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27 Jul 2011

My brilliant child''s grades dropping drastically
Hello Prof
I have a brilliant 9-yr-old daughter who is in Grade 4 in a private school. She started at this school this year. The thing is she started Grade 1 at a private school, Grades 2 and 3 in a public school (same school), and now Grade 4 in a new private school, a Catholic school (convent). I had to change her schools because I was moving between PTA and JHB searching for a suitable job but now I''m settled in Pretoria. I have decided that she will be in this school until Grade 12. My problem is since Grade 1 she has always been an outstanding performer and receiving all sorts of awards. In her March-April report this year, she got 4 A''s and the rest B''s. She particularly excels in Maths, Science and Computer. But now her June exam marks are very poor although I''ll only get a full report next week (I only received her scripts). She got 40% in Maths, failed two subjects, and only got 3 subjects at 60%. What do you think could be the problem? Could the surrounding (new school) be contributing to this? I really don''t know what to do because she seems okay and says she did not pass well because Grade 4 is hard. Please offer me some light if you can. Thanks.
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Of course you need to discuss this with her teachers. Do I understand you that she started a this new school and did fine in the first term of this year, and markedly worse in the second term ? If so, then it may not be the move per se that has affected her, but maybe something that has changed at the school. Failures in a kid doing well are curious ; 60 % is par for the course - different teachers mark with varying leniency or stringency. Some children are indeed bright, but changes in the curriculum as they move up may mean they face more difficult material, where the methods they learned and relied on before, don't work so well.
The school should be very experienced at understanding such changes and should be able to help you work out what has caused this change, and how to remedy it. Would some temporary extra tutoring help ? Try to avoid her feeling pressure to always be at the top, so that very good but not quite excellent results are felt to be failure.
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