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AP class-Do I address this with the instructor?

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My son is taking AP US government with Patrick Henry Prep. He had to do a 6 page book report. He was not allowed to have it edited by anyone. :svengo: Okay fine! He needs to really learn to edit on his own anyway. After he turned in the book report, I reviewed it. I was horrified! It was terrible. I would have not accepted it. If I had it would have been a failing grade. I explained my frustration to him and told him he would likely fail the paper and possibly fail the class. Well the grade is in and he got an 86. :confused::confused: This paper was terrible! It had grammatical mistakes left and right, was not formatted correctly and did not have the proper work cited page.

I feel this teacher is giving him an easy grade. I also feel it is setting him up for failure because he truly thinks this was good enough. Should I contact her or let it be?

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I'm guessing that the grade was based mostly on content.


I teach at the local community college, but not English. It is possible to get at least a B on a written assignment with very poor grammar and mechanics because that is only a small percentage of their grade. Most of the grade I assign is content, even though their writing is sometime horrible.

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I would not address it with the instructor since it is likely that the instructor is concerned primarily with content; however, I would make revision of the paper your son's next English assignment and address your efforts there.




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AP classes are meant to be college level. Typically in college, a student writes the paper on their own and does their own editing, so the teacher's request that it not be edited by anyone else is consistent with that. I'm also guessing from the grade that the main concern was content. I'd definitely work on teaching your son good editing and have him re-do the paper. Printing it out before editing might be helpful as it's often harder to pick up errors when reading it on the screen - my experience anyway.

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I agree that you can work with him on editing skills, and have him revise this paper until it meets your standards and his best work.


Does your ds know how to edit his work? Does he have a list of things to look for? Some students do better editing if they have a list of things to look for, such as:


words capitalized properly

sentences punctuated properly

correct grammar

correct spelling

introductory paragraph

topic or thesis sentence

supporting paragraphs with details

closing paragraph


proper formatting

works cited properly (give him websites to help him do this)


Some of these topics can be more detailed if your ds struggles in one particular area.


Giving him a check list to use, where he is reading his paper and looking for specific details may help him to find the errors.


Along with this, you may need to help him identify the errors if he can't find them. Instead of marking the errors my dc made in their writing, I would attach a sticky note, by paragraph, something like, Paragraph 1: 2 spelling errors, 1 capitalization error, 2 punctuation errors, no closing sentence. This meant my dc knew where to look and what to look for. After a while, it became more second nature to them. They also had a list available to use while they were writing and editing so they knew exactly what to look for.


Just an idea. College professors may not be as generous, as you pointed out. This is a skill that needs to be learned.

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That's surprising because my son's AP English teacher has been a pretty tough grader - of course, it is English so there are looking for those types of errors. What I really like about PHP is that they have spelled out every little detail of their grading system up front. Ask your son to find the grading rubric for that assignment. I bet it's there somewhere.

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