Are Elementary School Grades Really that Important?

I have a voicemail waiting for me when I return to school on Monday from a very angry parent.  She is upset after seeing her fourth grade son’s report card yesterday because his grades in reading and math went down from an A- to a B+.  Really?  Are elementary school grades really that important in a child’s life?

According to her message, this mom is especially upset because the teacher did not contact her to advise her that the grades were “dropping” this trimester.

So, I will need to call this parent on Monday to explain my points of view which include:

  • The student received all +’s in the more important areas of Work Habits and Socialization.  To me that is way more important than an A or a B.

  • I have instructed our teachers to contact parents when a child’s grade drops significantly (e.g. from an A to a C).  I agree that there should not be surprises for parents, and that a significant drop may signal an issue.

  • In my opinion, going from an A- to a B+ is not significant, especially at the end of the school year when the curriculum should be the most challenging for students.

  • This is elementary school.  A child’s grades have no impact on his future.  (Makes me wonder if the parent is internalizing this as if they are HER grades…)

I am interested if you agree or disagree with me on this issue.  What would you tell this parent on Monday?