Report cards and progress reports are starting to come due in many areas, something about which many parents have mixed feelings. If your child already has educational challenges, this might be a time of the year that you particularly dread. Instead of dreading what might happen if your child receives poor grades, it’s generally more productive to start thinking about what needs to be done next.
Look for Growth and Regression
As a parent, it’s important that you think about more than just letter grades on the report card. While these grades will no doubt have an impact on your child’s academic future, it’s often just as important to compare your child’s performance against how he or she has performed in the past. When you look at a subject, try to determine if your child is progressing, regressing, or if he or she isn’t moving at all. Regardless of the answer, you’ll be able to move forward with a more informed point of view.
Read the Notes
Next, start looking at the notes. Many teachers input some kind of note with their grades, and those notes can often be more informative than the score. Look to see if the teacher mentions that your child has struggled or if your child has been lax in turning in assignments. Having an idea of not just what the grades are but why your child got those grades can be quite helpful.
Talk to Your Child
You should also talk to your child about his or her grades. Ideally, a report card shouldn’t be much of a shock, but if it is, then it is time to talk to your child about any discrepancies that you’ve seen. Sometimes it’s also helpful to simply talk to your child to see how he or she feels about the grade – what you think is a middling grade might be something that your child feels that he or she worked very hard to earn.
Convene a Meeting
Finally, you may wish to think about convening your child’s IEP team if his or her grades were far below expectations. If your child is struggling because of an educational deficit, that needs to be addressed. A meeting isn’t always a necessity, but one should be convened if you feel that your child’s grades are suffering because of things that are outside of his or her control.