11th grade slump? Any suggestions?

<p>So, today I got back from teacher conferences for my 11th grade D who has always been an A-B student. Much to my surprise, her English teacher showed me a test that she absolutely BOMBED!!!! Then her physics teacher told me about a test she absolutely BOMBED!!!! She seems to be holding her own in her other classes but I am completely stunned by these tests.
She is the type of kid who doesn't share alot, and if it weren't for interim reports and teacher conferences I do think I'd know what's going on.</p>

<p>Luckily, she's not home right now, because I have to calm down before I talk to her. I am just speechless now. I had thought that by 11th grade I shouldn't have to be checking her homework and helping her study. </p>

<p>Has this happened to any of your kids? I don't think there are drugs or anything like that involved, but who knows. I'd really appreciate any advice or guidance in how to help her.</p>

<p>Well there could be a lot of reasons. Boyfriend issues, substance abuse, too many AP/honors classes, social problems, and I guess the list goes on. You really need to sit and talk with her to find out. Physics is a tough class for many kids without other issues. This is not the end of the world and you need to figure out all of the issues together in order to help her succeed.</p>

<p>I'm sorry about the bad news. I would suggest trying to be as non-judgmental and as calm as possible and asking her what is going on in her classes. Is she over her head in these two classes? Should she drop down a bit? Has she got study skills deficit? Or are there some other issues she would like to share with you? Don't assume a priori that she is not doing her homework or that something nefarious is going on. Try to sound sympathetic and supportive and lead her to confide in you. Tell her as well it's still early in the year, and she can still catch up and perform well. Give her hope that she can make it.</p>

<p>Bombing one test (even in two classes) doesn't necessarily indicate any deep problems. Perhaps she didn't have time to study (were the tests on the same day?) or the tests were substantially harder than normal. For example, I bombed a chemistry pretest with a 52 and got a 103 on the test. Wide fluctuations in grades are possible and maybe even normal.</p>

<p>Junior year is the hardest year of high school for most kids, at least at schools around here. It is definitely ramped up from freshman/sophomore years in the difficulty of classes and the amount of homework (except in cases of those kids who take advanced classes sooner than the norm). She may be temporarily overwhelmed. </p>

<p>My D is a junior, and her load is definitely much heavier than it has ever been this year, and the pressure is on because what happens this year really affects the 'ol college search next year, you know? She is doing fine, so far, but has had some pretty strange brain farts in math class lately. Doing simple things wrong, that sort of thing. She is kind of frustrated by it, but hey, it happens. </p>

<p>Anyway, if your D needs help, help her, and be encouraging. If she can make it through this year successfully, next year should be easier.</p>

<p>Encourage her to go talk to each of the teachers to go over the test and find out what she did wrong. Do these teachers offer extra help sessions? If so, encourage her to go.</p>

<p>I have taught chemistry and physics for many years and have observed that junior year is often the year when hard work alone starts to fail students as a learning method. It's not enough to memorize the material, understanding it is key. And, unfortunately, understanding is often a struggle. She may find that physics go better if she studies with some friends, especially if she can find someone who thinks physics is really cool and really easy--because that's the person who understands the material intuitively.</p>

<p>I am a junior this year and I can personally vouch for how difficult it has been. There are some days where it is difficult enough to simply get out of bed, let alone go to school and take the daily tests that I seem to be having. My suggestion to you is to talk to her, but at an opportune time. I know all too well, that my parents hounding me about my grades this year just leads to increased stress and pressure for me; granted I am taking above the average courseload, am at school from 6:30 to about 5:00 pretty much everyday due to activities, and then have eight IB/AP classes of homework to do nightly. I know that this is the first year that I have had to actually study for tests and actually try hard in order to maintain the grades that I want, and the pressure of college looming around the corner is definitely on. I know that thankfully I have been able to adjust and I have been motivated to try my hardest, but a number of my usually "A/B" friends have seen definite changes in their grades this year (we just got report cards two weeks ago) and are shocked to see that their grades are now "C's and D's". Have your daughter seriously consider whether her courseload is too difficult, or perhaps too strenuous for her (also take into consideration where she wants to go to college, there is no point in killing yourself playing the GPA game if you just want to go to a state university). Or perhaps your daughter just needs to realize, as I did, that this year is not a regular year, it's not as easy as the last two have been, and actually requires an incredible amount of work and effort. Another thing to remember: when did school start for you? Maybe your D just needs to find study habits and methods that work for this year and to balance everything that life is throwing at her. I suggest that you relax and approach your D calmly, remember that 2 bombed tests do not necessarily mean that an A or a B is not attainable in these classes - everyone bombs tests their junior years, it simply happens....the point is to make sure it doesnt happen again, and to work hard in order to make sure that she does receive that A or B that she is fully capable of.</p>


nunofyer, as the mom of one of these kids I have a couple of suggestions. Did the teachers in question have any insights? If you were too shellshocked to pursue that line, you might email or call them to followup. I found (altho on a totally different type of matter) that the School Social Worker at our hs was an Excellent resource. She is on the scene and can discreetly see what's going on - who kid is hanging out with...; she can directly or indirectly chat with faculty; she knows the culture of the school etc, and of course she specializes in the issues of kids this age. If you are fortunate to have such a resource, I would use it.</p>

<p>nuno, My daughter--a junior--is having the same type of problems. She has bombed on a couple of tests, maybe more. Just from watching her I know she studies and spends hours on homework. There's barely any time for anything else. The work is overwhelming right now and darn hard. I try to help her stay organized and I provide encouragement. I don't really know what else there is to do--I sometimes wish she would/could relax once in a while and have a little fun.</p>

<p>Its just two tests and I am guessing two of the first ones she has had. Typically the first test is a transitional test as different teachers have a different style of testing. For example I scored in the 70s on my first apbio exam this year because the teacher is very, very specific with her questions and never taking a bio class resulted in this. </p>

<p>The best thing to do would be to tell the student to talk to the teacher, explain what happened and see if its possible to possibly drop that grade. Many people are almost scared of talking to teachers for some unusual reason. However, if all other stuff (criteria, behavious is on line) then the teacher will drop or weigh the bombed test less if the subsequent ones are good. </p>

<p>Best of luck.</p>

<p>I myself get bad grades in the fall semester (b-,b) spring semester have been al a's so far. my parents realized that and that is what may be happening with your daughter although i only passes 1 class 1st marking period i dont even worry i catch on and will most liekly finish with a b ot a b- dont take that too seriously. but you have to tlak to find out the only way to understant what is ogign on</p>

<p>My D had a bad week and failed 3 quizes. She was devastated and ended up in the vice principal's office in tears. We talked about things (unlike your D she feels the need to share <em>everything</em>) and changed her approach to studying. </p>

<p>Last year she was in classes that she breezed through and didn't have to study. We've increased the difficulty of her classes and she needed to learn how to study to learn the material. What helps for her is to make lots of flash cards. Her Dad and I would go over the flash cards with her. Also on the day of a test that she feels unsure of she gets up a little early and goes over the material one more time. It's helping and she's done very well on the quizes and tests that she's taken since then.</p>

<p>Hopefully, things are going to straighten out soon. Junior year is so hard. Also I've felt that how subjects are approached change. Instead of just having to know the material, they have to interpret and apply the material. It's a hard adjustment and takes time.</p>

<p>I know from personal experience physics can be conceptually difficult. I also took it as a high school junior with all senior honor students and couldn't pass a test to save my life. My dad and I had a meeting with the teacher, he made a few suggestions and shortly thereafter it clicked. I got a 90 on the midterm and he gave me a 90 in the class (keep in mind all my previous tests were failures). I wound up doing even better second semester and acing it in college. So I do recommend you stay calm at this point and work with your daughter and the teacher to have her improve (assuming there are no overiding personal or psychological issues).</p>

<p>I have been horrified more than once at the midpoint of a quarter, only to find that every time my kids snatched victory from the jaws of defeat! I've got a kid in a top ten college majoring in a field in which his first AP mid-quarter grade was a 67 - but he ended up with the highest mark in the class.</p>

<p>Junior year IS a nightmare, and for all my kids it was the hardest year. Unfortunately, it is also the worst time to slip or slack off, as that is the last full year the college sees at app time, whether ED or RD.</p>

<p>So take the advice of the people above and (kindly, gently) get cracking! She needs to get over the slump NOW! It is not too late.</p>

<p>Another suggestion is to go over each class with your daughter and decide if it might be good to drop down a level if she is actually in over her head. My son had a horrible Junior year that started off bad and did NOT get better. I wish we had dropped him down from honors physics to regular physics. He struggled the whole year and the end was not a good one. He wasn't used to doing badly and convinced himself that he would be able to get his grade up.</p>

<p>Thanks for all of your excellent advice. We've talked and have identified some areas where she can improve. I'm actually going to have the teacher check the scantron again to make sure that there was not a mistake there since he did share that others did not do well on the exam. I just read an awful story about some seniors in VA whose exit exams were marked incorrectly they were not able to graduate. (When the mistake was discovered it was too late, so they were offered $5,000 scholarships). So the scantrons do make mistakes. But I also feel that she needs to find an enhanced method of studying and she needs to talk to the teacher about the problems she is encountering. I'm trying to keep things in perspective, gpa-wise and otherwise. She is planning on going the state school route, so no need to be in the top 5%. Thanks for the feedback.</p>

<p>You sound a little bit more at ease. I hope everything goes well. It is a shame that the teacher did not let you know that many students had trouble with the material on a particular test. It probably upset you more than was necessary.</p>

<p>My feeling has always been that if many students perform poorly on a test, then the teacher did not present the material clearly. Of course, you can't say that to the teacher, but maybe he'll get the idea. I hate to criticize teachers because I think it's such a tough job.</p>



<p>That depends on a lot of other factors,
such as are students actually doing ALL of their hw & review problems, class attendance/notes taking, etc.
If not, can't blame test scores on teachers!</p>