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Kinsa

What have you done to verify "mommy grades"?

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What types of things have you done to verify/prove the grades that you give to your children? Or do you bother with that at all? What gives credence to your assignment of grades for people looking at your transcript?

 

For example, let's say you have decided to give an "A" to your child in biology. How will a person who looks at your transcript know that your child actually did "A" level work, and not just "mommy loves child, so an A was given"?

 

(Am I making sense? :confused: )

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My children will take SAT 2's in several subjects. They will also take some classes as dually enrolled students at the local university.

 

I would think that good ACT/SAT scores, combined with a selection of SAT2's/college grades in a few subjects, provide a good overall picture of the applicant's academic abilities so that for the remaining subjects mommy grades which fit the picture will not be doubted.

I would also assume that a student's stellar mommy grades will not be taken very seriously if his standardized test scores are mediocre.

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I agree: great mommy grades with poor scores would be a red flag. We use college classes to prove what our kids can and have done. They've been well received everywhere they've applied.

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Agreeing with the PPs. I outsource (online or with a local tutor) many of my son's classes, but I still back up that grade with SAT subject tests, AP exams, community college classes, SAT/PSAT scores, etc.

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I agree: great mommy grades with poor scores would be a red flag. We use college classes to prove what our kids can and have done. They've been well received everywhere they've applied.

 

:iagree:Ditto . . . college classes and SAT/ACT scores.

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We're doing SAT2s and APs, but before that point there are also competitions and exams that can help corroborate grades. DS has done science fairs, math competitions (MathCounts, Math Olympiads, AMC exams), and history projects, as well as the National Latin Exam, National Mythology Exam, and Medusa Mythology Exam. The last two probably don't "count" for anything (and really none of them do in any serious material way...) but I like having that outside "mom wasn't even in the room" judgment to support what I say he can do.

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As my son doesn't test well when he has to adhere to a tight time limit (he has dyslexia), one reason we've decided to put him in school for the last 2.5 years of high school is to verify the mommy grades. Of course, it's not necessary to put the kid in school full time to achieve this.

 

What will be interesting (and distressing) will be if the school grades *don't* verify the mommy grades. I may even change the homeschool grades because, I mean, what do I know about grading?

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Like the others, my dc took the SAT or ACT test, and the scores correlated well with course grades on the transcript. My dc also took community college courses, and those grades were in line with courses on the transcript. Colleges have not questioned courses or grades at all.

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I think it's important to recognize that grades, no matter who gives them, are pretty subjective. Teachers have the flexibility to adjust grades, accept late work, inflate grades because they like a student, deflate grades because they don't like a student, or to give passing grades to a student the school wants to get rid of by graduating them. Principals probably are able to change the grades if they wanted to.

 

How does a college know that those sorts of things didn't happen at the brick and mortar school? They don't.

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I think it's important to recognize that grades, no matter who gives them, are pretty subjective. Teachers have the flexibility to adjust grades, accept late work, inflate grades because they like a student, deflate grades because they don't like a student, or to give passing grades to a student the school wants to get rid of by graduating them. Principals probably are able to change the grades if they wanted to.

 

How does a college know that those sorts of things didn't happen at the brick and mortar school? They don't.

 

Yes, of course. But ...

 

Most kids from brick-and-mortar schools don't have the same teacher for every class, all four years. Who happens to be their parent.

 

Colleges do ask for outside verification for b&m kids.

 

Colleges do develop profiles for high schools, including notes about particular teachers.

 

Colleges depend much more on "rank in class" -- i.e., *relative* GPA, with respect to the other hundreds of students in the graduating class -- than on "raw" GPA, precisely because GPA is so subjective, from one high school to another.

 

Back to the OP's question ... outside verification *is* necessary for ps kids, but more so for homeschooled kids. Unless we're talking about colleges that rely solely on GPA, such as some state colleges (who recognize that GPA is subjective, and - at least in our state -allow kids to compensate for a low GPA with high SAT scores) and nonselective colleges. (And these state schools have more hoops for hs'ers to jump through, including a transcript review.)

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What types of things have you done to verify/prove the grades that you give to your children? Or do you bother with that at all? What gives credence to your assignment of grades for people looking at your transcript?

 

For example, let's say you have decided to give an "A" to your child in biology. How will a person who looks at your transcript know that your child actually did "A" level work, and not just "mommy loves child, so an A was given"?

 

(Am I making sense? :confused: )

I always tested every year from early childhood. We also did the NLE the last 3 years. Additionally, I always had them in at least a couple outside classes and both attended a 2 day a week academic co-op at different times.

 

Now oldest is in school and her grades were high before and high now, so I think it's verified. ;)

 

It was just important to me to always create a paper trail, so that if the state hassled me when they were little - which never happened as I live in a good state to homeschool - I would have outside verification of their abilities and "proof" that they were clearly being educated. Paper trails are important to me.

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My plan is to have dd write a thesis near the end of the year for some subjects (lit., science, history) and then I'll save her final exams for math and foreign language study. Writing, grammar, vocab and rhetoric should be shown in her papers.

 

That's the plan anyway :p

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Their test scores were commiserate with their grades. No one questioned it. I am sure no one is questioned it at the college dd is attending since she is also having a better than 4.0 GPA there.

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We mainly use test scores (ACT for us) and cc classes (real ones at a college level). Middle son also did one self-study AP and the test. So far, it's worked well.

 

Youngest is at ps and he's working outside of school to be able to substantiate his GPA at our school. ;) We will somewhat do this with the SAT or ACT, but also plan to add the AP Bio test (AP Bio is not offered at our school) and the occasional Keystone test he gets to take (already scored Advanced on Bio - only 9% statewide got that designation and far, far fewer in his school).

 

From what I've seen, colleges want outside confirmation of GPA no matter what source the GPA is from. We have kids with top GPAs who don't get into good schools of their choice (and I'm not talking top of the top schools either).

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How does a college know that those sorts of things didn't happen at the brick and mortar school? They don't.

 

Yes but certain high schools are well known to college admissions people. They are familiar with course offerings, possibly faculty. When we visited a highly competitive Northeastern LAC, the Admissions Deans who did the meet and greet asked the students where they were from. The school that one of the NYC girls in the group attended was on the Dean's radar. He asked her a specific question about her coursework there.

 

Now if my son had attended the local rural high school, he would have been in a similar position to homeschoolers in the area. People outside of the region certainly do not know the school so students applying outside of the norm (UNC system) have to have test scores, interesting extracurriculars, etc.

 

One of my son's homeschooled friends had to submit a portfolio to his LAC. This is a school that does not weigh standardized test scores as heavily as some colleges. I think that this is something to consider if you have a student who does not test well or simply does not want to waste time on test prep.

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One ACT score, 2 AP's (which was probably overkill), and some tough dual enrollment college courses.

 

My daughter was someone the colleges REALLY wanted, without anything other than that. If they didn't believe my "mommy" 4.0 for her, they didn't say anything (although her college grades have fallen right in line.)

 

Given the grades at the high schools around here, I'm guessing that most kids in our area would need a similar sort of "outside" track record. It would be difficult for colleges to distinguish between the slew of kids with 4.0 GPAs that the high schools turn out. This is despite the fact that a couple of these schools are known as being "good".

 

The only thing my daughter did differently from the typical ps kid was that she took tough dual enrollment classes. Everyone else is taking easy non-majors classes when they do the college classes. Although having high schoolers take college courses is VERY popular in our area, the professors in her physics, math, and engineering classes had never heard of the concept.

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I haven't tried to verify specific courses. Instead, I've tried to have an external grade for most subjects towards the end of high school. I did this by having mine take a science, a math, etc., at the community college. Colleges here seem also to rely on SAT or ACT scores as a way of comparing students, so mine take the SATs. If I were more worried about this, I would have mine take SAT2s. We are very relaxed about school.

 

Nan

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I outsource quite a lot of work beginning in seventh grade. If my grades and the grades of the outside classes are in allignment, then that gives me more credibility. Good grades on ACT/SAT scores also help corroborate that the student is doing well.

 

My older son took some dual credit courses while in high school, too....

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I do not give any grades at all. Instead, our transcripts have x's to show completion with a note at the bottom stating that non-grading - mastery approach used.

My oldest son is a senior this year and has all his college applications in - with the nongraded transcript, a list of course descriptions, SAT scores, 2 subject tests, no outside coursework -................

so far the colleges haven't asked for any more information. I'll keep you posted how this approach turns out!

 

Myra

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I do not give any grades at all. Instead, our transcripts have x's to show completion with a note at the bottom stating that non-grading - mastery approach used.

My oldest son is a senior this year and has all his college applications in - with the nongraded transcript, a list of course descriptions, SAT scores, 2 subject tests, no outside coursework -................

so far the colleges haven't asked for any more information. I'll keep you posted how this approach turns out!

 

Myra

 

Interesting approach! I'm very interested to hear how this goes! Please keep us posted!

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Yes but certain high schools are well known to college admissions people. They are familiar with course offerings, possibly faculty. When we visited a highly competitive Northeastern LAC, the Admissions Deans who did the meet and greet asked the students where they were from. The school that one of the NYC girls in the group attended was on the Dean's radar. He asked her a specific question about her coursework there.

 

 

:iagree:My high school was one of these and we actually had numerous college recruiters arrive from all over the country to meet with us, interview us, and if it went well, invite us specially to apply. I didn't realize that this wasn't common to all high schools until I asked dh which colleges sessions he attended and he had no idea what I was talking about. Colleges definitely create and maintain relationships with certain high schools that fit the profile of their admissions criteria.

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I do not give any grades at all. Instead, our transcripts have x's to show completion with a note at the bottom stating that non-grading - mastery approach used.

My oldest son is a senior this year and has all his college applications in - with the nongraded transcript, a list of course descriptions, SAT scores, 2 subject tests, no outside coursework -................

so far the colleges haven't asked for any more information. I'll keep you posted how this approach turns out!

 

Myra

 

This is the approach I am hoping to use as well. My son will have some outside grades - one at our local high school and some online, but the vast majority are "homemade" courses that I have not assigned a grade for. Please keep us updated on how it works out.

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:iagree:My high school was one of these and we actually had numerous college recruiters arrive from all over the country to meet with us, interview us, and if it went well, invite us specially to apply. I didn't realize that this wasn't common to all high schools until I asked dh which colleges sessions he attended and he had no idea what I was talking about. Colleges definitely create and maintain relationships with certain high schools that fit the profile of their admissions criteria.

 

Certainly, colleges cultivate relationships with some schools. However, not being visited by recruiters doesn't mean that a high school isn't on a college's "radar." At my college (Stanford), they casually informed us that they kept track of how kids from each high school performed after enrolling (a rather unsettling thought, to a freshman!). The impression we got was that if a succession of kids with high stats from High School X floundered once in college, or if kids with lower stats from High School Y thrived in college, that would be valuable info about the rigor of the high school's program and the "meaning" of its grades.

 

As Jane in NC says, some colleges also keep track of actual high-school coursework ... Here are two quotes from "A Is for Admission" by Michele Hernandez, pp. 13 & 14: Many highly competitive colleges keep files or notebooks on high schools ... Many of the old guard who have been in admissions for a while will not only be familiar with the subtleties of specific course loads but will also know who the strongest teachers are and what their recommendations are like. I've heard a quote by Jon Reider, former admissions officer at Stanford who helped develop their homeschool policy, to the effect that evaluating a homeschooled student is a lot like evaluating a student from a rural high school that is unknown to the college: Outside verification of grades is necessary for both the rural and the homeschooled student.

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Certainly, colleges cultivate relationships with some schools. However, not being visited by recruiters doesn't mean that a high school isn't on a college's "radar." At my college (Stanford), they casually informed us that they kept track of how kids from each high school performed after enrolling (a rather unsettling thought, to a freshman!). The impression we got was that if a succession of kids with high stats from High School X floundered once in college, or if kids with lower stats from High School Y thrived in college, that would be valuable info about the rigor of the high school's program and the "meaning" of its grades.

 

As Jane in NC says, some colleges also keep track of actual high-school coursework ... Here are two quotes from "A Is for Admission" by Michele Hernandez, pp. 13 & 14: Many highly competitive colleges keep files or notebooks on high schools ... Many of the old guard who have been in admissions for a while will not only be familiar with the subtleties of specific course loads but will also know who the strongest teachers are and what their recommendations are like. I've heard a quote by Jon Reider, former admissions officer at Stanford who helped develop their homeschool policy, to the effect that evaluating a homeschooled student is a lot like evaluating a student from a rural high school that is unknown to the college: Outside verification of grades is necessary for both the rural and the homeschooled student.

 

I don't have any inside info, but I agree with all of the above. I think many colleges do track how freshmen do. It would explain why it's difficult to get into decent places from our high school. And, since we're rural and don't send many outside of a 2-3 hour radius, results can differ (or sometimes be better) where our school isn't "known."

 

And, as I've mentioned before, every single adcom we've talked with in person has told us they put more weight on the ACT/SAT and any outside confirmation they have with a homeschooled student. Most colleges also want an interview. Short of an extensive portfolio, it's the only way they have to evaluate a homeschooler. I suspect there's more weight on the SAT scores for our students who go outside of our traditional radius too.

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I've heard a quote by Jon Reider, former admissions officer at Stanford who helped develop their homeschool policy, to the effect that evaluating a homeschooled student is a lot like evaluating a student from a rural high school that is unknown to the college: Outside verification of grades is necessary for both the rural and the homeschooled student.

 

Because some students are accepted into certain schools on the apparent basis of SAT or ACT only, some parents have jumped to the conclusion that this will be the only bar for their student. It is a rude awakening to learn when your student is a junior that he must also have SAT IIs, APs or dual enrollment grades to beef up a college app. Our philosophy was to be prepared for a variety of paths.

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Because some students are accepted into certain schools on the apparent basis of SAT or ACT only, some parents have jumped to the conclusion that this will be the only bar for their student. It is a rude awakening to learn when your student is a junior that he must also have SAT IIs, APs or dual enrollment grades to beef up a college app. Our philosophy was to be prepared for a variety of paths.

 

:iagree: I had breakfast yesterday with a friend whose public schooled dd is a senior. This friend told me yesterday that she "owed me an apology."

 

She told me that she used to think I was "over the top" having my kids take SAT II's. It turns out that her dd ended up not applying to a couple of the schools that were on her list because they required SAT II's and she had not taken any..

 

My friend went on to say that she does not understand why the guidance counselors never mentioned SAT II's during the school's numerous "college information" seminars.

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What types of things have you done to verify/prove the grades that you give to your children? Or do you bother with that at all? What gives credence to your assignment of grades for people looking at your transcript?

 

For example, let's say you have decided to give an "A" to your child in biology. How will a person who looks at your transcript know that your child actually did "A" level work, and not just "mommy loves child, so an A was given"?

 

(Am I making sense? :confused: )

 

I didn't do anything. My kids did take the SAT, and a College Compass exam at the CC. They did community college classes after 12 th grade. The girls " proved" themselves with 4.0's....and my ds is taking the slow train.....he was never a great student....and his mommy grades reflected that.

 

My next son down is very intelligent, but also very I'll with Lyme disease. He is getting better...but it will definitely take him an extra year....at least....to finish school. He will follow the CC route as well...when he is ready. His mommy grades will reflect the work he has completed, rather than how fast he has completed it.

 

I didn't really worry about it....all too much.....;)

 

Faithe

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And "outside verification" is not something required only of homeschoolers and those from rural (unknown) public schools.

 

Hoop-jumping requirements are not homeschool exclusives -- even students from top prep schools are required to jump through them to gain admission to top-tier colleges.

 

I know a family whose kids attend one of the top prep schools in MA. The school no longer offers AP classes, but my friends' kids took numerous SAT-2's in addition to the PSAT and SAT.

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:iagree: I had breakfast yesterday with a friend whose public schooled dd is a senior. This friend told me yesterday that she "owed me an apology."

 

She told me that she used to think I was "over the top" having my kids take SAT II's. It turns out that her dd ended up not applying to a couple of the schools that were on her list because they required SAT II's and she had not taken any..

 

My friend went on to say that she does not understand why the guidance counselors never mentioned SAT II's during the school's numerous "college information" seminars.

 

We have one school that we opted not to consider due to SAT II requirements of homeschoolers. Middle son could have taken the tests, but preferred to apply to those who didn't require them since only one on his list had to be cut.

 

It's good for parents to know ahead of time that some schools do want them - either of homeschoolers or of all applicants. However, there are plenty of options without them too. It all depends on which college someone is interested in. Oldest son also had none and needed none. Youngest most likely won't need any. All three have some sort of confirmation of grades though. ;)

 

Like you, I find it amazing that guidance counselors didn't mention the tests...

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