Academic Support Tips For Parents

Evaluating Your Child’s Progress

–Submitted by Joe Bruzzese, Students Who Succeed

Now that the first academic quarter is coming to a close, take a moment to assess your child’s achievement and plan for the future.

1. Find 20 minutes in your day when you can sit with your child to talk about their achievement. This time should be uninterrupted and preferably while you not in the car in the midst of rush hour traffic.

2. Take 10 minutes to plan ahead for the meeting. Make a list of positive achievements and places where your child has progressed over the past quarter. Make a second list of areas that you would like to see your child improve or where you would like to see their effort increase. Limit your list to no more than 3 main areas for improvement. Use specific statements like, “”Your test grades seem to give you the greatest challenge in biology. I would like to see you talk to your teacher about other ways you might study for tests and quizzes.”” General statements such as, “”You need to study more instead of spending so much time talking on the phone,”” do not suggest a new action to take, and leave your child frustrated about where to go next.

3. To begin your meeting, ask your child tell you about some of the places he has made progress this past quarter.”” Give your child a few moments to think; remember he didn’t have an opportunity to think about the meeting like you have. After your child has finished sharing his area of progress or achievement then it is your turn to share the positive points from your list. Not to worry, you will have an opportunity to talk about places for improvement.

4. Again, give your child the first opportunity to share about places where he can improve in school. Most children have an easier time identifying areas of improvement than areas of progress. Make an effort to limit your child’s list to 3 main areas where he might improve. A laundry list of “”to-do”” items will not result in building better habits. And finally, takea few moments to share your list of areas for improvement.

5. The final portion of your time should be spent having your child identify 3 goals for the coming academic quarter. Your child’s goals should be structured as action statements. “”I plan to talk with my biology teacher about new ways to study for tests,”” states a specific action that can be achieved multiple times throughout the quarter. Ultimately, your child’s grades will improve if he achieves this goal throughout the quarter. Guide your child away from goal statements like, “”I will get all A’s on my next report card.”” These outcome-based goals may be achievable yet in many cases they are dependent on a multitude of variables, many of which are under the teacher’s control.

About the author

The Parent Connection is a non-profit parenting support group sponsored by Scripps Health. Since 1980, The Parent Connection has been bringing San Diego families together to provide support, share experiences and information, enjoy social activities and build lasting relationships. Parent Connection annual special events are a great way to socialize with other members. And our membership benefits include group discounts to California theme parks and attractions, which more than cover the cost of annual membership. Join now!

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