Open Letter to Parents About Grading

Dear Parent,

Thanks so much for your concern about your student's performance. Have you looked at my web site and Disclosure Document? I do have sections on my web site that address my grading philosophy, grading criteria, and "talent," and possible lack of it.

To get an "A" your student will need to do "superior" work, as by definition, that is what an "A" means. Here are the grade codes used by the Davis County School District:

A: Superior

B: Good

C: Average

D: Poor

F: Failure

To be quite honest, a full credit score on an assignment will not happen unless the student meets the grading criteria in a "superior" fashion. Most student work is "good" or "average" and most students receive the letter grades that correspond to "good" and "average," which are "Bs" and "Cs."

Some students and parents will find themselves frustrated with my system of grading. But my most determined students will push themselves until they meet the criteria for an "A." Their "A" will actually mean "superior," instead of some inflated grade based on effort, or simply completion of the assignment.

Often parents state that their student did their best, spent hours on an assignment, or that it looks good to them (the parent), or that their student is not "talented," or that if their student tries hard they deserve an "A." They are equating "completion" with an "A," but remember, "completion" is not the same thing as "superior."

When parents and I cannot come to an understanding, I then offer them either my letter grade evaluation of their student's quality of work at the end of the term, or simply a "P" (provided the student has completed ALL assignments) which does not adversely affect their GPA.

If your student enjoys Art and wants to get better, he / she going to realize that the grades being earned are indications of his / her current level of performance, and possible need for improvement. If the "constructive criticism" indicated by the grade earned is too discouraging, it's possible that you and your student might want to look into a schedule change.

I'd invite you to take a look at the results of my grading system, by taking a look at the pages on this site that include artwork by students.


John Calvin