By Ellen Weismer
We are a month into the school year and it’s a great time to check-in with your middle and high schoolers to see how things are going. Progress Reports can be helpful in initiating these conversations with your child without making them feel defensive if they aren’t quite making the grade. In the past, Progress Reports were only sent to families if their students were struggling in a class. Now, in most cases, they are a tool that can offer a glimpse into if a student is doing their work, how a student is doing in a class, and where the student needs improvement.
Before you read your student’s progress report, familiarize yourself with their school’s grading rubric. Standards based grading that is used in most progress reports will allow you to see how your child is progressing relative to the state standards at their grade level. Most Progress Reports break down the classes into assignments, tests and class participation. A “3” doesn’t necessarily translate to a “B” so use this opportunity to talk with your child about how they’ve scored in each area and set some goals for improvement. If a student is “MS- meeting standards” or scoring a “4” in every class, encourage them to reach out to the teacher to learn about the standards at the next level so they can do extra work and continue to progress to avoid a plateau.
If you find that your child’s Progress Report is loaded with “1s & 2s” or “Needs Improvements & Incompletes” don’t ignore it or chalk it up to being early in the school year. It is time to take action, help your child make a list of what they are missing and encourage them to talk to their teacher about redoing assignments or turning them in for partial credit. More importantly, talk with your child about what happened so you can help them problem-solve to avoid missing assignments in the future. It could be as simple as helping them set-up a to-do list on their phone or creating an assignment book to help them keep track. If their low scores are due to not understanding the materials this is a perfect time to look into a tutor or some academic support.
And finally, here are three easy questions you can talk about with your child after reading their Progress Report:
1. What do you see in this Progress Report that surprises you?
2. What goals do you have for the rest of the year?
3. How can I help you continue to be successful/ improve for the rest of the year?
Galin Education has many resources available to help including Executive Functioning, Academic Coaching and Academic Tutoring. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.