How do you respond to this?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by BioAngel, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Nov 16, 2011

    When a child fails a test and it is out of the blue... then the parent says: "My child has NEVER gotten a grade this low since starting [school name]!"

    How do you, as a teacher, respond to a comment like that?

    :confused:
     
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  3. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Nov 16, 2011

    I think my first response would be something like

    "well, let's take a look at her test together and maybe together we can figure out why she wasn't very successful on this test. Would you like to meet with me after school today?"

    I would then take with me to the meeting her test, any notes provided for the class, her assignments during the tested unit, and anything else that might give an indication as to why she might have failed the test. I would give the parents the opportunity to look over all these things and hopefully together get some insight as to why she failed the test.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 16, 2011

    'there were # days notice before the test. Students were given study guides. We reviewed the test material in class the day before the test and I offered extra help after school. Science (whatever content area) requires additional study outside of school. Please advise Little Johnny to take advantage of extra help whenever he feels that he needs it. I offer extra help on whatever days at whatever times.'
     
  5. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Nov 16, 2011

    I think it depends on the situation. If I know the child to be a good student, has passed other tests I had given and up until then, other forms of assessment on the subject came back fine, then I would respond that clearly the student was having a bad day. It happens. I would offer to work with the student to ensure that he/she DOES actually understand the material.

    If the child is known to me to be not a great student and, in fact, has done poorly on other assessments/tests, I would state that he/she has shown difficulty with the subject matter before and again offer to work with the student to improve his/her skills. If this is the case, this wouldn't be the first time I've spoken to the parent.

    If this is the first test that the child has written to me, I would go back to the other assessments that I've done on that subject (assignments, projects, quizzes). If the child performed fine on those, I would perhaps brainstorm with the parents reasons as to why the child didn't perform well on the test. It may be that they had a bad day, it may be that the test wasn't in the format they were used to, etc.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Nov 16, 2011

    We get this on a regular basis being the first year of middle school.

    Students come from the happy world of elementary (this is not implying that elementary is all rainbows and butterflies, but it does seem our students are hit hard with responsiblity and such) and are really experiencing the complexities of growing older. It's a lot to deal with and so every year several parents inform me their child has never had a B before, it's "so unlike" their child to be struggling...things of that nature. I tell those parents what I just said—it's an adjustment. You have boyfriends and girlfriends, more sports practices, clubs to join, gossip to deal with, body changes, maturity issues, and increased academic responsibilities. Sometimes that B will be the new norm, other times that B provides a jolt to the sytem to motivate students to refocus.
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Nov 16, 2011

    It's not that elementary has less responsibility necessarily, especially the older grades. It really is more the biproduct of the set up and adolescent changes. Middle school has more teachers thus more things to keep track of (including procedures and expectations being different in every class) and they have to produce that responsibility throughout the day in specific ways that ordinarily might only happen 1-2 times a day. In that scenario I would talk more about the challenges of transitioning and how it is a big change for all 6th graders to manage. It's really a new world. Elementary cant adequately prepare them for it even at their best. I know I drowned that year and I was a great student.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Nov 16, 2011

    Oh, I was referring our elementary in particular...that's what I meant by "our students" are hit hard. The fifth grade assigns no homework and just in general really coddles the children.

    ETA: But, actually, I do think middle school students have more responsibility even beyond what I meant in regards to our specific elementary school. The class changes, the additional teachers, different procedures and expectations in each class...students are responsible for understanding oand organizing more each year.
     
  9. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Nov 17, 2011

    "Yes, I am surprised too. What do you think the problem was this time?"
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 17, 2011

    Nicely put.
     
  11. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Nov 17, 2011

    "Your child is in a new grade, with increased expectations." Then ask a question that will strike up a conversation about the test - ie "Do you know how your child prepared for the test?" or "Would you like to look over the test together?"
     
  12. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Nov 17, 2011

    This is the type of response I hear quite often for students who have always been straight A students or Honor Roll students and miss it for the first time. My response is usually that, there was a subject that the student struggled with and they need some more work with it. School only gets harder as they get older and all students need to be prepared for that.
     
  13. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    Nov 17, 2011

    Be willing to work with the student to make sure they understand, but also remind them there will be more assignments and tests that will give them an opportunity to improve their grade.
     

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