In fifth grade the pressure gets worse, because the next round of grades and scores will determine which kids get into the advanced classes, and Stephen is close to despair. At home, Nora’s brother and sister read their report cards at dinner and her parents are very interested.When it comes time to read hers, Nora regrets her plan and refuses to read it out loud.
However, she has been worried about being bullied and singled-out because of her intellect and has been moderating her grades her whole life to mask her intelligence.
Recently she noticed that Stephen’s self-esteem suffers because of his grades and because of a low standardized test score he recently received, and so she has decided to get failing grades in everything in order to demonstrate the problems with the school’s grading system.
For years, Nora has convinced her parents, teachers and friends that she is nothing more than average; her brightest talent is on the soccer field. She takes college-level astronomy courses online and taught herself to understand Spanish by watching television. As he did with FRINDLE and THE SCHOOL STORY, Andrew Clements creates a perfect setting to raise the question of "What if?
In short, she's a genius, but she hides her abilities from almost everyone because she doesn't want to be singled out. As an experiment, she is purposely scoring low to average on tests in order to show everyone that intelligence is not necessarily equal to your test scores. For anyone who has ever received a low test score and said, "I thought I did better than that! " and take it beyond simple answers while keeping the story believable.
This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of is a children’s novel by Andrew Clements, published in 2004.
Clements explores the modern education system’s focus on grades and standardized test scores through the lens of a young girl whose genius-level intelligence is belied by the poor grades she purposefully achieves in an effort to force her school and her family to reconsider how they judge intelligence.Suddenly the attention she's successfully avoided all her life is focused on her, and her secret is out. I had to go to school every day, and I had to sit there and take the tests and quizzes when they told me to. There was only about a block to go before our bus stop, but I couldn’t stand Stephen’s whining another second. And the thought came very clearly that a messy room was the least of my problems. I can remember the yellow-and-white diamond pattern on the plastic liner of my playpen and the taste of those biscuits I chewed on before my teeth popped through my gums. And lying there on my bed, I remembered back to when I thought everyone else was just like me. Whenever we got anywhere near each other, Ann’s planet usually crushed my planet. First Ann turned all the pieces picture-side up, and then she picked out all the pieces with straight edges.And that's when things start to get really complicated.... But I have a choice about when I look at my grades, and right now I choose not to. Stephen is my best friend, but I’m not sure he would have admitted it. He’d been having a hard time with his schoolwork for the past ten weeks, and he was obsessed with grades. Besides, the truth is, I was dying to know my spelling grade. Because that’s the way it seemed to me in the beginning. It was a Saturday morning right after I had learned how to walk, and Ann dumped a big, five-hundred-piece jigsaw puzzle onto the floor in our family room. Those were the frame pieces because Ann always puts the frame of a puzzle together first. I could see all the pieces at once and I could see exactly where each of them went. Then Ann got an idea, and it wasn’t a very nice one. Nora is anxious about her plan; she has worked hard to not be noticed, and she worries that the poor grades will excite her parents and bring her unwanted attention.She remembers when she started kindergarten and thought she could get away without participating by hiding under her desk and pretending to be a cat instead of a girl.In a family of high achievers, Nora Rowley seems to be the odd one out.While her sister's grades and accomplishments are extraordinary, and her brother's are certainly far from lacking, she brings home a report card full of Ds.This instead brought a lot of attention and worry, and Nora realized that being different in any way brought trouble.So she began observing the kids around her and mimicking them.When her parents force her to reveal her grades, they are alarmed and unhappy.Stephen confronts Nora about her poor grades, and she confesses that she did poorly on purpose.