It’s Progress Report Time!

Oct 20, 2023 | Southtowns
5 Strategies for Taking on the Rest of the School Year

Progress reports are out, which means it’s a perfect time to discuss with your child how the school year has started and what they can do to achieve their goals by year’s end. Are they behind in some areas? Do they need to be challenged more? Let your child know that you’re ready to help them figure out what they need for a rewarding rest of the school year. Here are some tips to help you put your progress monitoring to work:

1. Get Your Questions Answered
While progress reports are good indicators of how your child is doing, they don’t always tell you everything you need to know. Discuss them with your child to make sure they understand their scores and any teacher comments. Keep lines of communication open with your child’s school and teachers to be sure you’re not missing any important information. You may be wondering, for example, if your child is performing at grade level in math or reading. This information is often not included on a progress report, but it’s critical to understand what your child’s skill level should be at their age. Research shows the vast majority of K-12 parents believe their kids are performing at their grade level when they’re not. 90% of parents think their kids are doing fine, but standardized test scores show otherwise. This is partly due to the fact that report cards measure a multitude of things, not just a child’s knowledge of the subject.

2. Make a Plan
Sit down with your child and explore ways for them to either stay on track in their classes or catch up to where they need to be. Or, if they’re already ahead, discuss what it will take to keep them interested in the subject. Encourage your child to advocate for themselves, to ask for the teacher’s help when needed. This is also a great time to connect with programs that can help them get the support they need, such as supplemental tutoring. And remember to keep a long-term perspective. The key is for your child to stay focused and not lose sight of their goals. Be sure they aren’t overscheduled with extracurricular activities or feeling so worried about grades that they don’t enjoy the learning process. A successful school experience involves gaining knowledge, thinking independently, asking questions, and developing confidence.

3. Speak in Positive Terms
Sometimes a progress report can create anxiety in a child, especially if they believe that by underperforming, they’re letting someone down — whether it be their parents, teachers, or anyone else who wants to see them do well. Assure your child that learning is a process with inherent ups and downs, and that there are ways to work through any academic issues they’re having. Show them that you have confidence in them to get to where they want to be. Encourage them to discuss with you their strengths — both academic and otherwise — as well as areas where they may have difficulty. Help them understand that our strengths and weaknesses are what make each of us unique, and that there’s nothing wrong with needing or getting extra help. In fact, seeking that help — whether it be tutoring or another after-school resource — is one of the best ways to empower your child with the essential tools to thrive in the classroom.

4. Avoid Comparisons
You’ll go a long way in gaining your child’s trust and willingness to discuss their progress by keeping their grades off social media and out of conversations with friends. If they receive a grade worth celebrating, let your child know that you’re proud of them for the work they put in to get that grade. The emphasis should be on the knowledge, skill or ability they have obtained. You don’t want them to be so focused on the grade itself that they overlook the importance of what they’re learning. When the foundational knowledge is gained, the grades will follow. For example, the ability to use critical thinking in solving math problems and applying learned concepts will always extend beyond just one quiz or test.

5. Seek Help Where Needed
When parents know how their kids are doing academically, they’re more likely to take advantage of the tutoring programs and other resources that are out there. Through progress monitoring and advocating for your child, you’ll be giving them the opportunity to reach their true potential by getting them the help they need. It has become clear through several studies that a good tutoring program – whether in-person, virtual or hybrid – works well in catching kids up to where they need to be. It might even give them that extra push to excel beyond grade level. Look for a program that teaches kids in a way they understand and that focuses on a child’s individual needs and learning patterns.

At Mathnasium Learning Centers, students are provided with a customized learning plan and the personalized instruction they need to accelerate their math skills and take on the rest of the school year with confidence. Whether your child is looking to catch up, keep up, or get ahead, Mathnasium’s highly-trained instructors meet them where they are and guide them to where they need to go. And if your child is advanced beyond grade level, they’ll learn to master complex concepts through an accelerated program. The goal is for students to not only improve grades and scores, but also to learn how to solve problems and work independently — tools that last a lifetime.

To get your child started at Mathnasium, call or visit your local learning center today!

Jessica Lahey, How to Help Your Child Succeed at School, New York Times, September 10, 2019.
Jenny Anderson, Many American Parents Have No Idea How Their Kids Are Doing in School, Time, August 28, 2023.
Amna Nawaz, Study Shows Parents Overestimate Their Student’s Academic Progress, PBS News Hour, April 6, 2023.