“I just checked NetClassroom and have a ‘C’ – What does it mean?”  As a 5th grade teacher, I often hear this question.  Cumulative grades are one new part of the academic story for 5th graders to understand.

Letter grades tell a story about student performance on homework, quizzes, tests, labs, and class participation.  In general, an “A” suggests a strong understanding of the material covered with few or no mistakes.   A “B” shows a good understanding of the material; a “C” means average.  Earning a “D” suggests a poor understanding of the material, and an “F” shows there is much to learn and clarify around a skill or topic.

With NetClassroom, each assignment and assessment grade is weighted and averaged into a cumulative grade that reflects student performance over each quarter and semester during the school year.  In 5th grade, quizzes and tests are a lower portion of the cumulative grade than in the upper grades.  Class participation, focus, preparedness, and homework are also part of the cumulative grade.

At the beginning of the grading period, only having one or two grades in the grade book means that a missed assignment or a lower grade on an assignment or quiz can give you a shockingly low average.  As the quarter proceeds, however, there will be many more opportunities to gain a better understanding of the topic and earn higher marks to reflect this.  Completing a missed assignment without delay will increase the average grade quickly.  A lower grade due to being late, studying the wrong material for a test or quiz or managing time poorly and completing an assignment poorly are all valuable if a student learns how to improve his or her personal organization or choices for the next time.  Grades in middle school are a helpful measure of understanding, but often a lower grade results in the greatest opportunity for learning!

At Harrisburg Academy, we are fortunate to be surrounded by highly successful, hardworking, intelligent students, parents, teachers, grandparents, and friends.  Do your best and be true to yourself.  Rather than focusing on the letter grades, be sure you are pleasing yourself with your performance and the joy of learning.