With the academic year coming to an end, the anxiety will slowly creep in as it will soon be time for parents to brace themselves and see their children’s academic performance.
Report cards are an indicator of whether your child has met the minimum requirements to move on to the next grade. It is also an indicator of where your child’s academic understanding of subjects is and where best it can be improved.
Colin Northmore, Principal at Evolve Online School, a brand of ADvTECH, said: "By the time a student's report card arrives, learning gaps that could have been addressed three months ago have been left to worsen further. A small, easily corrected, negative issue result could cause things to continue down a slippery slope as students lose motivation and become despondent. They stop believing in their ability to master the subject in question.”
Here are some essential tips on how parents can approach report cards:
1. Always approach report card review from the angle that, even if a child has not yet achieved mastery or completed their work, the focus must be on the word yet.
Have not yet completed the work; you have not yet mastered the piece. Leave open the door to the idea that education is a work in progress and that a less than ideal result doesn't mean the door to success has been closed. Incomplete work and poor performance are great starting points for developing agency and a reflective process that leads to independence.
2. Make sure that you review the report card by yourself before you discuss it with your child. Remove any immediate reactions of being dissatisfied with what you are seeing. Go through the report card, make notes of areas you are picking up that they did well, and then look at places where they might need to improve.
3. Choose a quiet time for you to sit down with your child, but make sure to bring a treat to share (to create a positive mood and environment). Start by discussing positive results and improvements. Ask them to show you the work that they enjoyed doing and where they have excelled. Leave the negative elements and areas requiring improvement for later in the discussion.
Focus only on the positive and ask them to share the work they are proud of excited about with you. This session is your opportunity to gain a deeper insight into your child's passions. If they start to talk about areas where they have not done well, gently explain that that is a conversation for tomorrow and redirect to the positive. Eat your treats and celebrate.
4. The following day, sit with your child and ask them to take some time to think about the challenges they are facing and come back with some ideas on what they can do to tackle these concerns.
Please focus on the work that they have not performed well in yet or have not yet completed work. Ask them to think of what strategies they can follow to resolve the not completed work. Who can they ask to assist them? What can they read or watch? Which work can they redo? This strategy encourages them to reflect and develop meta-cognitive thinking skills (thinking about their thinking) - a critical life skill.
5. Then help your child develop an action plan linked to specific times in their calendar to address the challenges standing in their way.