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Since when is an A- “failing?”

one1ofeachone1ofeach 760 replies17 threads Member
I confess I’ve been reading chance me threads and I find myself getting annoyed with kids constantly saying “I got an A-, OMG I did so badly, does this ruin my chances?”

Since when is an A- a bad grade?

Is grade inflation so extensive in schools today that an A- is not good enough anymore?

I have to say when I see all the 98/99 grades I roll my eyes a bit assuming that is a result of grade inflation or lack of rigor. I just don’t see how you can be academically challenged AND “perfect” at the same time
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Replies to: Since when is an A- “failing?”

  • CTMom21CTMom21 531 replies2 threads Member
    I also wonder where kids are getting the script in their head that anything less than perfect is failure. Parents, I assume? Teachers? My perspective is a little different with two kids who struggled early on with ADHD and one with pretty significant LDs; you learn to understand who they are and appreciate things other than stats. But in any case, the perfection message is damaging, and to the extent it’s due to grade inflation, that bothers me as well. My kids have never been in the public schools, but I hear about grade inflation from parents (and in elite colleges too). What happened to school being intended to teach, challenge, and support. I could go on and on.

    I guess the positive spin is that these stand-out kids aren’t sufficiently challenged and are looking for a more challenging HS environment. All good so long as expectations are adjusted.
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  • 417WHB417WHB 191 replies4 threads Junior Member
    The chances threads are like twilight zone for me, but some of the advice of the old timers here is quite suspect also. Stuff like you need 500 hours of community service or strong leadership to get into one of the top boarding schools. I know a bunch of kids (mine included) who did not have that and got into top colleges, let alone high schools. There is no leadership to be had at most middle schools in NYC, and good luck finding a place that allows 13 yo to volunteer. A couple of school organized outings to clean up a park or make sandwiches for homeless shelter is as good as it gets. Yet kids got into top boarding schools, including Andover/Exeter etc. Mine had a couple Bs on transcript even, so what? And now I can see that while there are fair number of academic superstars at the school, there are also a ton of kids who are good students but decidedly not superstars. And again, while there are kids doing a zillion things most have a thing or two they are really focused on and that's that. No mile long resume. So I would advice anyone to take what they read with a grain of salt, there are kids who haven't saved the world (yet!) who are getting into great schools, and killing it there.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 22707 replies238 threads Senior Member
    My best advice: Just stay out of the chances threads completely.

    That said, yes to humble bragging, grade inflation, and familial pressure all being factors.
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  • tdy123tdy123 1035 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Since when is an A- "failing?"

    Seriously, where have you been the last few decades?

    When the single digit admit rate schools each have an average HS GPA for first year admitted students of 3.90 or higher, an A- can feel like a disaster for a highly stressed kid who's parents have had them firmly on the best nursery school, best pre-K, best elementary school, best middle school, best high school to get in to the best college path since they were in diapers.



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  • mondaydevilmondaydevil 179 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Grade inflation is very real at my school. 20% of my grade was on highest honors last year, which requires a GPA of 4.0+.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1810 replies13 threads Senior Member
    The schools have created this problem by passing out too many A's. Puts all kids actually earning A's/A- at a distinct disadvantage. Colleges can't discern fully whose hard-working and who is coming from easy A high school. Add in the bent, that many don't even accept test scores and you have a real issue.

    Then add in state schools accepting kids primarily on the basis of GPA as a cutoff point.
    Also parents of these perfectionist kids are insane. They check their kids' grades on every paper and test since the kids were in grade school online. My parents never checked anything. I don't either. I read the report card. That's it. And mainly, I'm looking at the comments.
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5479 replies261 threads Senior Member
    edited January 17
    Shut your ears to this nonsense and teach your kids the right lessons. That anything less than an A is failure ain't one of them.

    "Did you do your best?" is what we wanted our son to ask himself. If so, pat on the back no matter the grade/outcome. If not, he knew what he needed to do.
    edited January 17
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 760 replies17 threads Member
    ^^I am very similar. I will ask how a test went meaning "do you feel ok about it?" I have no idea what my kids are getting unless they bring it up or at term end reading the report card. I also am far more interested in the comments because I am looking to see if the teacher really "gets" my kids which is my main concern.

    My son admitted to me this morning that he is super stressed about college. He's a sophomore. I don't know how to convince him to relax and enjoy highschool (as much as it can be enjoyed).
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  • CTMom21CTMom21 531 replies2 threads Member
    Exactly, @1ofeach — one of my favorite things about both kids’ schools is the teachers who really know and get my kids, including recognizing their challenges but holding them accountable to do THEIR best. At the same time, I know DS has the resources available to get at least a B or B- in a class where he really struggles; part of the BS experience is finding a way to use those resources when needed and recognizing when he needs to put in the extra time on what’s hard, unpleasant as it is.

    It was very surprising when DS said last year (sophomore) that he was very stressed about college — he’s not a kid to look to far ahead or stress about things. But it’s all around them, and it’s a big thing hanging out there. Fast-forward a year, and although he stresses about individual things (like standardized tests, where he doesn’t do well), the college process is under control. Everyone goes to college and most end up doing very well, and everyone has their own path.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2633 replies6 threads Senior Member
    edited January 17
    I wish kids would just focus on being themselves rather than try to out-do each other in extracurricular activities in hopes of having a competitive edge. It really does these kids a disservice. Normal healthy, well-balanced teenagers don't spend all of their evenings and weekends away from their family saving trees or donating to breast cancer. They go on dates, break speed limits, and toilet paper houses. Some have been known to sneak out of the house to go to unapproved rock concerts. Was I really that young?
    edited January 17
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