Report Card Accuracy: What I Learned When My Child Failed Fourth Grade

If you are like most Americans your son or daughter brings home a report card. As you glance through it you are either happy or sad with the grades. That’s what we all do, but I found out there is more to it than meets the eye. I’ve learned the grades your student earns may not necessarily be a reflection of what they have learned or even can grasp.

Sitting one day at a school function one of my son’s teachers walked up and introduced herself to me. She wanted to talk with me about my son. Of course I was glad to meet his teachers. What she told me blew me away. In a matter of minutes she began to explain how she felt my son may fail fourth grade. I sat in amazement and listened intently. I promised her I would see what the problem was.

After a long talk with my son that night I found out some very interesting facts about grades and about our school systems, which are kind of scary. My son had A’s or B’s in his first three years of school and seemed to be doing very well, or so I thought. The real truth was he was in trouble he couldn’t read much or write and his math was actually very horrible. When I asked him simple questions he usually responded with “I don’t know”.

So what went so wrong? Pretty simple, teachers have a lot of kids in their classes. They really cannot watch everything or see everything. I will use my son as an example. Most schools nowadays have computer labs where they read books and take tests on what they have read. One year my son read 125 books. When he reached the fourth grade he was only reading at the first grade level when tested.

How was this possible? It’s easy. The children just keep retaking the tests on the books they have read until they get all the answers right. Then they turn it in. My son used to do it all the time. I’m pretty sure that’s how he got an A in reading. In fact he couldn’t read very well at all. Math was they same story for him. There was basically a cheat sheet which listed math facts. The kids could look at if they didn’t know the answer. I was told this helps them learn the math tables. All it did for my son was make it easier for him to cheat. He never learned the facts like he should have.

We had to keep hold him back, which was really the best thing for him. Although he was miserable at first, he learned to read. Math has become a lot easier for him. Now who’s really at fault with all this? Is it the parents fault for not noticing their child was falling behind? Or the teacher for not telling them until it was too late?

Partly the teacher for not really knowing what my son knew before she handed out the grade. Partly my fault because I didn’t put more effort to make sure my son was getting a good education. The real question is how many more Johnny’s are out there that we don’t know about. Let’s hope not a lot, but I would guess more than we think.

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