Is Your Child Making the Grade?

|April 24, 2023 | Firm News

Do you know what “grades” represent in school? Generally, an “A” is great, and a “D” or “F” is failing. What work or lack of work went into those simple letters?

Some schools do not give letter grades. They may provide an “O” for outstanding and “S” for satisfactory. Perhaps, your school gives numbers where a “5” is excellent and a “1” is poor performance. Again, what goes into these scales?

In the most recent U.S. Supreme Court case, the student was receiving “As” and was on the honor roll; however, he could not name many of the foods that he ate every day. (See Miguel Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools) So, again, I ask, what level of work goes into grades or scales of performance?

Some teachers allow their students to correct mistakes on tests and homework for extra credit. Other assignments may be given to students for extra credit to boost grades. Perhaps, a teacher forgives an assignment that a student missed, so the grade appears higher even though the child did not complete the work.

There are many factors that go into grades, so no one should hang their backpack on grades. Instead, it is important to know what the child is learning. Redoing a test or assignment helps the child master necessary skills. A child may have the ability to memorize and regurgitate on a test, but are they comprehending what they are memorizing for future application?

A student should never be denied an evaluation for an IEP (individual education plan) or a 504 service plan because their grades are acceptable to the administrators. In fact, the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) mandates that a child be evaluated upon request “even though the child has not failed or been retained in a course or grade, and is advancing from grade to grade.” (See 34 CFR § 300.101(c))

We have seen students’ grades manipulated so the school districts can pass them through the system with the excuse that it is socially detrimental to fail them. The parents hired an advocate who assisted them in obtaining evaluations. Once students were evaluated and provided with proper support, the students blossomed and grew in ways that would never have occurred without an evaluation and IEP/504 plan.

Grades are simply one factor to look at when evaluating a student. More importantly, the schools need to evaluate a child for what they know rather than the scaled letter or number given to them by their teacher.

If you would like help with your child’s education, please reach out to us at or call (717) 221-8303.

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