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bethben

Me again—

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I’m just trying to adjust to this school thing. My dd got a D on a science test. She didn’t study for it because they’re not allowed to bring their textbooks home. Is this typical for fourth grade?

 

 

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Yes.  They want the children to pay attention to what they are hearing and seeing & actively participate in class.

 

One thing you can do is remind your child that her free time should be used to re-read her text and the notes she took the first time she read it.

 

 

 

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Yes, it is typical but I have seen people find out what books their child was using and buy a cheap used one on Amazon so that they do have something to read/study from at home.

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This would not be normal for our school.

 

But one night of study isn't enough for all kids.  I would buy a used book if you can and keep up with what they're learning and periodically review / supplement at home.

 

Science tests pretty much always stump one of my kids.  I hate the way their textbooks and tests are written.  But I find that between diligent study and the homeworks which I can review (and make my kids re-do if they misunderstand), we manage to stay within an acceptable grade range.

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I asked my daughter if she was supposed to study for the test.  Nope.  Did she take notes?  Nope.  I asked in a online group for my daughter's school if she was just mis-informed.  No.  Most of the kids who took this test did very poorly.  No one was encouraged to study and no student was encouraged to take notes.  The test was not even announced before they took it (as in "science test Friday").  There is no way of finding out what unit they are studying (they skipped over some units) unless I continue to ask my daughter what's going on.  No way to find out when a test is happening even if I did buy the textbook.  She did not even bring her test home nor did any other student in the fourth grade classes.  If I'm expending all this energy to help her do well with a school that is barely communicating what's going on, I could save time and just homeschool her again.  But that affects our relationship negatively...sigh...

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I asked my daughter if she was supposed to study for the test.  Nope.  Did she take notes?  Nope.  I asked in a online group for my daughter's school if she was just mis-informed.  No.  Most of the kids who took this test did very poorly.  No one was encouraged to study and no student was encouraged to take notes.  The test was not even announced before they took it (as in "science test Friday").  There is no way of finding out what unit they are studying (they skipped over some units) unless I continue to ask my daughter what's going on.  No way to find out when a test is happening even if I did buy the textbook.  She did not even bring her test home nor did any other student in the fourth grade classes.  If I'm expending all this energy to help her do well with a school that is barely communicating what's going on, I could save time and just homeschool her again.  But that affects our relationship negatively...sigh...

If they truly are not allowed to bring home reference material to study from, they are not allowed to take notes in class, they are not encouraged to study at all, they have no idea when tests are coming or what material it might cover, then I would be scheduling a meeting with the teacher and the principal.  If that is truly how things are set up, the school has a crappy understanding of how people learn.  And I would be looking to see if there are other schools that are better.  

 

I would absolutely flunk a science test if my only exposure to the material was a brief reference in class.  I need consistent exposure and review and interaction with the material over a long period of time.  Many people do.  And I am NOT an auditory learner.  I have to read the material and interact with it then read it again, etc.

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The science test was online....I found the average student score.  The average score was a C- for the 133 students who took the test.  So, I guess my dd wasn't too far off the average.  

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I found out I was able to look at the average the whole fourth grade class had on all of the tests my daughter has done horribly on.  The average test score for every  online test she's taken (english and science) is a low C or a high D.  Some kids made 100%.  So, is the average kid getting a C- on test scores overall?  Is that the definition of average?  I'm just trying to adjust expectations.  My dd is a pretty average learner.

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Is the teacher inexperienced?  Do they let kids fix the mistakes and improve their score?

 

I'll bet you aren't the only parent who dislikes this situation.

 

I think my first step would be to ask the teacher for advance notice on when tests are given and to send home the textbooks or have some pre-test study sessions so your child could be prepared.

 

I would not expect 4th graders to be good note takers, although they can start learning that skill. 

 

As for testing based purely on auditory learning, I posted a similar complaint a few weeks ago.  :)  I think it sucks.

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There are around 150 4th graders. They all do exactly the same tests and material. Some teachers are experienced. I bought her the science textbook so she can read the material at home. They are not allowed to bring the textbooks home. Apparently, by ninth grade, everything is online only. Families with multiple children are finding it hard for their children to complete homework online because they only have one computer. The school does not provide technology to take home. It’s a mess.

 

 

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Our district was like that too...middle class so way underfunded. High school science was funny..two pcs in the library for everyone in study hall. The students with phones would pass them around so their friends could get the online hw submitted by the deadline. Be sure and teach your dc outlining and notetaking skills.

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The thing is, the bought a TON of tablets to share among the elementary school. They have smart boards and we’re thrilled to show their new computer lab that takes up 1/4 of the library. But students can’t bring home their textbook?!?

 

 

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How important does the school consider these tests? Is the teacher using them as a fairly informal "what do you know" that is agreed like a daily grade, or are they a large portion of the final grade?

I would assume, for the sake of my own sanity, that the teacher has a plan and is simply not communicating well. I'd ask her, via email if that's possible, whether you should be concerned about these tests and what you can do to help. Hey the assistant principal or instructional had involved if the teacher seems to have no answers.

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These tests don't seem to count toward her final grade at this time.  At least it's not registering in her grade right now.  All it's doing is frustrating my daughter who thinks she can't learn.  She had a rant about how is she supposed to do well when she doesn't even know when the test is and doesn't even have time to study for it.  I told her not to worry about it.  I would only be upset if she got that grade and had refused to study when asked.  Water under the bridge.  I've been looking at class average for all these online tests I feel like she is doing poorly on.  She's very much either average or a little ahead of average which right now for the class is a solid C-.  So comparatively, she's doing OK.  

 

Thanks for letting me question things.  I feel like this transition to public school is not going smoothly with the education piece at all.  And if the Facebook group for the school is any indication, a lot of parents are having similar issues.  I thought I was the only one.

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When my son was in 4th grade, he had access to a website called StemScopes. It wasnt any actual textbook, but had a lot of resources per topic that was taught in school. So if he had an upcoming test, he could just pull up the resources online and read through them. He was also allowed to get his science journal home to revise. I also googled for Jeopardy games on those topics and we spent some time revising specific test subjects that way.

Its more challenging to help the kids, when we don't have any textbooks to refer to. Its a concept that I have had to get behind only after I came to the US!

Thankfully, this year, my son is in middle school and he seems to have an option to get his science textbook home!

Hope you find a way to help your DD do her best at school!

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Are you sure this was an actual test and not just an assessment?  Sometimes teachers do an assessment before they teach a unit just to see where the class stands and/or to help breaking into leveled groups.

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Are you sure this was an actual test and not just an assessment?  Sometimes teachers do an assessment before they teach a unit just to see where the class stands and/or to help breaking into leveled groups.

 

No, it was a unit test.  I checked and found out it counts toward  her grade in science.  At least this is fourth grade.  There was no notice, no handouts to review, and no vocabulary to know.  I have bought the textbook online and will have my dd review terms daily because they may spring another test on her without giving anything to review for the test.  I found a chapter handout that is supposed to go to parents hidden in a folder on the school site.  It has what the student is supposed to know by the end.  It gives websites for all the cool games and worksheets the student can use to review for the unit.  When I go to the place it directs me to, I get an empty folder.  

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Well i don't think 4th graders here have textbooks to bring home and my nearing the end of 5th grade has never been asked to study for a test other than spelling or times tables so not typical here.

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No, it was a unit test.  I checked and found out it counts toward  her grade in science.  At least this is fourth grade.  There was no notice, no handouts to review, and no vocabulary to know.  I have bought the textbook online and will have my dd review terms daily because they may spring another test on her without giving anything to review for the test.  I found a chapter handout that is supposed to go to parents hidden in a folder on the school site.  It has what the student is supposed to know by the end.  It gives websites for all the cool games and worksheets the student can use to review for the unit.  When I go to the place it directs me to, I get an empty folder.  

 

Does your dd know how to actively listen?  That is part of the standard for grade 4 here.  When you conference, go in knowing the standard and ask how the note taking skill is going to be met.

 

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Also, is it typical for every test to be on the computer?  Math, social studies, science, and english? Is this where education is going?  I just looked at dd's math test.  The computer corrected one of the problems wrong (it was a partial answer...other problems if you got 3/5 correct, it would mark it so.  One problem was 3/5 correct and it marked it 0/5).   Even if we switched schools would we still be facing this? She did lousy on the test.  She knew the material really well.  Maybe she's not a good test taker.  Am I just too involved?  This is 4th grade.  Maybe I shouldn't care so much.  She doesn't seem to care too much.

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No, it was a unit test.  I checked and found out it counts toward  her grade in science.  At least this is fourth grade.  There was no notice, no handouts to review, and no vocabulary to know.  I have bought the textbook online and will have my dd review terms daily because they may spring another test on her without giving anything to review for the test.   

 

That should be helpful to her in learning how to study for the long run, since keeping up on study is better than just preparing for tests as announced, generally.

 

Also, is it typical for every test to be on the computer?  Math, social studies, science, and english? Is this where education is going?  I just looked at dd's math test.  The computer corrected one of the problems wrong (it was a partial answer...other problems if you got 3/5 correct, it would mark it so.  One problem was 3/5 correct and it marked it 0/5).   Even if we switched schools would we still be facing this? She did lousy on the test.  She knew the material really well.  Maybe she's not a good test taker.  Am I just too involved?  This is 4th grade.  Maybe I shouldn't care so much.  She doesn't seem to care too much.

 

 

Yes. It appears to be going that way.  Unless possibly you can find a "traditional school" that doesn't.

 

And we also have trouble with assignments meant to be done on computer because we have only dial-up, so even if they provided  a computer to go home it would not help with that.  There are some students who have DSL where they live, but it does not come out as far as where we are.  

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Also, is it typical for every test to be on the computer?  Math, social studies, science, and english? Is this where education is going?  I just looked at dd's math test.  The computer corrected one of the problems wrong (it was a partial answer...other problems if you got 3/5 correct, it would mark it so.  One problem was 3/5 correct and it marked it 0/5).   Even if we switched schools would we still be facing this? She did lousy on the test.  She knew the material really well.  Maybe she's not a good test taker.  Am I just too involved?  This is 4th grade.  Maybe I shouldn't care so much.  She doesn't seem to care too much.

 

Some schools actually advertise that most of the learning is via computer. We're school shopping for a potential move, and any school that has most of its learning via computer is off the list.

 

No, you're not too involved. If I didn't care at all, my kid wouldn't, and would be happy to dash off his work with a minimum of effort and go play.

 

You can teach test-taking strategies, how to check work (so, so important!), how to pace yourself. It's early for these things, but it would help. Getting that practice in before higher stakes testing in middle school and high school would benefit her.

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Kids here at that age are not really sent home study materials either, other than multiplication work and spelling.  For that matter, my 7th grader doesn't bring home study materials for quite a few subjects.

 

The idea seems to be that they are meant to learn the material in class.  

 

TBH, I'm not sure 4th graders should be needing to do much studying outside of class.  But I'd be concerned about so many kids that don't seem to be taking in the material.  

 

Although - in a rational world I'd say "c" is an average mark and I'd expect to see quite a few of them  But that doesn't seem to be the approach now.

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I’m just trying to adjust to this school thing. My dd got a D on a science test. She didn’t study for it because they’re not allowed to bring their textbooks home. Is this typical for fourth grade?

 

 

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There is no "typical" across the US.

 

Re: Grades:

 

What you are describing is not normal in my school district or state. I am in touch with kids from my family in three different towns. We do not have letter grades in primary, only exceeds grade level requirements, meets requirements, approaches requirements, and does not approach. But that is not on tests or homework. For those, they get a score, as in, 4/5 correct, but there is no label for that score. Generally they avoid grading things like compositions. Instead they give concrete feedback such as "I asked for five paragraphs but this is three. Re-do with five" or "I have circled all the misspelled words. Please look them up and correct them."

 

Re: Homework and studying in primary:

 

The children are supposed to learn material in school and they do not have significant homework outside of school beyond math (arithmetic) practice. The idea is to give each child an equal education, and also to ensure time for play, sport and sleep.

 

Re: Books home:

 

In middle school, the kids do have their notes online. They can bring home books to study for some classes but mostly they will bring home notes and printouts of main points to study.

 

In primary school, they bring home notes and printouts. They have never, to my knowledge, been tested on subject material that they did not cover extensively on paper.

 

 

Also, is it typical for every test to be on the computer?  Math, social studies, science, and english? Is this where education is going?

 

No. In our schools, standardized testing is online primarily for practical reasons and for practice: they want kids familiar with taking tests for the PSAT, SAT and ACT. But content mastery that contributes to grades is on paper.

 

We are in Washington State, in the Seattle area, for context.

Edited by Tsuga

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How are things going?

 

If it is only science then worth getting that text book used

 

make sure your student can keep you informed on what they are doing

 

this is the whole idea of after-schooling - fix the holes - IMHO

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Also, is it typical for every test to be on the computer?  Math, social studies, science, and english? Is this where education is going?  I just looked at dd's math test.  The computer corrected one of the problems wrong (it was a partial answer...other problems if you got 3/5 correct, it would mark it so.  One problem was 3/5 correct and it marked it 0/5).   Even if we switched schools would we still be facing this? She did lousy on the test.  She knew the material really well.  Maybe she's not a good test taker.  Am I just too involved?  This is 4th grade.  Maybe I shouldn't care so much.  She doesn't seem to care too much.

I am a homeschooler and want nothing to do with the public schools so you can take this with a grain of salt...if you quit caring so much about your dd's education who do you think will care?  Please don't quit caring.  I don't have advice for what to do about the problems with the school, but you have to keep fighting to have your kid educated one way or another. :grouphug:

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