You’ve made it (kind of). It is just about officially the halfway point of the first quarter or trimester!!! Right around now, you should be receiving that first progress report or updates about your child in school.
Cue the freakout.
But seriously, it is time for you to do a top to bottom check-in at school for each of your children.
Mid-Quarter Progress Check
Taking a hard look at where your child is academically, behaviorally, and socially can be a huge gut check or a take a weight off your mind. But what should you look for?
Individual Subject Grades
If you don’t regularly check your child’s grades in the online portal (or there isn’t one at your school), now is the time. Hop online or request a summary of your child’s grades from the teacher.
What to look for:
You are looking for anything out of the ordinary. If you can see grades for each assignment, look for any grades that are one or more letter grades (A-F) or 10-15 points lower than your child’s normal range.
For example: Child A normally scores between 80 and 100 on math assignments. There is a quiz that shows a score of 60.
This is a huge red flag. Ask to see that particular quiz or a copy of the blank quiz. If there are multiple similar grades that seem lower than normal in one subject area, like a cluster of 75% when your child is normally in the 90% range, ask to meet with the teacher.
Grades that are one or more letter grades/10-15 points lower than normal show that your child might not understand that particular concept or indicate a bigger struggle in the subject area.
On the progress report or online, check out the current average grade in each subject. Remember that your child has his or her own natural grade range. Take a peek at these cumulative grades.
What to look for:
You are looking, again, for anything significantly below their normal range. If your child is generally an A/B student and there is a D in English, this is outside of the normal range.
If there are these red flags, take a closer look at the individual grades in that subject (if you haven’t already done that).
Grades that are way outside of normal could indicate that your child is struggling with the subject or with one particular topic. Your child might be having work completion issues or not be working to his potential. The teacher could also be giving greater weight to particular assignments than others, with a poor grade on a smaller item bringing the grade way down. Or there could have been an error in marking.
All of these should be considered when looking at your child’s unusually low grade.
A very low grade that is out of the ordinary could also indicate a larger struggle that could require tutoring or academic evaluations.
Does your child receive a conduct or citizenship grade? It’s time to look at that! Often these are given on a 1-4 scale or with letters.
The way the numbers match to meanings depend on the school’s preference. Here’s what those numbers might mean:
1=exceptional/needs significant improvement
4=needs significant improvement/exceptional
Here is what letters generally mean:
E = exceptional
S = satisfactory
M = meets expectations
CD = consistently displays
N = needs improvement
I = needs improvement
P = poor/shows progress
Confirm these meanings with your school!
What to look for:
You are looking for something out of the ordinary. A poor citizenship or conduct mark when everything else seems to be on or above expectations is a red flag.
You are also looking for a significant change. Maybe last year everything was marked very highly, but this year those citizenship scores are dipping or very scattered.
Often students display distress first in their behaviors. A child who was previously well-behaved and capable suddenly acting out is a sign that something is not quite right.
Consistent poor marks in citizenship or conduct in one or more areas over time can also indicate other concerns, like attention issues or lack of social understanding. You can use these grades to help initiate evaluations.
What To Do
If you notice something not quite right, the first thing you should do is take a DEEP breathe. I’ll wait.
Now, get ready to send an email. You will need to keep your emotions in check, though. When you are ready, you should send an email like this:
I received (Child’s Name)’s progress report. I am concerned about (particular grade or grades, subject grade, conduct grade). What I am seeing seems (out of the ordinary/to possibly indicate a larger concern).
I would like to meet as soon as possible to discuss my concerns. I am available (dates/times). Please let me know what works best for you.
This email shows your concern for your child very clearly. You are also inviting the teacher, professionally and respectfully, to join you in addressing your concern.
You are also starting the process early, in October. If you were to wait until the end of the grading period, your concerns might be lost in the shuffle. The teacher will be getting messages from all of the parents. By getting in early, you’ll be more likely to have the teacher’s undivided attention.
Want even more help? Get your copy of Talk to the Teacher today! Click the picture below.