Unfortunately, I don't live in that world. I have paperwork up to my eyeballs and hundreds of students, most of whom are involved in gangs and can barely read. I do the best I can, as I think most of us do.