A Word on Science Grades

Dear Parents,

I wanted to give you a quick update about the way that grades work in science class. Here are a few details:

A "C" represents average work: The most important thing to know about grades in middle school is that a C is, by definition, average sixth grade work. Any student making a C is producing work that we would expect to see out of the majority of sixth grade students. While most parents see Cs as "below average" performance, that’s just not the case.

A "B" represents above average work: Sometimes, the hardest thing for middle schoolers to get used to is the notion that a B is a good grade. Because many students have made straight 4s in elementary school, they automatically think they will be straight A students in middle school. The truth is that a 4 represents work that would run from a middling B score to a middling A score. So students who were making 4s in elementary school may be making Bs in middle school — and that’s worth celebrating.

An "A" represents work that goes far beyond expectation: If your students want to make As, they need to buckle down and go beyond the bare minimum on their assignments. If they aren’t working hard on tasks, they probably aren’t producing work that meets the expectations necessary for an A.

Practice tasks are worth 10 percent of your child’s grade: We do several assignments every quarter that are designed to give your kids information about their progress towards mastering important outcomes. Those assignments are called practice tasks. While they are a great source of information on what your child does/doesn’t know yet, they do not have a huge impact on your child’s average. That’s by design. I don’t want students to be punished as they are just learning content. Practice tasks will go in your child’s average, but they won’t do much damage to your child’s average if your child struggles on the task.

Summative tasks are worth 90 percent of your child’s grade: Summative tasks are either things that we spend a lot of time working on in class or things that your child had a lot of time to prepare for. They are designed to be a final measure of what your child knows how to do. As such, they are worth 90 percent of your child’s grade.

Students can rework any assignment that they score less than an 80 on: There are lots of different ways to raise grades that are less than an 80. Sometimes, kids will do a Brainpop video and quiz to replace a low score. Sometimes, they will do a second worksheet. Sometimes, they will make corrections to an existing worksheet. The point is that if your child has any score below an 80, they have the chance to raise that grade as long as they come to Spartan Time and ask for it.

Students will all have their own Powerschool username and password by Friday: That means starting on Friday, your child can look up their grades in all of their core classes on their own from the Internet. Consider asking your child to pull up their averages each Friday night and reviewing their scores with them. That’s an easy way to stay on top of the progress that they are making.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter