I recently received the following question (see the MAILBAG tab on the left to send your own):
For almost a year and half, grades in my 14 year old daughter's music class have been A to A+. Recently two very low discipline grades have been added causing her average grade to drop to a very low C. I do not feel this grade reflects her vocal ability which is the main objective of the class. Other teachers use the detention method to handle discipline issues. How else can discipline be effectively addressed in classroom?
This is a great question. The policy described here may be school directed, but I think it is a big mistake to include discipline as an official part of students' grades. Here are some reasons:
*Behavior is often too difficult to measure fairly and consistently.
*A teacher may grade behavior more harshly when they are in a bad mood.
*There are plenty of ways to come up with effective consequences that do not affect grading (including detentions and others)
*Different teachers may grade behavior drastically differently which would make comparison of grades for similar classes impossible.
*A college or employer looking at a grade for a particular subject would likely think the class only involved academic grading.
These are just a few reasons that quickly come to mind. Connecting behavior to grading is one of the issues high on my "hate" list when it comes to discipline. Don't go down this road if you have a choice.
On the other hand--if you are a parent, you probably don't have much say in the behavior plan used by the teacher. At most you may want to politely ask why this is a part of the grading system. If the teacher will not change it, then you would be doing your child a favor by encouraging her to remember that behavior is included in the grading and that she should do all she can to excel in this area as well. Sometimes students just have to adjust to the teacher, even if they don't agree with everything the teacher does.
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