Minnesota Sports Report Card - 18-19 School Year
Post date: May 28, 2019 1:12:0 AM
Sometime in the next few weeks, children all around the state will have their last day of school. Teachers however, have one more day. On that day we clean, pack up our rooms and say goodbye to colleagues for the summer. There’s also one other important thing we do. That day, we enter final grades for students based on their work, achievement and how much they’ve learned.
I thought it would be fun to look at our sports teams the same way. How have they done this year? How does that compare to last year or to the other ‘students’? Are they showing growth, or are they performing below their potential?
I needed a starting point. At my school we have a building wide grading scale (90 = A, 80 = B…etc) So I came up with the grading scale below. It’s not concrete and there may be some exceptions. We must remember that each child is different and has their own unique challenges. Therefore, we may have to make some adjustments. But it’s a starting point.
A+ = Championship
A = Made Playoffs but lost conference championship
A- = Playoffs/Won second round
B+ = Playoffs/Won first round
B = Made playoffs
B- = Made Playoffs lost first round
C+ = Didn’t make playoffs but finished strong and almost did.
C = Didn’t make playoffs
C- = Didn’t make playoffs and fell apart at the end.
D = Were never really in the playoff hunt.
F = The team was a complete disaster.
There are also comments we use to describe why each student received the grade they did. Here are some examples: Contributes to class; Could do better work; Uses class time wisely; Disruptive.
Lastly, to protect their privacy, we don’t use student’s full names when we refer to them in writing.
With those being our parameters, lets dive in. Remember, the sooner we’re done, the sooner we can go home for the summer!
The previous school year the Vikings lost in the NFC championship to the Eagles, earning themselves an A. But I might have downgraded them to an A- for the disastrous way they lost. Regardless, the point is that expectations were very high for this school year because of improvement shown the previous year.
However, the entire year the Vikings were very inconsistent. They spent most of their budget on a QB, Kirk C, but didn’t have enough money to buy other supplies like offensive line. They started the school year 1-2-1 and had to expel some students because of disruptions: Daniel C, because of poor use of equipment, and John D because his play calling was extremely offensive, or not, depending how you look at it. In the end the Vikings turned in just enough work to be in the playoff hunt. All they had to do was ace the final test in Chicago, but apparently, they didn’t study hard enough.
Final Grade = C-
Comment = Not Working to Potential
Disciplinary side note to media: If I ever hear the term ‘Ballcap Game” again, I WILL be calling home and speaking to parents.
Just like the Vikings, the Wolves were coming off a school year where expectations were very high after being in the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. Then last summer, Jimmy B requested a transfer to a different school. He had some unexcused absences, and when he finally did show up, he used some very inappropriate language, and was disrespectful to staff. While waiting for his transfer he was often in the nurse’s office with ‘General Soreness’. His request to transfer was eventually granted.
At about the same time, some new students transferred in from Philadelphia, but one of them, Robert C, was often home with illness and missed too many days of school.
Tom T had to be expelled because of Verbal Abuse, Intimidation, and Bullying.
Last year, Glen T spent a good chunk of the budget on Andrew W. But this year, Andrew did not work to his potential and seemed distracted. Until Andrew starts to perform at a higher level, the amount of the budget spent on him could hold the entire class back for 4 years.
One positive for the team is that Karl T continues to grow and his potential seems limitless.
Final Grade = D-
Comment = Unacceptable Conduct, Working Below Ability, Appears Indifferent
After receiving a B- the previous 3 years for losing in the first round of the playoffs, the Wild started the 2018 school year strong, with high marks at mid-terms in Fall Semester. However, that early year achievement seemed to lose steam around Thanksgiving break. A few weeks after winter break their average test scores fell to 50%.
Because of the class’s lack of effort, Nino N was sent to another school in Nashville, to send a message to the remaining students about their effort. A short time later, the same thing happened to Charlie C, but he was sent to Boston. Both of those students are doing much better in their new settings. On a weird side note, they both got into a fight recently and had to serve detentions.
The Wild had many opportunities to make the grade this year. But when it came down to each important test, they seemed more concerned with their extra-curricular activities than their academics.
Final Grade = C-, but downgraded to D+ for effort
Comment = Unacceptable Effort., Lacks Focus
Every once in a while, a student misses getting a grade by a point or two. Depending on the teacher, they may bump the student up a grade if they have no missing assignments, did well on tests, participated in class, etc. Last year the Lynx lost in the first round of the playoffs, which by our rubric gives them a B-. Having said that, they’ve won 4 of the previous 7 WNBA championships. Those are the only A+’s in school history since 1991. I have no problem bumping the Lynx up a grade.
The Lynx are the Gifted and Talented of our school. They deserve every ounce of credit they get, and probably should get more.
Final Grade = A-
Comment = Outstanding Effort.
Twins and MNUFC
These teams are currently in the middle of their seasons. Therefore, we will have to assess them a bit differently. In education, we would say ‘make modifications’ to the assessment. We’ll try to come up with a cumulative grade for the last 365 days. To do that we will average their final grade from last year and what their current grade would be if their season ended today. We’ll call it an ‘In-Progress’ grade. Both of these teams will be attending Summer school and their final grades will be recorded then.
The Twins have had 8 years of D and F grades. They made the wildcard game in 2017, but MLB does not consider that playoffs. They call it the ‘post-season’. That’s their definition, not mine. Maybe I’d give the twins a C+ that year. But last year, the Twins regressed. With expectations being high from 2017, they failed to make the playoffs in 2018. They expelled Paul M. after winning some academic awards. Paul’s parents are still trying to contact administrators for an explanation.
I am a bit superstitious so I am going to word this carefully. At the moment this is being written, the Twins are the best class in the country. They open enrolled some new students for the year. Their test scores are off the charts and better then everyone else’s by far. In fact, they are doing so well, I’m worried it may draw unwanted attention from test administrators about academic impropriety.
Having said that, if they continue to do this well, they WILL make the playoffs. And if they do, they will most likely have to finally stand up to the school yard bully…The Yankees. I’m already getting nervous talking about it and, I don’t want to jinx anything so lets just give the Twins a ‘B’ based on where they sit today. Let me be clear, this is NOT a final grade and could change depending on how consistently they perform on tests.
In-Progress Grade = C (Average of 2018 D and 2019 currently a B)
Comment = Shows Improvement
It’s amazing how often it happens, but sometimes a new student arrives, and on their first day you are giving a test. You can’t hold them accountable for that test if they weren’t enrolled for the entire unit. The Loons are in their third year of school. They are still getting adjusted to the routines and schedule. Because of that I would give them a modified C- for the first two years. Having said that, their classroom got remodeled this year. They have all the newest supplies and technology. Their test scores have improved some this year and if the playoffs started today, they would be in.
In-Progress Grade = C+ (Average of 2018 C- and 2019 currently a B)
Comment = Growth Observed
Disciplinary Side note: This class is unusually loud and disruptive. We are continually working with them on using their indoor voices. Not to mention they keep singing some song about a wall.
Whitecaps and Vixen
We’re also going to include the following classes in our report card not only because they deserve to be, but because they illustrate a very important point.
Whitecaps = A+ Won 2019 championship.
Vixen = A- Lost 2018 championship.
The State collects standardized test scores and reports that data back to the school. The data is often grouped so we can see if certain populations or demographics are performing better than others and we can then use that information to help address needs. Having said that, if the state was monitoring this report card, there would be a huge red flag. The female students are clearly outperforming the male students. As teachers, we are charged with figuring out why and trying to increase scores for that demographic.
Challenge accepted. I will be sure to continue posting my thoughts on what can be done to improve achievement with those under performing classes as well as applaud the successes of those that are excelling.