Learners are Entitled to the A | Catherine Thorn | 9 Min Read

October 3, 2023

It was the end of first quarter, and I was sitting across the table from a pair of very concerned parents. Their student had struggled so far this year, often falling far short of meeting the expectations for learning. As I began to talk about strategies like fully engaging in learning experiences, thoughtfully completing formative tasks, and revising based on feedback, they became frustrated. Their student had been “doing school” the same way for eight years. This was the first time that the results were different —and the results were indeed very different. They didn’t say it, but it certainly was implied — their child was entitled to the A. What I find to be the most shocking about that statement is that they may have been right. 

After working primarily with ninth grade students for most of my 17 years as a science teacher, requests from parents to discuss grades at the end of the first term became part of my annual cadence. During these meetings, parents would quickly realize that the experiences their children were receiving in my class were different from their own high school experience, and they usually left feeling like their…

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Catherine Thorn

Catherine has over 17 years of classroom and educational leadership experience. Catherine holds a B.A. in Biology from Boston University and an M. Ed. from the University of Massachusetts. She completed a CAGS in Leading and Learning in a Competency-Based System at Southern New Hampshire University; this program was a product of a collaboration between Southern New Hampshire University and 2Revolutions.