General Question

girlofscience's avatar

Parents: Would you really be proud of your child receiving a B+ in school?

Asked by girlofscience (7434 points ) May 17th, 2009

I am absolutely perplexed by a Stouffer’s commercial that just aired. The commercial stated, “Studies show that children who eat dinner with their families tend to get better grades.” It then shows a teenage boy holding a test with a B+ grade and smiling. And the parents are smiling…

What in the hell? Does anyone really consider B+ to be an “good” grade? I can’t even imagine how my parents would have reacted if I had ever come home with a B+. B+ should not be considered commendable, whether you are in grade school, high school, college, or grad school. It indicates, “You performed slightly better than mediocre.”

What’s going on with this Stouffer’s commercial?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

180 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

What’s going on with you? That interests me more. Parents are proud of their children unconditionally, not dependent on a score on a test. I seldom got less than a A or a high distinction at any time during primary/high school and tertiary education, but my sister who seldom got above a B use to generate just as much pride from my parents. They knew that she had to work for it, whereas I never studied – I just had a good memory.

dynamicduo's avatar

Your standards are way too high.

A B+ is very much a suitable grade for any child. Sure it’s not the best, but it’s better than a B, which often means average. Thus B+ is slightly above average. I would not say mediocre at all, but average.

girlofscience's avatar

@DarkScribe: Of course parents are “proud” of their children unconditionally, but this commercial was specifically implying that the parents and child were both specifically happy with this B+ test score. That is mind-boggling to me. I was asking about a very specific thing here. I was asking, regarding test scores, (and yes, people, both parents and children, have opinions on whether the score is “good”), is a B+ really praise-worthy?

girlofscience's avatar

@dynamicduo: Suitable. Okay. I’ll take that. This commercial implied that the family and child was ecstatic about this fantastic grade. B+ is not fantastic. Would you agree that this commercial seemed to over-praise a merely suitable grade?

TROLL's avatar

A fail is as good as a pass if the child tried it’s best.
It’s best is determined by quite a lot of factors including the standard of teaching,homelife,upbringing.
Horses for courses.So a B+ is bloody good.

Fyrius's avatar

@dynamicduo: Could you point out to me what exactly is the difference between “average” and “mediocre”? In my perception the latter says the same thing only in a somewhat more critical way.

simpleD's avatar

B+ is an above average grade – commendable. C is average. Sadly, in practice, student and parent feelings of entitlement have forced a process of grade inflation. “A“s are given out much too easily, and don’t mean as much as they once did.

knitfroggy's avatar

My folks would have been tickled pink if I’d brought home a B+. I was always the kid that could have done so fantastic if I’d “applied” myself.I think it mostly just depends on the kid. If my daughter brought home a B+ on a spelling test, I’d be ecstatic, because she has trouble with spelling.

Fyrius's avatar

By the way, to what letter does this scale go? Help a non-American out.

girlofscience's avatar

@Fyrius: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F.

WifeOfBath's avatar

Yes I’d be happy!!...a happy child is what matters most….A+‘s does not secure good jobs out there. And I have found children with A’s are normally pushed and drilled by their parents. A happy child with a smile with any grade he/she has achieved to the best of their ability should be praised.

Fyrius's avatar

I see. Thanks.
But if that’s the scale, then B+ seems rather high up. 10 out of 12. An 8,3 out of 10 on our scale.

elijah's avatar

Maybe the child never got anything above a C or D. In that case a B+ is wonderful. Letter grades mean nothing. What is an A to some teachers may be a B- to another. I’d rather have a kid that didn’t get A’s than a kid that thought he was better than everyone because he gets A’s.

richardhenry's avatar

It’s about improvement. @elijah gets it.

chyna's avatar

Yeah, maybe before the kid ate stouffers he got C’s. Now that he ate a frozen dinner he is getting a B+.

cookieman's avatar

The circumstances that led to that child earning the B+ are way more important than the grade itself. As @elijah points out, perhaps this is the first time the child earned a grade that high. Maybe he had been working really hard on that grade, getting extra help, etc. and brought his grade up from a C or a D. Were that the case, it seems more than reasonable that the parents would be thrilled.

And I’m not even getting into the discussion of the validity of letter grades and their ability to predict anything about intelligence or future “success”.

richardhenry's avatar

Although the commercial sounds totally fucking retarded.

chyna's avatar

@richardhenry Don’t beat around the bush, tell us what you really think. :)

cookieman's avatar

@richardhenry: Well this is true. The relationship between Stouffer’s processed foods and academic performance is tenuous at best – or…fucking retarded.

bythebay's avatar

Letter grades do mean something, whether you like that fact or not. How your child progresses and future classroom assignment/academic progression depends on them. If my son received a poor grade in Algebra; he would not move on to Geometry. Simple math, straightforward concept. I was an A student and so was my husband. We moved through school making the necessary efforts; and were accepted to the colleges of our choice. Our grades did matter, they did not however guarantee future success.

IMO, praising mediocrity is sad and narrow minded; but applauding someones individual improvements is laudable. If a child is doing their very best and receives a B+, so be it.

@simpleD, I don’t know where your kids go to school, but A’s are not given out easily in our schools, there are also no +‘s or -‘s in our middle/high schools. @WifeofBath, are you an educator? Our children are A students and we neither push nor drill. They are motivated by their own goals and our expectations that they do their best and speak up if they are struggling. @elijah, we have two of the happiest, most well adjusted kids you could ever hope for. They do not feel they are better than anyone else nor do they feel they are entitled. They are, however, proud of their grades and they do know they try a lot harder and have better communication with their teachers than some of their peers. They also recognize that some kids simply don’t have the structure or support to do well. They feel great empathy for those who lack a support system and will often reach out to help other kids.

There are no definitives here and many variables. Every child should be encouraged to try their hardest.

The real question for me is, why would anyone eat Stouffer’s anything?

justwannaknow's avatar

Being an academic perfectionist, I can see your views but unforunatly we are not all brain surgeons or scientists. Many people are average and many are below. As long as they really try I find a B+ more than acceptable. It is the ones that can get better grades but will not try that upset me. My son struggled through grade school ( Iwas happy to see a “C”)then when he got into high school he blew my mind and was on the honor roll all the way. At that point I did not even look at his grades.

wildflower's avatar

Grades are a highly subjective measure. As a lot of the folks here already pointed out, it depends on the school, the teacher, the subject and the assignment in question. It’s just not a universal standard (maybe in some subjects, like maths tests, but even then different teachers may ‘lean’ differently when it’s borderline between grades).
I think as long as the kid stays in school and passes his/her assignments and exams, it’s pretty commendable (far too many don’t!).

[edit]: another thing about this: we’re talking about an advertising campaign that’s probably aimed at appealing to the masses…...if the ad indicated you have to get an A+ to have a happy family, they might be setting the bar too high to increase their sales by any significant amount – and yes, I know it’s stupid to think anyone would buy that message, but do you really think they’d run the ad if noone did?

elijah's avatar

@bythebay I was in no way implying that all kids who get A’s are snobs. I mostly got 90% or better all through HS without making much effort. School comes easier for some kids.

I do not support serving your family frozen Stouffer’s dinner, but at least the whole family sits down to dinner together. To me that’s very important.

bythebay's avatar

@elijah: I totally agree with the dinner practice, we eat together every night – even with the wacky sports schedules! I value that time immeasurably for communication, team building, and great conversation. I know you weren’t implying that all kids who are high achievers are asses; and you’re right that success is different for everyone.

oratio's avatar

Return question: How could you NOT be proud?

elijah's avatar

By the way @bythebay, (LOL) your kids sound wonderful!

bythebay's avatar

@oratio: You could NOT be proud if they were lazy sloths and were really giving minimal effort.

@elijah: Not always, they’re human but thanks…we adore them! :)

oratio's avatar

@bythebay That comment didn’t refer to yours, but to the main question.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

if they were struggling with a subject and then they busted their ass and got a B+ thats definitely something to be proud of. not everyone is an A+ student, and everyone excels in different areas.

Demonacle's avatar

It is very hard to GET an a and even harder to MAINTAIN it. I had all A’s once on a progress report, and then I found myself trying to keep them. It is very hard because one little mistake could bring your grade down tremendously. The students that can maintain A’s usually don’t have a social life. The ones that have both are meant to be CEO’s and rulers of the F- students.

TROLL's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 horses for courses.

Judi's avatar

Anyone remember grading on the curve? Back then, a majority of kids got “C” grades one or two got “A” grades and one always got an “F” grade, depending on the way the class as a whole did. It was an awful way to grade, especially if the teacher did an exceptionally good job of teaching and the whole class did well. A 75 or 80% could still fail.

Supacase's avatar

It depends. If the child was trying his best, it is praiseworthy. If the child had been struggling in that class, a B+ would be fantastic. In general, a B+ is still pretty good. It’s like 2 or 3 points from an A.

girlofscience's avatar

It seems like everyone is providing certain circumstances under which a B+ may be praiseworthy.

The fact of the matter remains that the commercial was implying that a circumstance-free B+ was considered a “good” grade and worth smiles all around the family. I was arguing that, generally, such a grade should not generally be viewed in such a manner.

ragingloli's avatar

i think that C=average, B=above average and B+= almost top grade.
so why is it not good? i think it is.
btw, when do american teachers issue an A+?

BookReader's avatar

…sounds like their target market were people other than those who get A’s irregardless of their states of hungar- there are probably more ‘lower than A’ individuals than ‘A’ individuals…

…marketing is usually designed to bring new business on board…implied might be that people who get A’s already eat their product…Who knows for sure?

…personally, i leave to each to make choices for themselves, and typically i eat food for it’s nutritional contribution over taste…however, when i get a delicious plate of nutritious food- “COME HERE!!!”

SuperMouse's avatar

I would be proud if my kid brought home a B+. I think calling C mediocre is incorrect. C = average, which means that an average, middle of the road performing kid can expect to earn a C. To my mind average implies that most students should expect to get a C. Example: the average human body temperature is 98.6, which means that most people, (under normal circumstances) have a body temperature of 98.6. B+ is therefore significantly above average and is worthy of praise.

I’m going to start buying Stoffer’s and start saving for college for the boys!

AstroChuck's avatar

I’d take a B+. I once got an F on a question that asked my opinion.

bythebay's avatar

@SuperMouse: Don’t do it….don’t head for the processed food aisle! you . must . resist . the . urge! :)

cookieman's avatar

@SuperMouse: Yeah, watch a few episodes of “Unwrapped” on the Food Network – that’ll make you never want to eat processed food again.

Ivan's avatar

A grade (ideally) is meant to assess how well you understood the material. An ‘A’ is not some magical thing that only really smart people get. An A is the grade you receive when you have adequately understood the material. If you do enough work to sufficiently understand the material, you should expect to get an A. Anything less than that means you did not understand the material well enough.

An A does not mean “Wow you are so amazing and perfect you are a super genius!” It means “You did the necessary work and understood the material to the level that the teacher expects you to.” An A is the acceptable grade. Anyhing else than an A means you did not understand the material well enough.

Supacase's avatar

@girlofscience Well, the commercial says “better grades.” The question is, better than what? Better than other students? Better than the grades they were getting before their family started eating together? There is not enough information to make an informed judgment. The fact is, the acceptability of the grade does depend on the circumstances.

Also, a B+ is much closer to an A than to a C, which is average/mediocre. I would be more inclined to think “He almost got an A!” than “He did slightly better than mediocre.”

Facade's avatar

It depends on how smart the child is. If they slack off in school, don’t try to get good grades, and come home with a B+, no I wouldn’t be proud. The same goes if they always get A’s and come home with a B+.

I was never praised for any of my “good grades,” only reprimanded for the poor ones (i.e. a B+). But hey, life goes on

gailcalled's avatar

I had a step-son who was dyslexic and had other learning disabilities. He hated school because no one thought of teaching him in a non-traditional manner. Had he received a B- in any subect ever, we would have been thrilled.

To learn about the trauma and psychological damage done to children who are objectified and expected to mirror their parents’ expectations, realistic or not, read Alice Miller, a child psychiatrist.

The Drama of the Gifted Child and most of her other writings deal with this subject.

TROLL's avatar

Look,it’s a fucking advert!!It is aimed at promoting a food stuff and that food stuff may enhance the childs ability to learn and the reason they dont say the child got an A is because someone somewhere will probably badger the company for misrepresentation if their “little fucking angel“does not get an A.
Furthermore B+ is a good fucking result.end of!

hearkat's avatar

I would be more proud of a B+ that he’d worked very hard for, than of an A that he put no effort into at all.

wildflower's avatar

@girlofscience : out of curiosity; did you grow up in an environment where anything less than an A was frowned upon?
And did you ever ask around in school if the same was the case for everyone? I pretty sure it wasn’t. I don’t have the statistics (wish I did) but my assumption is that the proportion of kids who get approving smiles from parents is higher than the proportion of kids that bring home A’s – if not, there’s either a lot of unhappy families out there – or an A is WAY too easy to get.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

I consider that to be somewhat insulting; I have a friend who would be quite excited to get a B+. He doesn’t do too well in school and he is a slow test-taker. But he is not dumb; he has other interests and he excels at those. To say that a B+ is never acceptable is ridiculous. It depends on the individual student. Yeah, for me personally (not my parents) a B+ is not acceptable, but that’s because I’m used to straight A’s. If that particular kid worked hard to earn that grade, you should be proud of them rather than putting them down. Not everyone can get A’s. That’s a fact of life.

And it really doesn’t matter that much in the long run. I know a kid who got half A’s, 2 B’s and 1 C in his classes this semester and he’s still going to UCSB. Even in past semesters, he’s gotten similar grades. But you know what? He is very intelligent and that showed through his essays; not everyone can define their intelligence or their “worth” by their grades. People who define their lives by their grades need to realize that they are only going to enjoy that temporarily; it doesn’t last.

And I’ve noticed that @girlofscience tends to be on this site for the shock-value often. Can’t tell whether she is honestly being serious here or not.

casheroo's avatar

I’d be extremely proud of my child. A B+ is praise-worthy.

I do not want to berate or make my child ever feel they aren’t good enough, just because they are not excelling. Not every child will be great in every subject.
I’ve always struggled with math. I’ve always had to get tutors to help me, and without tutoring I’m lost. I was always great at science and social studies, so I excelled in those courses. If my child has a weak point, I will get them the proper help they need to be the best they can in that subject, and if a B+ is what they earn, I’d be beyond proud.
Even if they didn’t have problems with math, but got a B+ I’d still be happy, because a B+ is a good grade.
I would not be thrilled with my child bringing home any C’s though, and I would think there was something going on and I’d do all I could to guide them.
It’s a shame some children grow up having parents who expect so much of their child. I feel that child never gets to grow up to be their own person, and is always trying to please others and not doing it for themselves. Sad.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Ivan, A – or outstanding – means the student surpassed what was expected of them and had an exceptional – more than adequate – understanding of the material. B – or above average – means the student had a more than adequate understanding of the material, not quite on par with the A student, but still more than adequate. C – or average – means the student had an adequate understanding of the material. If a student is meeting expectations and has an adequate understanding of the material, they are average and there is nothing wrong with that. If a student is earning B+‘s, they are performing well above average, and that is a praiseworthy achievement.

Ivan's avatar

@SuperMouse

Let’s take a math class as an example. In most math classes, your grades are determined directly from the number of points you’ve achieved. Let’s say that, in this particular class, if you get 95% of the points, you receive an A. That means that, if you can demonstrate that you know 95% of the material, you get an A. The goal of the class is to ensure that you know 100% of the material. Let’s say 75% is a C. Should an average student only expect to know three quarters of the material? Those aren’t very good expectations. If I were a teacher, I would want my students to know more than three quarters of the material on average. A B+ is something like 87–89%. I would not be thrilled if my child failed to understand more than 10% of the material.

arturodiaz's avatar

I dont know how much is B+ in US, but im guessing is an 80 or 85. Mexican education system is much more difficult than the American (With the scores I got when entered high school I could easily enter a masters degree in the US. If I get a 90 in school they would ask me why I did not got a 100. I think teachers ,here in Mexico at least, are making things more and more difficult. As education level rises and more testing is being put to students we tend to stress more. I spend more time studying than my father working. Im about 10 hours at school because of extracurricular activities and study groups and when I get home I do between 2 to 3 hours of homework. I’m sleeping 4 to 6 hours a day. that is not healthy. I think parents should be more tolerant to their children’s grades as academic level rises. Because at the end, it really does not matter how much you know if you live an unhappy and stressful life.

asmonet's avatar

You’re absolutely wrong.
And I don’t even know where to begin telling you how demanding behavior on that level can hurt a child.

On the other hand, I think every time you ask a question you reveal a little bit more about yourself.

wildflower's avatar

Found it!! Some stats that proves that if an A is required to make student and family happy, then 98% of 12th grade students and their families are unhappy!
and I refer back to my point of marketing a product at such a small proportion of the population wouldn’t be good business for the company in question

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/ruraled/tables/table2_2.asp

Ivan's avatar

@wildflower That link didn’t say anything about happiness.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

You know, I REALLY think you’re over reacting and I’m sorry it bothers you…I think the commercial wanted to do something believable…like of course the A+ is what all commercials use and whatever but they showed a B+, which is something realistic…I’ve been to school in Russia and the US, in England and South Africa and I gotta tell you, sometimes you get grades like a B+ and are incredibly proud of yourself so it’s all about context…and as a parent now, I want to be really careful not to make education about grades for my kids because I was there when there were multiple suicides at NYU because of the pressures that got to those kids…and I was there when I almost lost it because of my pre-medicine courses…life is so complex, so much more than grades and what I do expect from my kids is to try, to try hard but they don’t have to get As all the time

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Also, I’m sorry your parents would never ease up on you for not getting perfect grades

wildflower's avatar

@Ivan the happiness part is my conclusion based on girlofscience’s statement that parents and students should can not be happy with anything less than A.

SuperMouse's avatar

@wildflower you totally rock! @asmonet virtual high five!

@Ivan, my kids so don’t need to bring home solid A+‘s in order for me to be happy with their school work. If my kids are working hard, enjoy school, are learning the material, are being instilled with a love of learning and are not stressed to the gills about passing some government mandated tests, then they are doing just fine. Also, I think wildflower’s point was that 98% of students do not earn A’s, therefore if A’s are required for a student to be happy, 98% of students are unhappy.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i’m absolutely baffled by this question.
are perfect grades (edit: or near perfect) really the only grades you deem acceptable?
regardless of what the commercial is trying to prove, or how ridiculous the concept of it is – holding a child or any person, for that matter to the standard of ‘perfection or failure’ is absolutely ridiculous. placing all importance on a letter grade – especially when it is the difference between just a few points, and the grade recieved is certainly a decent grade – is preposterous.

maybe i’m just stupid – after all, not only am i a ‘B+ student’ but i’m also a repulsive ‘C student’ in some classes, and an absolute ‘D/F student in chemistry – but the point of going to school is to educate yourself and discover your potential in the world. expecting perfection is a nice ideal, but not a realistic one. if i have children of my own, i expect them to do as well as they possibly can. if i know that they are trying as hard as they can, and they don’t pull an A…or even a B+...i’m still going to be happy, because they have worked hard and learned something.

there is so much i feel like i want to write back to this, but i’ve never been confronted with a question like this, and i honestly don’t know how to respond any better than i have.

Ivan's avatar

@SuperMouse

”...are learning the material…”

Unless they are getting A’s, they aren’t learning the material

@tiffyandthewall

An A is not perfection. 100% would be perfection. An A, depending on the class, might only be 90% or even lower.

casheroo's avatar

Maybe we should all be a little more understanding. Honestly, I feel badly that a parent would ever do such a thing to their child, as @girlofscience‘s parents did to her. I consider them atrocious parents, not loving at all. It’s a shame. That’s not @girlofscience‘s fault. You can’t control what your parents do to you, and how much they can screw you up for life. I do think though, that a person reaches an age where they should realize the error of their ways, and take personal responsibility for their thoughts and actions. Hopefully this thread helps the original poster realize.

asmonet's avatar

@Ivan: “Unless they are getting A’s, they aren’t learning the material.”

That’s complete crap. I rarely got A’s – almost never, I was capable of them but I didn’t do the work necessary. I was the kid who showed up on test day and aced the exams. Not every child is the same and that kind of rigid thinking is what hurts students.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Ivan

I’m assuming you’re talking about receiving an A in the class. Do you know how much of the class grade is based on completing work? A “B” does not necessarily mean you don’t understand the material; there are people who ace every test but still receive a B in the class because they don’t do all the work. I’m not recommending anyone do that; that could be a valid reason for parents to be disappointed because a lot of times not doing the work is simply out of pure laziness. And laziness really doesn’t prepare you for later life because you’re going to have to work. People always say “I’m smart, I just don’t work”. Well, you’re going to have to do work later on, so I never really understood that too much. But still, they may very well understand the material.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I just remember that there was this molecular cell biology course I took and got a C- the first semester and a C+ the second and it was the hardest course I ever took and the teacher had a population for being the devil or the devil’s mother and he took great pleasure in intimidating and scaring students and favoring white boys with biblical names ( a WHOLE other issues)...and I remember that in end of this course I was scared what the grades would mean for my med school application but I freaking LOVED how much I learned and what a challenge that was and I NEVER let him get to me and he knew that and when it came time to him choosing 10 people out of multiple universities to be involved in the Howard Hughes Honors Institute with him for the summer, I was one of the people he chose and the only one of all of those students to accomplish publishable results within 2 months through my research

Ivan's avatar

@asmonet, @Dansedescygnes

I guess I’m imagining classes in which the only grades are tests. I remember classes in high school in which tests were only a small portion of your grade and the rest was comprised of homework. In those classes, you most certainly did not have to understand the material to get an A. Getting lower than an A in a test-only class is unfortunate, but getting less than an A in a ‘most-of-the-points-come-from-busy-work’ class is inexcusable.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Ivan, C’s means that students are learning the material adequately, that’s why they are there. A’s mean that they have a complete and utter mastery of every single idea, fact, and concept presented in the class then tested over. There is absolutely no way that all learners can or should be held to that standard. By your logic, there should be no other grade but A.

BTW, A’s might also just mean that the student knows how to take tests.

wildflower's avatar

@Ivan : if it’s inexcusable to not fully understand the material presented in every situation, it’s a bit inexcusable of you to miss my ‘if-statement’ regarding the happiness above…..and note this also includes an ‘if-statement’, I don’t particularly think it’s the case, I’m just saying….

ragingloli's avatar

@ivan in math, getting less than 100% doesn’t meant that you know less than 100%. you can know everything to 100% and still get a score below that. why? because pupils are humans. humans make mistakes.
accidentally jumble up some numbers behind the comma in a math problem that would equate to 10% of the tests maximum attainable points, and bang, say sayonara to your A.

Ivan's avatar

@SuperMouse

“A’s mean that they have a complete and utter mastery of every single idea, fact, and concept presented in the class then tested over.”

No. A’s mean that they have an acceptable understanding of 90–100% of the material.

“A’s might also just mean that the student knows how to take tests.”

Yes, ideally the tests would be constructed in a way that truly tests your understanding of the material rather than your ability to logically guess.

@ragningloli

No, sayonara to your 100%, not your A. That’s why an A isn’t 100%, it’s a range slightly below 100%.

@wildflower

I was waiting for someone to pull the “Well you’re not perfect either!!!1!1!!” card. I realize I misunderstood your comment from before; that has nothing to do with anything. I didn’t say it was inexcusable to not fully understand the material presented in every situation. I said it was inexcusable to get a grade lower than an A in a class where the majority if your grade comes from busy-work.

wildflower's avatar

if that’s all it takes to score an A – you got bigger problems in your school system than what triggers a parent’s smile!!
.....and this brings me back to my first point about grading being a highly subjective measure and a somewhat flawed process, given the potential variation. I would assume a ‘good’ teacher would not assign a student an A unless the student genuinely excels in class and/or the exam. However, if all it takes is a bit of ‘monkey see, monkey do’ to score an A, then even an A is no indication of being particularly good at anything but following instructions.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Ivan

That’s why I liked our test on the Islam unit in 7th grade. Our teacher gave us a big white sheet of paper and said “write everything you know”. (It was divided into three columns, but other than that, it was blank and those were the only instructions we were given). I got an A…lol. Unfortunately, that kind of “alternative testing” is not done enough in my opinion. At least mix it up a bit.

Ivan's avatar

@Dansedescygnes

Yes, that sounds like a great test. One of my finals this previous semester was something similar. It had just one question on it, and we were to write a detailed essay in response. This ensured that you could not get by without knowing the material. If you were to get an A, you had to know your stuff. You couldn’t just fill in bubbles and get points. Some people walked out after 5 minutes because they knew they didn’t know the material and they would fail anyways.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Ivan, ok, an A means 90 – 100% mastery of the stuff presented you are right – my bad. However, for the purposes of grading, that is considered significantly above average mastery when an average mastery is what is required for students to receive a C. There is absolutely nothing wrong with an average mastery. I think it is also important to point out that students typically excel in some areas and maybe not so much in others.

A child who consistently gets 100% on his spelling tests but 70’s on his math is not a poor student, he is simply average in math.

Zaku's avatar

B+ was a very good grade in the school and American university I attended, and could be difficult for many smart students to get such a grade. However when kids I knew from my school went to public school, they said it was dead easy and hard not to get an A in everything by comparison.

So, it depends entirely on context. I think overall showing a B+ as a great grade in an ad is actually perfect (meanwhile, the implied message that eating one type of microwave dinner will improve your grades is promoting sloppy thinking and seems like possibly borderline false advertising).

nikipedia's avatar

You know I love you, but if you honestly think a B+ is not a grade to be proud of then your schools must have perpetually had hella grade inflation. I had at least one class in college where the average was curved DOWN to a 70%, or C-. Half the class got a C- or lower. The majority of my classes were curved to a 75%, with approximately equal numbers of students getting As and Fs.

And to drive home the point about context, consider how you would have felt about a B+ in your neuroanatomy class.

And obv I would love you even if you got Fs in all your classes. And I’m not even your mom!

MacBean's avatar

When I was in high school, a passing grade was 66%. It’s since gone up to 75%, but that still only requires you to know three quarters of the material. Given these expectations, a B+ (85–90%) is good.

TaoSan's avatar

I can’t believe I read this…. this is horrible, for lack of a better word. So that’s how one raises little Prozac users.

Allie's avatar

Since all you seem to want is an answer to “Is a B+ praiseworthy,” (as you’ve so clearly defined in your responses to people) I’ll give you my answer. Yes, I think a B+ is praiseworthy.

Also, if you open a question up for discussion (which is what you do by asking the question in the first place), expect people to discuss.

TaoSan's avatar

I’m reading this thread over and over, and I guess I must be total retard then.

chyna's avatar

@TaoSan It beats smoking, doesn’t it?

jonsblond's avatar

@TaoSan You’re not tarded! Promise. :)

asmonet's avatar

I like you even if you are tarded. Which you are not.

richardhenry's avatar

Oh, eww! There’s lurve all over everything now. It’s sticky.

TaoSan's avatar

The one I just gave you was aimed for the eye ;)

Allie's avatar

[mod says:] Back on topic, people. Richard Henry, you should be ashamed.~

casheroo's avatar

@richardhenry You know you lurve the lurve.

SuperMouse's avatar

@richardhenry clean up the mess you have made, when you are done we will take turns giving you a grade. You had better hope you get all A’s or you will disappoint many, many people.

jonsblond's avatar

@chyna That’s a praise-worthy B+. imo

girlofscience's avatar

@casheroo: I am absolutely offended and insulted that you would speak ill of my parents and consider them to be unloving. You have no grounds on which to make such a claim. All parents make mistakes, but overall, I truly appreciate the amount of time, care, and love that my parents devoted to me as a child (and continue to devote to me today).

casheroo's avatar

@girlofscience Obviously others agree with me on my comment, and no one said anything about the comment I made. Sorry if it offended you, but from what I gather they were not very loving parents to force their child to be so hard on themself (is it themselves? I don’t know..) A parents job is to love the child as they are, and to guide them. It is not to make a child feel badly for being who they are. Maybe your parents felt that they needed the “perfect” child, and projected that onto you, which they never should have done.
I’m probably not the only person on here that takes beef with the way your parents parented you, just read some of the comments. The comments you make are a direct correlation to how you were raised.

girlofscience's avatar

@casheroo: They were extremely loving to me as a child. They wanted me to live up to my fullest potential in everything I did. They provided unbelievable opportunities for me and went out of their way to save every last penny in order to afford to send me to the most exclusive schools. They encouraged me to seek out every opportunity and sent me to every summer program and every class I was interested in taking. They worked with me and made learning fun. They taught me to seek out knowledge. They taught me to love education. I am forever grateful for this extremely loving upbringing that has made it easy for me to succeed in the academic world.

susanc's avatar

@casheroo: honey, just because no one yelled at you for dissing girlofscience’s mom & dad, that doesn’t make it courteous for you to have done it. Have you ever heard the phrase “ad hominem argument”? It’s a big no-no.
@girlofscience: high standards = good parenting in loving families and compassion = good parenting in loving families.
Please don’t fight.

TaoSan's avatar

@girlofscience

Even now there is a clear underlying note of “pressure” in your tone…

casheroo's avatar

@girlofscience Um, okay. Guess what they provided you in “encouragement”, they lacked in teaching you proper skills for dealing with people and empathy shrugs

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@girlofscience

Still, doesn’t mean you need to impose your ideas of what’s an “acceptable grade” onto other people. Every parent is different. You can’t assume that a certain grade is always going to be bad for every single kid in the world. It has to do with the individual, how much effort they’re putting into their work, and what they’re goals are in life. Like I said before, getting a B+, especially on a test, is not going to mean much in the long run.

cookieman's avatar

@susanc: always the voice if reason. This is why I lurve you.

casheroo's avatar

@susanc I don’t feel the need to apologize for making a comment about the people who created @girlofscience and who she is.

chyna's avatar

I’m assuming casheroo and GOS know each other in the real world?

girlofscience's avatar

@casheroo: Lay the fuck off, dude. What the hell?

gailcalled's avatar

@girlofscience: As a straight-A student, shouldn’t your invective be both more original and more subtle?

girlofscience's avatar

@gailcalled: I’m sorry; I don’t really feel that @casheroo‘s comments are worth my time.

wildflower's avatar

Seriously, when you open a thread by suggesting that anyone who doesn’t measure up to a subjective standard in academia (which in many ways is a simulated universe) is ‘unacceptable’, it doesn’t reek of open-mindedness and understanding for differing circumstances and opinions….is it surprising this thread leads to offensive remarks? Not really, people have opinions and get upset when those are invalidated! You can state yours, but expect others to state theirs too!

eponymoushipster's avatar

i think the point is that it IMPROVED the grade; it doesn’t claim to brilliant up your dumbass kid.

think about it: if a product claimed to give your kid A+ grades across the board, we’d all call it false advertising, misleading, etc. and some twit somewhere would sue them for false advertising. It improves the grade, or their performance.

yeah, if A+ is the only acceptable grade, then i and the majority of my peers were failures. and i was in the 98th percentile in most subjects in school.

of course, i also heard in school that it was better to be challenged than ace everything.

girlofscience's avatar

This is all being taken to a level of seriousness that I did not intend at all. Sorry.

gailcalled's avatar

I was a straight-A student from K through 12 in high school, and often first in the class if you look at GPA only. It never seemed very hard, and I did love all my classes.

When I arrived at a very competitive women’s college in the east, I was shocked to get a D in my first paper for required English comp. For another reason, I just hauled out that transcript. I made honors every year with only one A and all B+s per year. One year I carried six instead of five courses; that counted for nothing in the final averages. And I kept getting C’s in the required Phys. Ed courses.

Allie's avatar

@girlofscience I think what it comes down to is that the majority of people disagree with you for one reason or another. You asked a sensitive question – one that has to do with parenting techniques in some cases, personal characteristics in others, abilities and achievements in others still. In asking a question such as this, you’re bound to get passionate responses. On the other hand, I (personally) was disappointed in the direction, implications, and/or tone of some of the responses. In the end, I hope you got your question answered and the reaction of the collective opened your eyes to other perspectives.

gailcalled's avatar

@Allie; Many of the answers, including mine, were serious. Dr. Alice Miller has made this her life’s work.

The Drama of the Gifted Child
Basic Books, new edition, revised and updated 1997

The first publication of “The Drama of the Gifted Child” (1979) and of this book are separated by fifteen years of experience – the author’s experience with her own self-therapy and with other recent therapy methods, and finally her knowledge of the life histories of the several thousand readers who have written to her. The research into childhood she has undertaken in this period has led to a further fine-tuning of her earlier findings, as is documented and illustrated here with an abundance of examples…..

Allie's avatar

@gailcalled I wasn’t really referring to your answer in particular.

gailcalled's avatar

@Allie: I know; this issue was a really hot button in my family while I was growing up. My bro was HS Valedictorian, jr. Phi Beta Kappa and Summa at an Ivy School, I was pretty academic and my sister (younger) was a gifted artist, cook, gardener and parent. She received less recognition from my misguided parents.

Now she is the fount of wisdom, and I always check with her before doing almost anything

Ivan's avatar

I think you need to see the difference between “An A is a very attainable goal that you should strive for,” and “You better get an A otherwise I will hate you forever!”

I tutor students at my local community college in what is probably the most difficult course the school offers. It’s usually the last course people take at the school before they graduate or transfer, so they hear horror stories about it all the way through their first 2 years of school from former students. By the time they actually have to take the class, they have this idea that they can’t get a 4.0 and that they should lower their expectations. You know what happens when people say that a 3.0 is good enough? They get a 3.0. I tell my students that a 4.0 is very doable and that they should strive for it. All they have to do is put in the work; they have to study, they have to come to class, they have to do the homework, etc. I tell them that if they just do all that stuff, they will get a 4.0. I have to break the idea that the best they can do is 3.0 and that they should be happy if they get a 3.5. They all have the potential to get a 4.0 and it’s my job to let them realize that. Now, is that the same as saying “You’re a complete failure if you don’t get a 4.0!”? No, that’s just encouragement and helping people get over their pessimism.

In my first math class I ever took in college, I got a 3.5. I had a solid 4.0 going into the final exam, but I didn’t study enough. I did very poorly and it knocked me down to a 3.5. I didn’t become suicidal, my parents didn’t scream at me. I knew that I didn’t do the necessary work to get a 4.0. Today I regret that very much, but not because I strive for absolute perfection and view anything else as failure. I regret it because I knew I could have done better; I didn’t meet my potential.

That is all I am trying to say. Everyone has the potential to get A’s in their classes. If we stop seeing an A as some unattainable miracle mark that you will never ever be able to achieve, people might realize that. Getting A’s doesn’t make you a genius or a perfectionist, it just means you have met your potential.

jonsblond's avatar

My oldest son will be finishing his junior year of high school in 2 weeks. He has received A’s for all of his classes except for one B+. I was a bit disappointed because I know he would like to be Valedictorian, but I was still proud of my son when he brought that B+ home because I know that he did the best that he can do.

asmonet's avatar

@Ivan: The fact that you still regret something as trivial as that is telling enough.

Ivan's avatar

@asmonet

Stop telling other people that they should have lower expectations. Shoot for the moon, you can be whatever you want when you grow up, you can do just as well as anyone else, etc. This is what we should be telling our children, not “You probably aren’t smart enough to get an A.” Nothing is more important to a society than education, and it’s important that our children take it seriously.

bythebay's avatar

I’m not going to defend or decry @girlofscience or her parents, but I will say this. I grew up in the most loving and nurturing home and I had/have great parents. My parents told me very early on; we expect you to do your best and your best should be A’s unless you’re having a problem with a subject. If you need help, speak up…if you don’t need help, we expect A’s. I never felt a minutes pressure and I never doubted that they would cease to adore me if I didn’t get A’s.

My report cards were not a cause of celebration, I usually got a “great work” comment, and a hug – I expected nothing else, school was my job and I was raised to always give 100%.

Conversely, my husbands parents never said a word about grades or even expectations. He was a straight A student from K-12, and was honors all through college. He also felt like “that was just his job”. Lay off critiquing peoples families, every one is different.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Ivan, I totally agree with your point about having expectations of success. Of course I tell my boys that I believe they can succeed if they work hard enough. That being said, I am not going to be disappointed if their hard work does not yield A’s constantly. I am not necessarily convinced that everyone has the potential to get A’s in all of their classes, One of my sons is an incredible speller, never misses a word and hardly has to study. Another one works his butt off on spelling and rarely gets 100%. It isn’t about who is trying harder or who thinks they can do better, it is about the individual who is taking the class and where their gifts lie.

My semester at school just ended, I got two A’s and two B’s, and I am not the least bit disappointed with those grades. I have no idea how my father feels about them. Are you disgusted NVoldguy?

asmonet's avatar

@Ivan: You’ve misunderstood everything.

Allie's avatar

(sigh)

bythebay's avatar

@SuperMouse: I imagine that he’s very proud! :) Nice work.

TaoSan's avatar

I was all C’s, beat up two teachers, went through 9 different schools in my academic career, puked on one dean while drunk, was never on time….

Fast forward 12 years:

- No boss
– Average income about 14 times that of a middle management corporate employee in my industry
– Lived in some of the most exotic places on the planet
– No Prozac or Lunesta ever
– get up whenever I want to
– Got a doctorate in Black Jack and Hookers
– Hang out all day where others go for lifetime vacations
– Enjoy being in everyone’s hostile face to my heart’s content with impunity

Screw grades, unless you want to be a corporate drone. Don’t forget that all the people that have caused the current economic downfall were straight A valedictorians.

pff….

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@TaoSan

Yes, you were lucky. Too bad we can’t all be as lucky as you. Most people who attempt that lifestyle fail miserably.

TaoSan's avatar

@Dansedescygnes

That’s because they listen to the A+‘ers instead of having some common sense…

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@TaoSan

Also, we can’t all do that otherwise nothing would ever get done in this society. There are all kinds of different jobs for a reason. And there were many different causes for the economic downfall. You can’t place the blame on one group of people.

TaoSan's avatar

@Dansedescygnes

Hm….. I’m sure the Starbucks baristas and Subway store managers had a hand in it too ;) Of course not everyone can live my life. But this blind subscription to scoring and evaluation methods that are at times entirely and completely detached from reality really annoys the crap out of me.

OH GOD, ONLY A B+????

Makes me mad all over again. Thank god we have plenty of “Think Tanks” that serve as “A – traps”. WMDs anyone? And as a matter of fact, I think we as a society would get much more done if the main priority shifts from some ivy leaguer imposed “disposable consumer income” calculations to what really matters.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@TaoSan

It annoys me too and my comments on this thread have all been against blind subscription to it. But it does work for some people. I am a straight-A student and I’ve worked hard to get into Stanford and this is what I want to do and I’m looking forward to it. I’m just not big on anyone assuming that one thing works for everyone, whether it’s careers, grades, schools, parenting styles, etc.

TaoSan's avatar

@Dansedescygnes

Look, I do not lack respect for that kind of achievement. As a matter of fact, it is quite high in my books and admirable.

My grudge is with the presentation of of this whole “OMG only a B+”, particularly in a society where the quality of education is in a linear relation to the disposable income of your parents.

Don’t think I’m generalizing here, I pay respect where it’s due. Congratulations to you and everyone else capable of such academic achievements. Seriously, I mean it.

Just don’t forget that some of us haven’t had someone pave the way, hell I didn’t even have lunch money, let alone someone paying tutoring to improve my grades. And no, I wasn’t lucky, I paid for every single one of these “fortunes” with a plethora of humiliating failures, the will to get up again and try again whilst this oh so refined A-student created scoring and prediction system said I should be a 40k/p.a. project manager begging for benefits.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@TaoSan

Thank you; and I admire what you’ve done too. This really goes to the whole thing of the fact that lower-income students (who tend to do worse in school—not always though; those that do better can move up) have lower motivation; this is something that needs to be fixed.

And I never had tutoring. All on my own. :)

TaoSan's avatar

@Dansedescygnes

yay, I lurve you :)

MacBean's avatar

I think basically what a lot of people are trying to say is that if parents’ priorities are straight, they’ll be more concerned with turning out children who are kind human beings rather than children who have perfect educational transcripts. The latter will not ensure the former. Clearly.

Ivan's avatar

@SuperMouse

If someone tries as hard as they can, does all the work, and does all the necessary studying, and they still don’t get an A, we can conclude two things. 1) There’s nothing to be ashamed of, and 2) That class has flaws. I disagree very much with the notion that an A should be an “outstanding” grade. An A should be a satisfactory grade. Maybe that’s not the way it is, but I think that’s the way it should be.

@TaoSan

The goal isn’t to get the A itself, the goal is to learn the material. Ideally, the letter grade is just a representation of how well you’ve learned the material. When we are worried about a B+, we aren’t worried because his transcript is now flawed or because he didn’t conform perfectly to some arbitrary standard. We are worried because they have not learned the material to the extent that they should have. It’s all about education. I can’t imagine you have anything against education.

Judi's avatar

@girlofscience ; how will you feel if you have a child who is a mediocre student but exceled in sports or art?
I have one child who A’s were easy for, one who could fake an A but had to study a bit, and one who. if he made it through a semester with no D’s it was time to celebrate. It’s great that you have a passion for education but not all kids are cut from that cloth.

gailcalled's avatar

I chose to take several courses in college that were really difficult because I was interested. I knew ahead of time that I would be lucky to get a B, but I enjoyed what I learned and what I still remember (Economics and Partial Differential Equations.)

Darwin's avatar

All I can say is my reaction to my child bring home a B+ would depend on the child.

My daughter is very bright, works very hard, plans ahead, and overall is mature beyond her years when it comes to school work. If she brings home a B+ the first thing I have to do is to stop her from beating herself up over it. I ask her if she tried her best (yes, she always does) and I remind her that that is what I want her to do. Then I ask her WWGD (What Would Grandpa Do?). He managed to always analyze the work he had done to see where he could do it better. Then he would put those things into action. She and I together then try to figure out why she got a B+ instead of the A she expected and then I help her put into effect the solution.

OTOH, my son is equally bright but is bipolar and has problems with anger and being impulsive. He does best in hands-on classes and does terribly in classes that require a lot of reading and insight. If he brings home a B+ I praise him for obviously doing his best and ask him what he thinks he did that allowed him to bring his grade up from the C it usually is (often by 1 point above a D). I then praise him for his intelligence in figuring out how to raise his grade and encourage him to keep going.

I can also say that based on personal experience, the very few times I got a C in a class or on a project I felt as if I hadn’t learned the subject or the lesson at all and thus always ended up hitting the library intensely. For others that same C might be a completely different experience.

However, I really doubt that eating frozen dinners are one of the things that enable either of my children to get better grades.

Supacase's avatar

To those saying that getting a C means you only know 3/4 of the information, that is not always the case.

My high school Physics class was graded on a standard deviation (which still confuses me – I don’t know how I got a B in there) so it was impossible for everyone to get an A, let alone a B. The mean, which determined letter grade distribution, changed with every graded assignment.

You had to be the best of the best to get an A, because only the top few in the school were allowed into the class at all. We only had it every other year, so space was limited.

cak's avatar

@girlofscience – People are taking it seriously and may be taking it personally, because a lot of the people that answered are parents. I’m sure if you polled us, all of our children perform at different levels and someone on this thread may be thrilled with a B+ from their child. It can be pretty offensive to suggest that it is not really a good grade.

Yes, I do think, for some students, that a B+ is praiseworthy. It depends on the child. I don’t think it’s just about mediocre, I think for some, it’s a high achievement. One day, you might have a child that is a B+ student, at best. It happens. I doubt, very highly, that you will feel less about your child. You may feel that you would be very disappointed, but if you truly knew that was the best your child could do, I have a hard time believing that you would be ashamed of your child.

I have two children. One in high school, the other in Kindergarten. We have explained, very carefully to both of them, that while we would love perfect grades, what we expect is their best. For my daughter, that seems to be mostly A’s. She got one B, this year. I still haven’t heard the end of it…that B just royally pissed her off. She missed an A by 1 point. Kindergarten doesn’t grade the same, but my son is doing well, too. Now, he didn’t start off the year that way. He went in knowing a lot of things and it was like he forgot everything! We got called in for a conference. Yes, a conference, in Kindergarten. We could have panicked. Sent him to tutors, called in the calvary, but we did a few simple things. One, we relaxed, figured it would work itself out. Two, we reviewed things, but didn’t force it down his throat. Guess what, he’s doing great now. Meeting and exceeding expectations.

@girlsofscience, I’m not going to try to change your mind. I won’t say anything bad about your parents. I know your are a very smart person; however, I think you might be lacking the true life experience to really know how you will feel about grades, when it comes to children of your own. You might also be lacking the understanding (broad understanding) of grades and how subjective they really can be. How for some, that A is so elusive, it’s almost like the Holy Grail. A B+ isn’t truly a sign of failure. It’s a sign that someone is really on the right track. It’s to be encouraged, see what may happen, if that B+ is congratulated, but met with a challenge. Not met with criticism.

Ivan's avatar

@Darwin

Do you think that your son is smart enough to get an A in the classes he struggles with?

Zaku's avatar

It’s remarkable how much discussion has been provoked by such a B+ topic…

;-)

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Zaku

Actually, I think it is an important topic. Stuff like this creates bad relationships between parents and their kids and things like too much pressure can affect a person’s entire behavior.

Ivan's avatar

@Dansedescygnes

So can lowering their academic expectations.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@Ivan

And so can having too high expectations. :)

(The point is that I didn’t say that lowering expectations is what you should do. My comments have all been that it depends entirely on the individual situation, yet this question attempts to make a blanket statement).

Zaku's avatar

@Dansedescygnes – I agree that grade perception is a very important social topic. I was poking a little fun at girlofscience.

Darwin's avatar

@Ivan – In terms of simple IQ, sure. He tests out just fine. However, due to his problems with impulsivity, anger, and sensory disassociation (and sometimes hallucinations), it often takes him longer to do the work than another child who measures the same IQ. He needs frequent repetition and redirection which his para is supposed to provide, but which often doesn’t happen for stupid and political reasons (I am speaking to my lawyer about it now). Thus he misses part of the lesson or fails to turn in all of the work or simply can’t finish the test before time is called.

And where it is something he is really motivated to do, he does better. For example, he failed his math TAKS test (the state-wide monitoring test) but he got an 85 on his SCUBA Nitrox certification test, which also involves math as well as chemistry. He got a 97 on his Open Water Diving test and because I was there while he was taking it I could see his biggest problem was being distracted by other people in the room.

So intellectually he could get an A if he could be in a quiet room with unlimited time to absorb the lesson, appropriate redirection, and the right motivation.

Ivan's avatar

@Darwin

Well then we agree that the problem is with the institution itself, not your son.

Darwin's avatar

@Ivan – It is a combination. He has greater challenges than most kids and needs greater help than most kids, but he could do a bit more himself before giving up in utter frustration.

Ivan's avatar

@Darwin

Well, my arguments are based on the assumption that the school is doing everything in its power to facilitate the education of its students.

Judi's avatar

@Darwin; sounds like we have the same kid. You’re lucky you got a diagnosis so early.

MacBean's avatar

@Ivan A school actually trying to do what’s best for its students? I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. Thanks for that!

Darwin's avatar

@Ivan – The school is definitely not trying to do its best for this particular student. It has taken lawyers to even get what little we have gotten, and it is taking lawyers again to correct their deliberate misinterpretation of the agreement.

It is amazing because their unwillingness is costing the district big bucks. It is costing me relatively small bucks to pursue this.

However, it is personality driven in this case – the principal at this school does not believe that mental illness exists in children, and that all the problems are due to laziness or bad parenting or from teachers inappropriately advocating for their students. She has called CPS on the one teacher that was getting him to do work (no abuse was found), and she has called CPS on me as well, claiming we beat him and had no food in the house, and were probably drug-users (unfounded as well).

She firmly believes that none of his problems are due to the neurological findings of dysfunction in his frontal and right temporal lobes and in his sensory processing abilities.

She has no children and still lives with her mother.

asmonet's avatar

@Darwin: Fuck her. :)

Darwin's avatar

@asmonetNo thank you. She’s not my type. I’ll let the lawyers do it.

TaoSan's avatar

@girlofscience

Ha! Bet you never imagined you’d kick something like this lose now have ya? ;)

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t know where to begin! Interpretation of grades? Knowledge of what scales is used to determine grades? Irrelevance of grading systems with respect to value of children? Irrelevance of grades to life outcomes? Competition? Self-esteem?

I hate grades and grading systems. I think they are used because people need some supposedly objective way to tell others what a given individual has learned. As such, they are woefully inadequate. They do predict success in school, and education level does predict income, but, as far as I know, none of these things are correlated with happiness, or with what is important in life.

The second thing is that it is almost impossible to interpret grades. Some people grade “on a curve” which means that the bulk of students should get the middle grade, and only 5% get the highest and lowest grades. It’s kind of like one standard deviation, two standard deviations and three standard deviations from the mean.

Of course, most grade school and high school teachers probably don’t have sufficient understanding of statistics to be able to understand how to do this. Then again, what is the comparison group? Students in the class? Students in the school? Students in the grade in the school? Students in the grade in the city, the state, the country?

I think most teachers have a kind of range of ability of students that is based on all the students they have ever taught. They assign grades according to this internal scale they’ve developed, and no one can really know what it is.

In addition, grade inflation (so now the B is what used to be a C, or maybe a B+ is now what was a C a generation ago) had an impact. As a result, no one really knows how to interpret grades. A B+ might be fantastic, and it might also be horrible.

Then, as many of you have pointed out, there is the individual circumstances of each student. Who knows where a child is coming from, and what obstacles they have overcome to achieve a grade. From an individual point of view, the B+ could be awesomely meaningful to one person, and a badge of shame to another. Neither should be criticized just because the same grade means different things to them.

Anyway, as a result of this mess, George Bush gave us his No Child Left Untested Program. Oops. Excuse me. He called it “No Child Left Behind.” However, the idea of a national standard test is the only thing that would allow us to compare children to each other using the same standard. But don’t get me into my critique of testing. I’m just talking about grades here. It should be noted that high schools, public and private, use standardized tests of various sorts to determine who to accept, and, of course, higher education does the same.

In addition, no one knows whether grades are related to happiness or success in life. If you do well in high school, you tend to do well in college, and graduate school, and then at work. This may all be a self-fulfilling prophecy, or a good ol’ boys and girls club. As Taosan would point out, C’s were no indication of how he would do. There are many brilliant people who slip through the cracks because they don’t fit the idea of a good student, and schools have no idea what to do with them.

Now, there is also a big discussion here of the role of expectations, and parenting, and helping children have a good feeling about themselves. As many of you know, I don’t feel very good about myself. I also didn’t receive much praise from my parents, and I never, to this day, knew if I met their expectations. So, it seems, they set very high expectations. I probably can’t meet them. Shit, I was supposed to be a genius.

I’ve noticed, however, that when high expectations are put on people, they tend to meet those expectations. Asians are well known for putting a lot of pressure on their kids to do well in school, and their kids study awfully hard, and do well. I think Americans are a little put off by this, because, for us, self-esteem is more important, and if you put too many expectations on our kids, and they don’t meet them, they will feel like failures, and become failures.

So the trick is putting high expectations, even pressure on our kids, while letting them know we love them no matter how they do, no matter who they become. Well, that’s not an easy trick to perform. I don’t know how to do it. I expect a lot from my kids, and when they don’t try, or they seem not to try, it really, really bothers me. I was helping my sone with math tonight, and he just didn’t seem to be trying. He kept asking what time it was, because he was only supposed to do this for 25 minutes. Well, 25 minutes of staring at the problem does not count, in my book.

Anyway, he goes to a school that doesn’t give grades, and I am happy about that. We do get these reports, long and individualized, and I have no idea how to interpret them with respect to other students. I don’t know how they are doing compared to others. But that’s not supposed to matter. What matters is my own kids.

And, in truth, it’s no different from how I grew up—with grades. I got mostly A’s, and I thought I was a mediocre student, because I wasn’t even close to being one of the smart kids. I may have had a class of 200, and a good dozen of them went to Ivies, and many others to other prestigious colleges. That was not my lot. I went to a decent school, but not one I had heard of before my Junior year. In any case, I never had any idea of how I really compared to my classmates. I didn’t know their grades.

When I was 15, I spent a year in an English school. At one point, I received something like an 86 on a paper about existentialism. In my mind, that was a B+. In England, that was the top mark in the class! They seemed to post grades more often, and so everyone knew where everyone else stood—at least, some of the time.

If my son got a B+, I would be horrified. But that would also be true if he got an A or and F. It would mean I hadn’t protected him from a bankrupt system. Still, the way I grew up, a B+ is kind of a minimal expectation. Really, straight A’s is the way to go, and of course, by that standard, I ended up far from the mark.

On the other hand, if my kids got a B+, should they be in such a system, and it was in a subject they had a hard time with, I’d be happy and proud of them. If it was in a subject they did well in, I’d want to know what happened.

Ivan's avatar

@daloon

“none of these things are correlated with happiness, or with what is important in life.”

I believe that world improvement is what is important in life.

Darwin's avatar

“No Child Left Behind” is the excuse our school district is using to dismantle all Special Education and Vocational programs. Of 6 high schools and 12 middle schools, wood shop is taught in one (1) school in the district, and auto shop is taught in two (2) schools in the district.

The Behavior Improvement program is now called the S.A.I.L. program (Successful Academic Inclusive Learning) and instead of putting kids who need to be in a small group setting in small classes, they mainstream them in regular 30 to 35 student classes.

They have also discontinued all Honors math classes.

Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh!!!!!

cak's avatar

@Darwin – “No Child Left Behind” has got to be one of the worst programs out there, ever.

asmonet's avatar

@Darwin: Snap.

How about, Fuck her….up legally.

Darwin's avatar

@asmonet Now that I’ll do.

wundayatta's avatar

@Ivan I’d agree about world improvement. However, while many, if not most people here have that as an important concern, I don’t think that reflects the rest of the world so much. Most people have a sense they can’t do anything about the world, so they can only work on their own lives. This makes it easy not to consider the impact their behavior has on the world.

I don’t want lay all the blame for this on grades, and grading, but I do think it contributes to the “me first” kind of attitude.

I wonder if we radically changed the way we live, whether that would change the way we evaluate each other and our children. If we lived in an eco-friendly way, would we evaluate in a way that is somehow analogous to eco-friendliness?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

My daughter just brought her Language Arts grade up to an 87 from a 72. So yeah, I’m really happy about her B+. She worked her ass off for that B+ and it shows. C’s are not good, B’s are just fine and dandy.

_bob's avatar

I just read (most of) this thread (‘cause, man, some of you people sure can ramble). I’ll just say that you all make at least some valid points, including @Ivan who undeservedly got some serious hating thrown his way.

TaoSan's avatar

glad we found your approval :D

chasy's avatar

I would absolutely be happy with a B+! My interest is in my child’s application and diligence, not the world’s opinion on how well it thinks my child is doing. A grade is just an opinion.

TaoSan's avatar

@bob_

Dankeschön! :)

Kelly27's avatar

I am a little surprised at how many people wouldn’t be proud of their child if they brought how anything but an A. Pride in your child should have less to do with what letter grade they bring home and more to do with the effort they put in.

DarkScribe's avatar

This thread still going? If I had a child who asked this question I would not be proud.

SundayKittens's avatar

That’s just a marketing thing… had the kid showed a shiny A + that would be a little too much and unrealistic. They chose B + to show the kid improved…that plus sign says it all. It’s marketing! And in real life it’s not about the grade, but the improvement really…

Supacase's avatar

@Ivan I do understand what you are saying, but getting an 80 doesn’t necessarily mean the student only knows 80% of the material. All sorts of things that completely unrelated to the material are often factored into a grade – participation, attendance, stupid group projects where your grade depends on the intelligence and work ethic of others, etc.

justus2's avatar

I would be very proud of my children for a B+. I will be proud of them no matter what their grades are as long as I know they are trying. I got Bs usually and a couple Cs and my parents were very happy with me. They don’t have to be perfect straight A kids, just good kids who try

NewZen's avatar

I can count the A’s I’d ever received on one hand; and I teach (teachers) nowadays. If my kids got B’s I’d be thrilled – together with their well-rounded activities (sports and music) if they were over-achievers and got only A’s – I’d be concerned. Is this a real question?

Response moderated
belakyre's avatar

Some people excel, some people are average, then some struggle to meet the grade curve. For some, B+ is a mediocre grade, or slightly above mediocre if you will. For many others, it is a very good grade (me included, I’m a C grade student). If you consider it, mediocre would generally mean the C grade, and a little above mediocre should not be B+ but rather be C+. The commercial might have gained more attention or pleased more people if the child had been holding an A+ on his report card, but who knows, maybe the child struggled with his grades before and now finally starts to get decent grades?

I find that eating without a family at present is actually better than when I eat with my family, maybe its being weird?

MaryW's avatar

If they were doing their best of course.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

My parents wouldn’t. They would be very upset.

casheroo's avatar

I was reading this article and totally thought of this question and also since you’ll be getting a Chinese baby one day lol Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

rockstargrrrlie's avatar

In order to understand your reaction to the Stouffer’s commercial it’s important to remember that you were raised as an academically gifted child by parents who understood your needs and potential. While my parents did not hold me to quite as high standards throughout my entire educational career, I understand where you’re coming from. However, not everyone has those abilities and that potential and can achieve an A even after spending time going over the material, studying, tutoring, etc. Many parents are happy with a B+ and do consider it to be a good grade because it indicates that a child has learned the material and has a good grasp on it. Not everyone is going to do EXCELLENT and you can still get into a good college with a B+ average. A B+ at my school was an 87% to an 89%, certainly nothing really to be devastated about. There was more than one subject my parents were VERY happy to see that in.

Pandora's avatar

I know what you are getting at. I was never happy with my kids getting a B unless I know for a fact is a topic they have been struggling with and have worked very hard to understand the material.
It really all depends on why they got the B. My daughter use to get B’s in classes where she excelled in the subject. She would Ace tests, and projects and class participation but she was lazy about doing homework assignments and sometimes that was a big part of it. It wasn’t even that the teacher would grade the assignments. All they wanted the student to do was hand it in on time and teachers would always have to send me notes saying that she didn’t hand in her work. Sometimes homework was 25 percent of the grade but she didn’t care. So I saw no reason to applaud laziness.

partyrock's avatar

As long as my kid tried I would be happy, be it an A+ or Fail…. Obviously if my kid needs help or tutoring I would give it to him/her, but the grade doesn’t equal love,happiness,or being proud for me….. Love my kids unconditionally. P.S- I’m 22 and don’t have any, but this goes for everyone….

I have friends who are really intellectual, and other friends who are happy being where they are and are very good people…

So as long as someone tries their best…

If they are not good in science they can be very good in something else.

I was HORRIBLE at math, but excelled in English, History, and Government. To each their own.

Parents should love their kids no matter what grade they get.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther