Snapper is a great student with an amazing work ethic. She does her homework thoroughly and with excellence. She had a rough transition into 5th grade this year, and it took her a month to figure out how to properly budget her time so she could complete her homework and turn it in on time. Unfortunately, her teachers this year extend zero grace. If the homework is even one day late, they receive a 0 for it. And they sit out recess the next day. I agree. 5th graders must learn to be responsible for their work. And I disagree. A 5th grader is still a child. Not even my college professors were that harsh with grading. Late work typically lost a letter grade per day late. Snapper had worked out the kinks in the homework now, and she has figured out her schedule. However, she did not receive full credit for her first month of homework, which hurt her grades a little bit.
Determined to overcome her rocky start, she put a tremendous amount of effort into her social studies group project, an artifacts box about the Mayan civilization. She spent many hours online reading and researching. She did a beautiful job recreating artifacts to represent the culture. Matt and I worked with her to find accurate information sources. She did everything in her power to do an excellent job on her project. This was a group project. She called her group members and coordinated who was supposed to bring what. On a day when she and her group were not able to finish what they were working on in class, the teacher arranged for the group to come to school early to finish. Snapper was the only one who showed up. When she was concerned that her group members were not going to follow through with their parts of the project, she did extra work to make sure they had enough content for their artifacts box. She was right--the other two girls did not bring in what they were supposed to bring in, even though Snapper called to remind them. She received her score today. B-. 80/100 points.
Of course, I emailed the teacher to find out why. Snapper has always done nothing but excellent work on projects in the past. I could not for the life of me understand why she received a poor grade on a project she put so much effort into. It turns out they were graded as a whole group, not as individuals. This means that "Rachel" received 80/100 points for a project to which she contributed nothing. "Gloria" received 80/100 points for the sloppy, incomplete work she brought to the project. Snapper received 80/100 points for carefully crafted artifacts, a well-written report, neat penmanship, for completing the lion's share of the project as a whole, and for responsible leadership.
This is the first time in Snapper's school career in which I am upset over a grade. This is not right at all. Snapper has no control over the rest of her group. She did everything she could, and she did her portion with excellence.
Now how to handle it...