Assessing The First Report Card Of The Year

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EDISON — With the fall semester drawing to a close, it won’t be long before your child brings home his or her first report card of the year. Good or bad, according to Anthony Giudice of the Edison Huntington Learning Center, parents can learn a great deal from their child’s report card and use that information to set the stage for improvement.

“Report cards open the door for parents to communicate with their children and their children’s teachers,” says Giudice. “Students who are struggling in one or more subjects may fear the report card, but it truly is an invaluable tool to identify problem areas and develop a plan of action.”

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Giudice offers parents the following tips when reviewing their child’s report card:

· Avoid getting upset. If the first thing your eyes fall upon is the lowest grade on the entire report card, repress any knee-jerk reaction, which will make your child feel worse than he or she does already. First, take the time to read the report card in its entirety. Identify any obvious patterns – does your child seem to struggle in math but excel in English? Then, sit down with your child. Ask about any difficulties in school or other contributing factors. Let your child know that you are focused on finding a solution to the problem, and don’t dwell on the grades.

· Develop a turnaround strategy. Whether your child appears to be struggling with all subjects or just one or two, problems will not disappear without proper investigation and action. Talk with your child’s teacher to gain his or her perspective and guidance. Does the teacher feel your child could benefit from a customized one-to-one learning program? What can you do at home to help? Create a plan with measurable (and achievable) milestones to help your child improve his or her grades, which will also boost his or her self-esteem.

· Focus on the positive. Help raise your child’s spirits by taking note of the good parts of the report card. Point out areas where your child has improved since last year. Mention any encouraging comments by the teacher. If finding such glimmers of hope in the report card proves difficult, focus on your child. Commend him or her for the time he or she spends on homework (even if the results don’t show it). Let him or her know you appreciate that positive attitude.

· Investigate other issues at play. Learning problems can stem from many different areas, so before making assumptions, probe further. Review past homework for trouble signs. Evaluate your child’s schedule – is he or she overwhelmed with responsibilities and activities? What about homework time – is it a household priority?

Report-card time may raise the anxiety level at your household, but Giudice reminds parents that periodic checkups on their child’s school progress can be used to their advantage. “Report cards offer parents a breadth of data about their child’s academic progress, social and emotional development, attitude and more,” says Giudice. “Armed with that knowledge, you can determine the best course of action to help your child. Stay involved and stay in touch with teachers and your child. Your participation will help him or her do better in school, and in the long term, will help your child become a happy lifelong learner.”


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