I ran into this issue during student teaching where a kid would have such a low grade for the first grading period that it was mathematically impossible for him/her to make a passing grade for the semester. (At this school, the semester grade was the only official grade and was the average between the first and second and then third and fourth GPs.) If the student realizes this, he/she is likely to give up, because what's the point? Although this is not how grades are figured at my middle school (kids get report cards each grading period) toward the end of the grading period (or sometimes even in the middle) kids realize that they are so far behind it is unlikely they'll be able to pass. Then they totally zone out and refuse to participate, turn in homework, etc. How do you deal with this?? Our GP ends Friday and I will be one happy camper to be on my fourth and final one of the year!