Thursday, August 16, 2007

STAR Results - Son #1

Son #1 has never enjoyed school. In grade school, he was pretty well liked by his teachers and he did fairly well. Once he hit middle school, his grades started to plummet. When he became a freshman in high school, we told him that if he didn't pass any of his classes, then he would not earn his credits and would either have to take summer school and/or night school.

Based on his previous test scores on the STAR test and his grades, he was placed in the support strand for language arts and mathematics. This meant he received two hours of instruction for both classes. Even with the extra support, he did not perform well academically. Too often, he was barely sliding by and there was that small part of me that hoped he would fail a class so that he would have to suffer the consequence by using up some of his summer vacation.

The thing of it is is that he's smart. Barely getting by with D- all year (and thus earning his credits barely), he managed to score "Advanced" on the STAR test and was just a few points shy of scoring proficient in Algebra 1. I know for a fact that the main reason he managed to pass these two classes by the tips of his finger nails was because he would usually get an A on his exams, while hardly doing any classwork or homework.

I'm tempted not to share his scores with him because his ability to just get by is something he has relied on for the last couple of years. It doesn't do his dad and I much good to harp on him about his grades when he knows he has the ability to perform well when it counts the most. Sometimes Son #1 is too smart for his own good.


Law and Order Teacher said...

Your son sounds like me. I did what I had to do to get by. I used my brain power to play the system. Sports was my salvation. I knew I had to keep eligible to play. The system played right into my hands. I never missed a day of school and listened attentively to everything my teachers said. I committed them to memory knowing I could get a passing grade because I had a good memory. Why study when I could pass without it? Maybe he is just playing the system. It kind of thrilling to walk the high wire.

Repairman said...

Like Law and Order Teacher, I too was an underachiever. So was my son. (He is successful now and loving his business and life!) Maybe it runs in families.

Oddly enough, that phenomenon, the seemingly genetic trait to either be docile, or be an under or over achievier, does not seem to matter in the long run. Progeny get where they want to be. Maybe it takes a little longer for some, but if mom and dad remain supportive, it all works out in the end.

I don't have any research to back that up, but it would be a great topic for some PhD candidate out there who doesn't know what to write about! :-)

Hey, don't tell your son this, but I got booted out of college the first time around. Wound up, years later, with a 4.0 in grad school. Figure that out.

CassyT said...

Count me as another school slacker. I led a productive life, earned a living, stayed home with my kids, all without my BS degree. I spent 2 years and plenty of my parents money at an enormous university after high school getting lousy grades, but having a lot of fun. At 38, when my kids were 8 & 9, I decided to become a teacher, finished my BS Ed in 2 years (4.0 to boot, thank you very much) and have enjoyed my career as much as I have enjoyed other stages in my life.

Your son doesn't need a college degree to be a happy, fulfilled adult. There will come a time when getting by on brains isn't enough and he'll have to do the grunt work to get what he wants. He's bright, he'll figure it out. That knowledge doesn't make it any easier to bear as a parent, though.

Eric said...

I was an underachiever as well. I graduated from high school with a 2.1 or so, begging a teacher for a passing grade in a senior class just so I wouldn't have to go to summer school after graduation. I joined the military, learned two languages, had a successful career and am currently attending college with a 3.8 gpa.

Somehow or another, we slackers grow up and stop being slackers! ;-)

Repairman, that would be a good topic for a PhD candidate. Mmmm...nah, I'm doing history when I get my PhD.

And I agree with Law & Order, there is something oddly thrilling about playing on the high wire to see if you get by. At that young age you just don't really see or understand the consequences of your actions like you perhaps should.

saintseester said...

I agree - they don't understand the consequences. My husband did the same thing in college. Failed out his first year. Then when he decided to go back (and had to pay for it himself), he got serious about it.