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I'd love your view on this...

(20 Posts)
BeeMom Tue 25-Jun-13 02:11:03

It is that time again, year end reports are coming home.

Bee's came today, and she is on a fully modified programme, which means she is not measured in any way against the Y2 curriculum, but instead against the goals specifically laid out in her IEP.

So, her report has no "grades" on it, per se - just (extensive) comments about how she is with relation to the goals set out for her in her modified, alternative expectations and goals.

However, around here, there is a stupid trend to "Pay for A's". A - a mark higher than 80%, consistently exceeding Provincial curriculum standards - will earn you something special if you take your year end report to certain shops... a free comic book, a slice of pizza, a movie rental...

I know that there are children who can roll out of bed in the morning and sleep through class, then write a test and ace it (I was one of them). I also know that there are children who fight tooth and nail and study hours every night, and getting a 65% on a test is a massive achievement.

It bothers me that children like Bee will not have a chance to even be acknowledged because their reports look like they have accomplished nothing. There is no grade awarded for finally, after 4 years of work, being able to try and write your name in a manner that someone who already knows "what" they are trying to read can see it... there is no A+ for the child who has finally learned to steady their hand long enough that they can put a spoon full of custard into their own mouth and wear only half of it. These kids fight so hard, and I am staring at another report that just adds bricks to the wall separating her from her peers.

So what do you think - it this "Pay for A's" fair, or does it pay homage to those who only succeed in the "traditional" sense? Does it further elevate the "naturally talented" on their pedestals or just teach those who don't earn that recognition that they didn't qualify, and that's that?

It's been a long, challenging day - maybe it IS just me...

mrssprout Tue 25-Jun-13 02:28:39

I can understand exactly where you are coming from. I have always said to the kids in care with us, just try your best. My opinion has always been that it is not the most important thing to be the best at everything or get the highest marks, the most important thing is to know that you have done the best that you can. It doesn't matter if your best means you are not as skilled in something as someone else, everyone is different. It becomes particularly unfair if you are comparing the skills of an average child & one with additional needs. I think rewards should be based on the effort put in not necessarily the level attained to make a more even playing field. I was thrilled a couple of years ago when my little girl who had major speech & language delays got an award at the end of year presentation day for most improved in her class. This was based purely on her improvement compared to where she was at the start of the year not how she was going compared to other children in her class. It was all about the effort she had made.

Borntobeamum Tue 25-Jun-13 08:44:41

I think that every child should get a reward for turning up!
The teacher could choose a day where EVERY CHILD Attended. She could print a small certificate and announce every child to collect it.

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Tue 25-Jun-13 09:46:38

I'm slightly on the fence here.

I agree 100% with you BeeMom about the effort some children make and how their achievements are amazing but may not be recognised as a 'traditional' achievement. It is unfair and yet another one of the small pieces of injustice that children with additional needs have to cope with.

And don't get me started on the attendance awards bollocks which directly discriminate against children with health problems. Utterly ridiculous in my opinion.

My fence-perching stems from the fact that I do think it's admirable of local businesses to encourage and reward children who do well in school and I suppose that a grade on a report card is the easiest way for them to 'see' achievement as they obviously won't know the story behind each child.

Some children may not have any health problems or physical / cognitive disabilities but may have a very difficult and chaotic home life and an A grade may be a huge achievement for them. So I'm on the fence.

For our children, recognising their achievements comes down to us again. For this reason I've recently re-started an activity that I'm not very good at but do enjoy. I had given up! I want to be able to show bluechick in the future that achievement is both personal and subjective - I may have come last but I've done well for me and most importantly, I've enjoyed myself. So if you're having fun doing something it doesn't matter what other people think - come last with pride!

What does Bee think about her report? Has she picked up on the unfairness?

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 25-Jun-13 10:09:24

I'd just ignore that nonsense and ask her what she wanted. I might prep a local friendly business and pay in advance, but you might find that they are helpful and waive the fee.

I'd also frame the report and cover it with stars and point it out to every visitor so that she knows how proud YOU are. That's got to be worth more than a magazine - surely.

ouryve Tue 25-Jun-13 12:17:40

It's not just you. I'd be similarly gutted for DS2. He's made more progress this year than imaginable (yy to finally eating certain motivating foods with a spoon and yy to sorta writing his name, if you hold his hand steady and encourage him to move from left to right) and he'd get nothing out of such a scheme, either.

BeeMom Tue 25-Jun-13 12:22:27

Ignoring the nonsense is tough when the promotions are being announced on the radio etc...

If businesses want to recognise children based on their effort, I'd rather see vouchers given to the teachers, who can tuck them quietly into the envelopes with the children's reports whose hard work they feel deserves recognition...

I can tell you with absolute certainty that not every student who gets straight A's works for them - I didn't study at all, wrote almost every assignment at the last minute and still sat consistently at the very top of my class. Students like me don't deserve recognition, they need challenge.

All Bee asked about her report was "but where are my A's? I worked so hard!"

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Tue 25-Jun-13 12:26:46

Oh BeeMom, that's so sad that Bee has asked about her A grades. Could you have a word with her teacher?

Your voucher idea is excellent, worth mentioning I'm sure. I bet some of the teachers have their misgivings about the system as it stands.

And tell Bee she sounds like she's done incredibly well and here's some flowers from bluechick.

pannetone Tue 25-Jun-13 12:58:03

That is tough on you and Bee if promotions for A grade students are being announced on the radio. No wonder poor Bee is asking where 'her' A grades are! Surely there must be other parents with hard-working, effort-making, but-never-going-to-get-an-A-grade students who think this 'pay for A's' culture sucks? And I know as a parent of SN chilldren you have plenty of other battles to fight, but the unfairness needs challenging.

I could offer Bee a whole pack of biscuit biscuit biscuit biscuit biscuit biscuit biscuit biscuit biscuit biscuit biscuit or maybe she'd like some tennis tennis tennis tennis tennis tennis!

BeeMom Tue 25-Jun-13 14:22:42

I have been thinking that I might throw a little party for the girls on Brigid's Special Olympics team after the provincial competition. These kids work harder than many I know and are dedicated competitors (at least one will be competing internationally in 2015). There is also a good chance that not one of them has ever seen an A on their report cards.

Definitely this sucks - and if you bring it up in "polite company", especially if you don't preface it with any sort of details of your own DC's strengths and challenges, you'll hear the whole litany of they expect special treatment and they don't deserve it without the marks (and all the other anti-SN diatribe bullshit ).

Want to test my theory? Post an AIBU on the topic...

nostoppingme Tue 25-Jun-13 14:42:04

One day, I decided to mention to the SENCo and classroom teacher that my son had never received a headteacher's award and how unfair this actually was especially as he had not an ounce of self esteem left in his body. He has always been a well behaved kid at school, his only issue is severe specific learning difficulties.

Low and behold, he got a Headteacher's award the following day - 4 years he had been at the school, 4 friggin years.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, pathetic system.

nostoppingme Tue 25-Jun-13 14:44:18

I made a point to say, give him an award or something at least for his good behaviour. He always did his utmost best, not his fault the way they teach at his school, is only for neuro typical children.

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Tue 25-Jun-13 14:51:41

Party sounds like a great idea BeeMom, I'm sure they'd all love it! You could get the MNSN board to post messages of congratulations to read out to these young Olympians!

BeeMom Tue 25-Jun-13 15:47:39

That would be fab smile The team competes July 11-14, I think I'll do it the following weekend (and, it'll have the benefit of bringing the team together during the "off" season).

Super idea, Bluebird, thanks grin

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Tue 25-Jun-13 16:09:44

Yay! What sport does Bee compete in?

MumuDeLulu Tue 25-Jun-13 16:11:51

Many years ago, when the mountains were young, and the dew was fresh, we used to get two separate grades for every subject.

One for achievement, one for effort.
Both were celebrated.

pannetone Tue 25-Jun-13 16:35:29

But the 'effort' grades can be a tad subjective MumuDeLulu - see this thread It has certainly been the case that the effort my DS2 with HFA puts in isn't recognised - due to his social and communication difficulties he is never going to come across as enthusiastic and class participation is difficult for him. I feel it even more for DD with selective mutism, HFA and lots of anxiety - she can come across as withdrawn and at her worst, refusing to participate, but it's her anxiety that's the issue. She got low effort grades in her Y1 class from her teacher who also happened to be the SENCO sad.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 25-Jun-13 16:42:51

Yes, and the opposite. DS's school often say he is trying really hard when I know he's being a lazy arse!.

He's a cheeky 6 year old and understands more than he lets on in order to avoid demands.

He does a very convincing act or being unable to dress himself. His last school celebrated the fact that they had spent the year teaching him how to put his shoes on and he had finally grasped it, though I had video of him doing it two years previously.

When I told them that they didn't believe me at first. When I showed the video they changed the success criteria and said that they had taught him how to 'generalise' the skill outside of the home, yet he could put his shoes on at the swimming pool, camping etc.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Tue 25-Jun-13 17:01:20

Setting aside 'Is it a good scheme or not' - if that's how the 'local area' works - assuming your school is aware/involved with this, why is your school not including every chilld in that? Why are they not giving the children outside the 'regular' grading a grade based on their effort/achievements? It sounds like she deserves an A with regard to how well she has met her targets?

I would probably just tell her they'd missed her grade off and that you have asked them to send you an updated copy. Put a LARGE A+ on it and see what she would like as a reward - then do what someone else suggested and speak to the shop involved and if they are half decent they will give her the treat and if not, I'd pay in advance.

It's crap, but sometimes you have to pick your battles and frankly, I think sometimes it's better just to take the easy route when you can and save your energy for the bigger things sad x

BeeMom Wed 26-Jun-13 02:07:16

I know that it is best to pick my battles, which is why I am not pursuing this just moaning about it on here, instead

The report card is the Provincial standard... There is a tick box where the IEP is referenced, and then the automatic comment "Assessment is based upon the expectations of the IEP, which vary from the Grade 2 curriculum" is generated. Letter/percentage grades cannot then be entered, as they must fall within the standard grade curriculum to register. Stupid format.

Bluebird Bee is a rhythmic gymnast - this is her first year (she started in February, spent most of the month of March in the hospital and her first competition was in April and the learning curve for her is steep) but here is a video of her first routine in competition ever. She still has a coach guide but with a lot of work and practice, we hope she will be ready to qualify for Level 1 provincials in the next couple of years. She is more than 4 years younger than the next youngest team member, so there is definitely no rush. It'll be some years before she isn't the smallest competitor at every event she attends :D

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