The Life and Grades of a Fifth Grader

At the beginning of this school year, I made an agreement with CootieBoy that if he made the honor roll every quarter at school this year that I’d let him get an X-box next summer. He has been working so hard these past nine weeks and his final grades were given out this weekend.

His first quarter grades were: 98 (Science), 98 (Social Studies), 94 (ELA) and…84 (Math).

That 84 in Math is one single point away from being a B.

What’s tricky is that out of 23 individual grades received in that subject during the quarter, his average is actually 87.5%, which is a B. But the teacher weights different projects in that subject.

But that’s not all – a few weeks ago the teacher sent out an email stating that she was changing the way she teaches math because so many kids were struggling (which was true – The Boy got two 60s in a row just before she made the switch). Had she done this a week earlier, I’ve no doubt his official grade would be a B because he would have not gotten the two 60s. Since she made the switch he has gotten 100s on every single math project. And, as I said, even with the two 60s if you don’t weight the projects differently, his average is 87.5%.

Another sticky wicket is that if you average his four individual grades for Math, ELA, Science and Social Studies, he has a 93.5% average – which is a high B (94 is an A). But the school doesn’t do it that way – they expect an A or B in each class to make the honor roll.

One more thing I’ll add – CootieBoy is definitely a rewards-based kid. If he thinks he can earn something awesome in return for extreme effort, he’ll do it. But the minute he realizes he has no chance? All bets are off and he won’t put in ANY effort. I pity the future employer that doesn’t reward his endless overtime with a pay raise, bonus or flex time. *lol*

So what would you do?

Would you:

A) put an asterisk by the first quarter and acknowledge that he WOULD have had a B if the teacher had changed her teaching method one week sooner?

B) accept his math average as an unweighted average of all his grades – making his grade an 87.5% instead of the 84% reflected on his report card?

C) wait until the end of the year and see if his end grades for the YEAR are As and Bs?

D) say he can’t earn the reward at all since he got an 84 in math this quarter?

I honestly don’t know what to do. I want to keep him motivated – he’s been doing so well – but I truly never thought he would get a C this year because of the work he’s doing. And not only doing it, but doing it on his own – his teacher gives very little homework, but what homework he gets he does in a timely manner and without protest (a pleasant change from prior years).

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If you liked that post, read on...

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The Difference A Day Makes on June 9th, 2009


  1. The objective is getting and keeping him motivated. I’d suggest you tell him that you are willing to ignore the C in Math in the first quarter as long as the rest of the year he works hard and gets As or high Bs.

  2. A friend on Facebook suggested having him pay for a portion if the xbox for every point his grade is below a b. For example, $10 per point. So right now he pays $10 toward the console. If he gets two 83s next quarter, he owes another $40 towards the console. I like that idea.

  3. I agree with “Babe”, it’s all about motivation and keeping him focused on the task at hand. He’s doing really well, trying very hard and overall his grades are very impressive. Plus he does his homework without complaint and is overall a good kid.
    See how the rest of the year pans out. Teachers can be at fault also with regards to their teaching styles, I’ve seen this firsthand with my children.

  4. I vote for “C” sounds like he’s really trying and giving it his all, this will keep him motivated to keep up the good work. Would hate to see him miss out on an Xbox on a Minor technicality and in just one subject.

  5. We’ve decided to go with the payment option – any point below a B means he pays some $$ towards the Xbox. However, he asked for the amount to be $5, and I told him $10. We settled on $7. So right now he owes me $7 toward the Xbox. We have told his teacher (his parent-teacher conference was this week) so she is aware of our plan – not that it’ll change his grades, but so she can encourage him appropriately if he starts slacking off in class.

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