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Senior Member
i'm not sure i have ever posted a vent...(oh, i've vented, just don't think i've actually started one)

but i am so annoyed with my students, i had to walk away from the stack of tests i was grading---argh! i hurt my hand slapping it against my clipboard.

so i gave a social studies test. there were no surprises on the test because i create tests from our lists of objectives (questions/notes) that they get at the beginning of the unit, we go over together, i tell them that's what will be on the test, we answer them together (them on their paper, supposed to be kept in social studies section in binder; me on my overhead--where they can all see it).

i have them make pictoral flashcards (question on front with a picture to "jog" their memory) and answer in words and possibly a picture on the back. (the social studies unit is "Earth's Physical Geography"--so, tilt of Earth affects seasons, altitude & latitude affect climate, and some major landforms of western hemisphere. so pictures should really help)

they had 2 days in class to create the flashcards(they only had to do 8.)
and to study using the flash cards. we also did an inside/outside circle where the students quizzed each other over the questions they knew would be on the test. and 2 nights i assigned "study for s.s. test" as homework. on top of all this time, our schedule allowed a few chunks of "bonus work time" where i asked them to study for the test if they were done with other work.

i went against what i would normally do for the test and added tiny pictures next to the questions to again, jog their memory (sheltered instruction if anyone knows what i'm talking about)

they so bombed this test. and i'm pissed because i feel i did everything i could to help them succeed. how easy did i have to make it?

i'm doubly annoyed because i'm sending progress reports home tuesday and this grade is the only one they will have in social studies, so most of them have a poor s.s. grade. i already worked up a little memo to add to the progress report that explains how much time we had to study and for parents to check their child's Monday Folders (obviously going out on Tuesday) for this test. i am letting those grades stand.

(i haven't actually finished grading the tests, so i don't know how many truly BOMBED, but i had had it by the time i got to the back page (locate and label these 6 major landforms of the western hemisphere--spelling counts). one kid actually draws arrows from my words! (i swear they do some of the stuff they do sometimes just to drive us crazy!) i've got kids labeling the andes mountains in canada and great lakes in canada....ugh; i don't want to go back and finish them--it's like ripping off a band-aid!

okay, i feel slightly better....

any other grading horror stories out there?


Senior Member
Too Much!

Tia sounds like you did too much so they did not bother to study. SS test can be hard. I am giving one Tuesday and I gave them a study guide. I told them they need to study at home for the test. I will review tomorrow. Next time tell them helping them does not help!

Bonnie gr. 2

Full Member
A past test

When I taught third grade, I told the kids they had to know that Mexico and Canada are not in the United States to leave my class. I gave a test with the following multiple choice question: Which is a state in the United States? a) Mexico b) Canada c) Pennsylvania d) Fraggle Rock. Two kids picked Fraggle Rock!

Gina TX

Senior Member

Last week I gave an open book Science test. 6th grade. Plenty of time. With three classes this same test was given to about 75 students. ONE passed with a perfect score. Most got B's a few failed. HOW DO YOU FAIL AN OPEN BOOK TEST? How is it only ONE child got a perfect score? They did not know it was going to be open book and were supposed to be studying. I wanted to scream when I was grading those too.

c green

My SS tests always look like that!

Sometimes I just look at the results, and wonder if I somehow accidentally didn't teach anything, and this is all my fault--and then I look at the three kids who got As--no, somehow they had to be able to find out that Washington was the leader of the Continental Army, right? They didn't sneak out of class to look that up just in case, did they?

It's an immensely frustrating feeling.


spelling counts

Sorry, I was reminded of my most major pet peeve in all the world:

Not being able to spell something that is ON THE WORKSHEET IN FRONT OF YOU. "Ms. Green, how do you spell 'present tense'?" "Look at the directions where they tell you to write 'present tense' next to the present tense verbs, Endangered Child O'Mine."

"Oh yeah."

or sometimes "Where? I don't see it!"


Senior Member
final tally

well, here it is:

4 A's
5 B's (one of these only .2 points away from an A)
3 C's
3 D's
8 F's

so slightly off the ol' "bell curve" but not nearly as bad as i had thought mid-grading

5 of those F's were below 40%--just frustrating that they could have missed SO much--or in some cases, chosen not to answer the question i asked (which they knew beforehand...) and answered their own question.

thanks for the empathy!

Carrie in WV

Full Member
I'm in the same boat

Grading language tests this evening was painful. Here are two examples. The directions were something like this: Find a mistake in the verb or pronoun in the following sentences.

Sentence read: I should have drank all of the milk. Someone put the word "dranken" in the blank.

Sentence read: Mother told Harry and I to put the clothes in the wash.

Someone crossed out "wash" and put "washer".

Pass the bottle of Advil, please.


Full Member
Only Grade?

How many Social Studies grades do you usually give during the grading period? As a parent, I would be concerned with so much weight riding on one or two grades.

I totally understand about the not studying part. That is very frustrating I know. I hope that things improve. You sound like a good teacher who is very concerned about the students in your class.


Senior Member
I get

at 6-8 grades per quarter. This includes test, projects, and map skills. I get a variety to balance out the grades.
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Senior Member
I'm with Lovetoteach. I think you might give the kids credit for making the cards and grades for other activities that prepared them for the test. I give out beaucoup grades so no one grade ruins a kid's average. Kids who do all the work get the best grades. In my experience, kids tend to bomb tests--I don't know why since all the test questions have been babyfooded to them numerous times. I give grades for a lot of activities: answering questions in the book, creating graphic organizers, map activities, projects, paragraph responses, oral presentations, group activities. I do teach 6th grade and it's been a while since I taught social studies. This was always my favorite subject in school, so I don't get why the kids bomb this subject so much. I traveled a lot as a child being a navy brat so maybe that's why I like it. My studetns were never afraid to let me know how much they loath social studies!


Senior Member
"only grade"

i only have 3 days of social studies a week (since reading, language, math, and science are all state-assessed subjects).

i usually have at least 9 grades each subject every quarter (and will have that by the end of this quarter for social studies).

due to a wonky schedule the past few weeks, we have not had social studies as often as we should have....we had our winter version of the state assessment (not required by the state, but due to some curriculum decisons our school made, required by our "benefactor"); then our server went down, causing our testing to be extended, Valentine's party, puberty lesson, junior high registration, and then i spent a good few days preparing for the test so they would actually do well on it.

so, no, i do not intend to only give a few grades in social studies. i promised parents that progress reports would go home on tuesday, and i refuse to not give them the social studies grade just because it is comprised of only one assignment grade. (of course i am informing them that this grade, thus far, is only made up of 1 grade--and that it was the test we prepared for.)

i can appreciate the concern of the overall grade being comprised of only 1 grade, but there are still 6 weeks left in my quarter before that final grade. :)


Junior Member

I gave a test on contractions a couple of weeks ago, and one of the contractions was will not. The majority of the students put willn't. I was amazed. I thought in 4th grade they would know this, but I had 4 students that did not understand the concept at all, and yes I did teach it, but who knows.


Full Member

I intentionally gave an open note test after watching one of my seniors sleep through three days of class. Needless to say, he failed the essay, AND his mom came in upset about it. I didn't bend. The answer would have been in his notes if he had taken them. It is not my job to wake him up everyday just so he can go back to sleep!! Nor is it anyone's job to make up for a child not being prepared for class. Do you think his/her employees will cover for them when they are not prepared for work? One of the MANY jobs that we have is teaching responsibility because most parents don't do it; they make excuses. We either teach it and let the students suffer the consequences, or we don't and hand everything to them. Sorry about my attitude, but I have had it with spoiled children.


Senior Member
in the same boat

Thankfully, after reading these posts I don't feel so alone. My students, after repeated reminders to READ DIRECTIONS, often do not read the directions....

Them: "what's this mean...I don't get what I'm supposed to do?!?!"

Me: "it's on your directions at the top of the page..you need to read there." (these are often the same directions I read aloud to them prior to handing out the test, or whatever).

Or, I emphasis often how it is THEIR responsibility to keep study guides and notes where they can find them and then do independent study (at home) to pass a test. They are 5th graders, so this should not be a foreign concept. Yet, they look dejected when they choose to not study, then get a D or F on a test. I honestly do everything I can to go over material that meets objectives, make sure the tests cover what I taught and what they need to know, etc. After that, the ball is in their court, and I feel it is often dropped.

I just want to scream sometimes.


Senior Member

What I did with my fifth graders (when I still taught as a classroom teacher) was give them quizzes on individual lessons in the book, but I made them open book so they would have to look up the information and practice it themselves. If they couldn't remember an answer, they had to look it up. I graded these. At the end of a chapter or unit, I gave a closed book test. No notes. No open book. We had a day of review, then I told them they had to study.

I agree that some of the responsibility has to rest on the kids. They have to practice at home. Perhaps a study guide that they can study, plus a review game like Jeopardy could help them.