The faculty of St. Patrick School believes that while grades monitor progress, learning during the elementary years should be less about grades and more about experiencing joy and discovery in learning.
Grading is the structure that enables a parent and a student to monitor progress, make adjustments in study habits, and strive for academic achievement.
While letter grades are readily “measureable”, and parents who grew up with letter grades have a sense of familiarity with the traditional “A’s B’s and C’s, grades do present some concerns:
- Too much emphasis on grades can actually interfere with learning and make children anxious, as opposed to eager, about their learning.
- The Archdiocesan grading scale is challenging. For an elementary school in the Archdiocese, a 90% is a “B”. An “A-” at a Catholic high school is 90%. An 83% is a “B” in public schools and in all high schools, yet for our students, an “83%” is a C+. Throughout your child’s education at St. Patrick School, the importance of taking responsibility for completing homework and for doing one’s best is consistently emphasized.
The faculty and I encourage you and your child to incorporate the following into your conversation about grades:
- Celebrating his/her hard work
- Celebrating grades that reflect effort
- Reflecting on any areas for growth, possibly adjusting study habits
- Noting/discussing “Effort” and “Conduct” grades, as these grades generally dictate the core subject grades
Together we minimize the potential “stress” of report cards by “celebrating” with your child. Traditions around “celebrating” effort and hard work go a long way in supporting learning. Ultimately, as parents and educators, we want to encourage lifelong learning, “beyond grades”.
- As a matter of interest, most of the Catholic schools in Marin, including St. Patrick School, wish to have students engaged in learning and not overly concerned about grades. Hence, many schools do not put grades online.
- The goal for our students is to embrace learning. Grades are important, but “doing one’s best” and “working hard” are most important.
- Good study habits and strong study skills are critical to success in high school and beyond.
The reassuring news is that our students’ grades have gone up or stayed the same when they move on to high school. This fact has been consistently documented over the years.
An education at St. Patrick School is a partnership. We look forward to working with you in providing a quality Catholic education within a caring, faith-filled parish-school community.