Did you recently come away from a parent/teacher conference with unanswered questions? There are specific ways you can monitor your child’s progress in school.
Monitoring your child’s progress allows you to determine whether your child is at-risk for not meeting grade-level targets. It also helps you know whether he is responding to the how he’s being taught and whether he’ll need support to make satisfactory progress. Furthermore, the monitoring progress can (and should) roll over into the winter and summer break to help your child stay on track with the progress he has made.
ASSESSING PROGRESS: STANDARDIZED TESTS
Our school system uses curriculum-based monitoring in which standardized tests are used to present materials covered during the academic school year. This is a way of monitoring student progress while measuring teaching methods. Additionally, all concepts presented during the school year appear on these tests, although in different forms.
Your student’s teacher may use these tests on a regular basis to measure student progress. If your child’s grades rise during the school year, then it confirms that teaching methods are effective and he is learning. If grades drop, then you know your child is not learning the required skills and you need to investigate further.
A GRAPH CAN SHOW YOUR CHILD’S PROGRESS
Since teachers measure progress once a week (on average), plotting your child’s progress on a simple chart or graph gives you a visible evaluation of his work. Record each grade in a given subject. Those grades will show if your child’s instructional needs are being met. If your child’s is not making progress, schedule a teacher/parent conference.
During the meeting, discuss your child’s progress and the type/amount of instruction needed so your child can make progress toward meeting classroom’s goal and reach academic success in the subject area. As a suggestion, perhaps the teaching method can be changed to fit your child’s learning style, such as an increase in the amount of instructional time using small-group or one-on-one instruction.
Regardless of the teaching method, there must be positive results. Keep in mind, positive feedback provides the student with valuable motivation and encouragement that can change your child’s self-perception from a negative outlook to a positive one. Parents must take a pro-active position to be assured that learning takes place daily and that your student is constantly receiving positive motivation in the classroom.
SUPPORTING YOUR STUDENT
Parents play an extremely important role in how well children do in school. Therefore, it’s critical that parents and teachers work together on behalf of students, forming a positive link between home and school as you support your child’s learning.
While many students benefit greatly from a structured approach to completing homework assignments, consider using a written agreement form. This form is signed by student, teacher, and parent to ensure each person’s commitment to homework completion and it describes each person’s role in homework and the goals expected during homework time.
Use a homework log to record assignments, track progress, and communicate with the teachers. This will help your child manage his time, prioritize things he needs to do, and assess his own progress. Track how long it takes to complete an assignment, how much help is needed, and the materials needed to complete the assignment.
You should receive regular feedback from your child’s teacher regarding your child’s progress and how well he is performing academically, perhaps in a graph form or a written communication along with information on instructional changes and explanations. If you do not receive some form of communication regarding your child’s progress, ask for it.
Too frequently, parents are left to wonder how their child is doing in school and often learn about failing grades when report cards are issued. Remember, regular and consistent feedback with your student’s teacher(s) is recommended — this is not an option.
Glenda Faye Pryor-Johnson, M. Ed.