Letter grades are bullshit

They don’t tell you how much effort went into that subject. They don’t tell you that someone who really struggles with it gave it everything they had until they were mentally exhausted and couldn’t get it quite right. They don’t tell you that someone actually gained more ability than anyone else. That’s right, they put in the most work but didn’t get the best grade.

That’s Kid #4/Girl. Boys #2 and #3 had straight As. Boy #2 screwed around in virtual school last year and got some Ds and Fs. He has had a sudden vision into his future and realized that he is smart enough to put in minimal work to complete all of his school work AND get straight As. This last marking period, he accomplished just that, straight As in every subject. Boy #3 works hard and does well in most subjects. He just doesn’t care for group work but excels in just about every subject. He does work hard and teachers have praised him as respectful, kind, and always doing his best.

Girl is a genius with math. She’s taught herself fractions and division seems to be really easy for her right now too. I really don’t need to explain things to her more than once before the light bulb goes off and she’s got it. But reading is hard for her. Like really hard. She can read the words easily, with great accuracy. But her comprehension is way behind. She reads all these complex words but has no idea what she’s just read. Her spelling isn’t great either but she’s trying really hard with that too. She finished all of her math homework for the week already. Her teachers say she is a hard worker, very intelligent, always helping her classmates, has great problem solving skills, and is one of their favorites. And she has two As, one B, and one C because her spelling and reading scores are sometimes low. But I have seen so much progress in that work already. She is working on her spelling tests on her own, studying as much as she can, listening to her teacher and never ever giving up. So her grades don’t reflect the work she’s put into school already this year. Because she is the youngest, she saw me high five and compliment her brothers and then it’s all, “Hey good job on your two As and your B. And I already knew about your reading grade and we and your teacher are very proud of how far you’ve come.”

What a huge let down for a kid that has ALWAYS given her best effort. She managed herself with virtual school last year as a third grader. She got 95% of her work done without me having to make her get it done. She’s just a good kid, always has been (except for 6 months between two and three years old when we fought nearly every day.)

We are planning to have her evaluated for dyslexia. If that’s what’s going on, we can help her and so can the school. But I want her to have the joy of straight As, of doing her very best and seeing those amazing letter grades just like her older brothers. I don’t want there to be another scale for her that is different because she’s struggling. I hate hate HATE this part of parenting. Watching your kid work so much harder than her brothers and getting lower grades. It doesn’t seem fair and even though life isn’t fair, I want to show her that hard work does pay off and hard work does mean success. But for now, it looks like it doesn’t. It looks like lower grades and nothing to show for it. I don’t necessarily want her to have dyslexia, but at the same time, it would be a relief because she tries so hard and should have the grade that shows how hard she works, not how much harder this is for her than everyone else.

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