Understanding Your Child's Grades

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Report Card On FridgeOnly YOU understand your child and appreciate him/her as a whole learner.  Parents are living through their child’s deficits, not only in school, but at home.  One aspect that has changed the educational experience at home for families is the report cards.  From the format, to the timing, to how the earned grades are delivered to parents, it is incredibly different today. 

It used to be a simple process: The mailman delivered the report cards to our home and we knew the date they would arrive. The proud parents would read through the grades and prominently display the report card on the refrigerator in the kitchen for all to see.  It was an annual or quarterly event. Not today. Now, parents have full access and peek daily at their phones or computer to stay updated.  Parents see each grade as it is posted in real time—no more waiting for the mailman.  This new mode of delivery, of daily or weekly updates, begs the question: Do you fully comprehend the grades? Do you understand what you are looking at in totality? Are the grades giving you helpful information and the entire story?

Here are Helpful Tips as you navigate and understand your child’s grades:

  • Review: Be sure to review sub-categories of the whole grade, including homework, classwork, participation, papers, quizzes, finals, and exams. 
  • Research: Be aware of differences within the grades in each category. For example, if your child earned a “B” average on quizzes, but received an “F” on his final exam, that should give you pause. You need to probe, ask questions, and investigate why there was such a huge gap between the quiz grades and the final and what lead to such a dramatic drop. Keep in mind to ask questions, such as, was there a marked difference in the finals atmosphere?  Was the time allotment appropriate?  Did he/she struggle to the fill in the blank/essay/multiple choice of the tests?  Those are just a few questions that will help you understand the dramatic difference between grades in categories.
  • Request: Be confident in your insight.  Request a team meeting to share your findings. Your input is valuable and allows for a comprehensive understanding of your child’s grades.

- Posted by Mary Jo O'Neill, M.Ed. 

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