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A strategy for dealing with “what grade did you get?”

October 13, 2010
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Later this week (assuming I don’t become a father and suddenly find my free time gone), I’m going to post a whole smorgasbord of feedback from the self-assessment process I’m getting from kids. Most of it is an awesome testament to SBG, and the power of a growth mindset, but I still have kids who would be much happier if they just got a percentage grade with every assignment, instead of a list of concepts with their current understanding.

Here’s the conundrum as one of the presented it to me.

What do I say when my mom asks, “How did you do on that physics test you were studying so much for?”

The more I hear things like this, the more entries get put in the “things never to say to my daughter” file. But I digress. This kid feels stuck—and ends up saying things like “I don’t know. All I have is a bunch of numbers I can’t make sense of.”

Here’s my suggestion:

Well, my assessment showed I understand these ideas really well. And it says I’m still working to understand this idea, and here’s how I’m going to go and improve this.

I honestly think most parents would be shocked and amazed for their kid to say something like this (probably because almost no kid has ever done this).

It all comes back to the idea of avoiding the shortcuts in interactions. I got an “A” doesn’t really say anything (and sometimes, Parents don’t want to hear much when they ask this, it’s just making conversation), but I do think this could take the conversation in a new direction.

Now, how can I help my kids to do this?

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