Language & Composition

Mr. Eure | Brewster High School

Grade Abatement: Q3

Note: Based on a few conversations I’ve had with you, I’d like to expand the soft cap of these grade abatement responses to 500 words. Aim for between 250 and 500; if you go a bit over, that’s okay, too. Just honor the intentions of the exercise: Be succinct and selective in your insights.

Another note: Joey Blasco in ninth period pointed me in the direction of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which gives a name to one of the phenomena I’ve been describing to you. That entry is worth your time, especially as we continue our conversation beyond Tuesday’s writing; it neatly summarizes why some of you can’t help but overrate your ability and performance.

Read the post before this one again. The document on grade abatement has been updated; you also can load it by clicking here. The student profiles (and only the student profiles) have been posted after the jump.

Wait until Tuesday before sharing your Q3 scores and justifications with me; in the meantime, keep reviewing all of this information. The more thought and time you put into this, the easier and more rewarding this process will be. Remember two things:

  1. This is about helping you to be honest and accurate about your hard work and progress (or lack thereof); as long as you are honest, specific, and thorough, you will learn a lot from the self-assessment process.
  2. It is a process, and it is a carefully controlled and regulated one. I will be monitoring and helping you; if you have any questions, get them to me right away.

Spend some more time reflecting first, write a lengthy draft second, and then distill those notes and that general thinking to a 500-word (or so; there is no hard cap) justification. Then we’ll talk.

STUDENT PROFILES

A. EFFECTIVE / EXCEPTIONAL

Scale Equivalent

Letter (A-F)

AP (1-5)

DAMAGES (1-9)

Numerical (50-99)

A

5

8-9

90-99

These are very strong readers, thinkers, and communicators in virtually all facets, from individual essay writing—among this group are essays that already look and feel polished and professional—to online commentary and discussion with peers. They collaborate extensively and effectively, in and out of class, in various ways. They ask the right questions of peers and their teacher, and they do so at the right time; they even conference when necessary, taking time out of their schedules to write emails or sit with me for advice and clarification. Their analytical work is also exemplary, and when they struggled slightly, they pushed until they understood the mechanisms of that sort of test. This is the group that pushes itself to do more than what is required, and does so for personal edification and enrichment. These students might write two classification and division essays, just to try out a different thesis, or take on the stress and pressure of publishing peers’ essays online. They are autodidactic, curious, thoughtful, mature students. They see that there is always room for improvement and always more to do and learn, so there is little or no complacency or self-assuredness in their reflections or metacognitive writing.

B. ADEQUATE / ABOVE-AVERAGE

Scale Equivalent

Letter (A-F)

AP (1-5)

DAMAGES (1-9)

Numerical (50-99)

B

4

6-7

80-89

The next tier—students who can argue for a score between 80-89—have done all of the work at the pace required, missed nothing, and generally performed well on all assignments and assessments. They’ve been adequate at all times. If they are ever off-task during a class period, they immediately recognize and correct themselves, and that is a commendable thing. They are curious and invested in all that we do. Most importantly they avoid the limitations of the average student (see below.)

C. LIMITED / AVERAGE

Scale Equivalent

Letter (A-F)

AP (1-5)

DAMAGES (1-9)

Numerical (50-99)

C

3

5

70-79

Limited students are off-task during the class period often enough to create a pattern. They might read ESPN, talk about their recent trip to China or Dublin, or recount last night’s play rehearsal. They don’t always complete reading or outlining in preparation for class, so they often find themselves behind the adequate and effective students. They also struggle more with reading and writing. This is the group that produces weaker essays and performs less strongly on analytical assignments. They may need help to understand directions or texts for assignments. They tend to work less effectively with others and may not take criticism well. Their saving grace is that they demonstrate effort and strength in some area—enough to say that they are learning.

D. INADEQUATE / LACKING

Scale Equivalent

Letter (A-F)

AP (1-5)

DAMAGES (1-9)

Numerical (50-99)

D

2

3-4

60-69

These are the students who have not submitted assignments, or whose output is lacking or incomplete. They do not enter many collaborative forums, choosing habitually to ignore group discussions online and in class. They waste our time together even more than their limited classmates. In fact, they tend to disengage in class—often by gossiping or becoming distracted by unrelated things online for massive chunks of the period. Their analytical work is lacking, too, with weaknesses in close reading, comprehension, and specific assignments like multiple-choice passages. These are also students whose approach to reading lacks discipline; they do not annotate (or they annotate haphazardly), and their retention of ideas in the reading is minimal. They often lose track of why we are doing what we do (e.g., forgetting about the “Aegis and Efficacy” documents) and fail to make the necessary connections.

F. INEFFECTIVE / LITTLE SUCCESS

Scale Equivalent

Letter (A-F)

AP (1-5)

DAMAGES (1-9)

Numerical (50-99)

F

1

1-2

50-59

A student in this category will have been spoken to before any sort of grade abatement takes place. If you have to ask, it doesn’t apply to you—although inadequate students may be on the cusp…

One of those fits you. After you’ve looked back closely at the quarter, after you’ve conducted your version of the rhinoceros test, and after you’ve applied Occam’s razor, you will give me the information I need to help you arrive at the right one. But here is another hard truth: The best students often fail to see their strengths, while less effective students tend to ignore their weaknesses. Neither is acceptable, so:

  • · 2001970
  • · 9716444
  • · 11475
  • · 9714903
  • · 9715304
  • · 9716347
  • · 9716371
  • · 9718002
  • · 9716074
  • · 11440
  • · 9713750

These students have all earned the right to a 90 or higher this quarter. The rest of you probably (almost definitely) have not. Try to deduce the reasons why before I have to speak directly with you; it will save you time and frustration. It might only be an addiction to inflated grades that tells you not to accept anything below a 90[1].

And remember: Most of you are doing phenomenal work under this new paradigm, and we won’t have to talk about any of this except in a positive, collaborative way. Use this guide as it is intended, think back to what we’ve been doing all year, and you will be fine.


[1] A small number of you—maybe three or four—are on the cusp of effectiveness, but it will take a convincing argument to justify moving you to this list. I will listen to those arguments, but know this: If you find yourself grasping for reasons to justify the score you want, that probably isn’t the score you deserve.

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