Teachers Finalize Elementary Student Grades – But Kids Required to Attend Classes for Two More Weeks

by Nindo Mom on June 10, 2011

On June 7, my son’s Maryland elementary school held its end-of-the-year awards assembly. At this ceremony, kids were given awards for accomplishments during the fourth quarter of school, as well as for the entire school year. Kids who managed to get all As and Bs on their report cards were given “Honor Roll” certificates, and those earning all As were given “As Honor Roll” certificates.

This is when it hit me. Somehow, the teachers had calculated the students’ final grades for the quarter–and for the school year–even though the kids still had nearly 2 full weeks of school left to attend. And since it must have taken teachers several days to compute the grades, they must have stopped taking grades for assignments even earlier than that.

The same thing goes for the “perfect attendance” awards given out at the June ceremony. At some point, teachers must have stopped “officially” counting attendance–at least, as far as the awards were concerned. (One item of evidence: My son informed me that two children who had been absent for school on June 6th was given the “perfect attendance” award for the quarter on June 7.)

If Grades Have Already Been Tabulated, What’s the Point of Going to School for 2 More Weeks?

If I were a child, this is how I would feel.

When I was attending college, I can guarantee that I and the rest of my class would have thought the professor was crazy had he or she said that our grades were done–but that we’d have to keep coming to class for a couple of more weeks.

So why are students attending public elementary school held to a different standard? If the students’ grades are already completed, why should they be expected to continue attending class? What good does it do?

For one thing, Maryland has a 180 day/year requirement for school attendance. But seriously, does this rule serve any purpose or provide any benefit to the students, or is it just a number?

Consider Your Expectations for School. The Answer Lies There.

The way students are graded changes over time. Parents today realize this when they think back to how many tests were given when they were kids, compared to how many are given to kids today. Some say that schools were more effective in the past–despite the fact that fewer grades were given.

For kids–and hopefully, adults too–learning can happen every day, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Every experience teaches you something and provides yet another example of cause vs effect. (Doing or saying one thing or another causes a specific outcome.) So of course, learning in the classroom is not restricted to assignments that are graded.

This being said, I wonder if schools are placing too much emphasis on awards, rather than learning. If this wasn’t the case, might it not make more sense for the schools continue to take graded assignments up until the last day of class, then have teachers tabulate grades after the students are released for the summer? Report cards and Honor Roll awards could be mailed to students, or be made available for pickup by parents during a certain week.

It’s all food for thought–and a very big meal it is, indeed.

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