Monday, November 30, 2009


When the report cards come home, it can be just as stressful for parents as it is for students.

As a parent, it is important for you to know how to interpret your child's report card and what to do if your child is struggling. Whether your child is a high achiever who needs more challenge or a struggling student who needs more help, it’s important to discuss your child’s successes and failures, and to follow up.

A report card can be a valuable tool as a guide to your child’s progress. But like any tool, it has to be used properly. Parents should not simply read the report card, but should understand what it says and talk with their children and their teachers about what it means. Educators at Kumon Canada have compiled the following tips to help parents better understand their child’s report card:

· Pay particular attention to the comments regarding Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Steps sometimes the teacher’s comments mean more than the actual grades that are given.
· Look at the grades that your child is getting in areas that he/she is interested in; this provides a view of your child’s potential.
· Expect highs and lows – very few children are talented in all areas of the curriculum.
· Use the report card in a practical way; get help immediately for subjects where your child is failing or receiving low grades.
· Look for key phrases like “organizational skills”, “focusing”, “non-completion of work”, and “lack of preparation” to track down what is going wrong in a particular subject.
· Pay attention to the section that deals with “days absent” and “times late”; this may provide a clue that you, as a parent, may not have been aware of.
· See if your child is having difficulty in specific areas that could be improved with an addition of some technology, either high- or low-tech (e.g. computers, calculators, electronic organizers, etc.).
· Always fill out the section on the report card where parent comments are requested; these are read by teachers, and as a last resort you may have to contact the principal if you cannot reach an accommodation with the teacher concerning your child’s needs.

· If your child's grade is relatively low in a particular subject, compare your child's grade to the rest of the class before you panic.
· If the class average or medium is below 60 per cent, parents should talk with the principal about whether the teacher is too stringent in marking -- obviously, many in the class are not learning.

· Pay attention to the I.E.P. (Individual Educational Plan) box; if it is not checked off, then your child’s program has not been modified for his/her special needs.
· A child should never be receiving a failing grade in a subject where the I.E.P. box is checked off; this is grounds for an official grievance by the parent to the school.

Bear in mind, a report card should quantify what you are already aware of. Any surprises should alert you to a changing situation in your child’s educational progress which should be immediately addressed.

Do let your Kumon Instructor know when you feel the program has made a difference in your childs report. It is always a thrill for us to know that we have played a small part in your childs success.

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