Understanding the report card format is critical. If your child’s teacher did not provide an explanation of the report card format that is being used, be sure to request one so you are clear on how your child is being evaluated.
The newly enhanced report card structures that many schools are now using are not only aligned with state standards (Common Core), they also are supposed to provide parents a more meaningful assessment of their children’s progress.
• Effort and comprehension are areas of focus. One major change with the introduction of Common Core is the greater emphasis on critical thinking skills. Those changes will very likely be reflected in the report card, which will not only assess a student’s detailed content knowledge, but also his or her demonstrated understanding of higher-level concepts and more.
Pay attention to these marks, as they are a significant measure of students’ performance moving forward with
• Progress toward mastery of grade-level standards is the new norm. While every school district may be different, parents across the nation can expect report cards—particularly in the elementary grades—to measure students’ growth over the course of the school year, not just the term for which they are evaluated.
As such, it is important that you understand the different progress indicators and what any numeric codes used actually mean regarding your child’s achievement of grade-by-grade benchmarks.
• It’s all about college and career readiness. The Common Core State Standards were created to ensure all students graduating from high school are capable of succeeding in college-level classes and in their careers. That overarching purpose is reflected in the details of your child’s report card by showing what a student is expected to know and your child’s progress toward those targets. Keep that in mind as you read through your child’s report card.
• As always, contact your child’s teacher with specific questions. The great thing about Common Core and the way teachers will now be assessing students is that there is a big-picture goal in mind. This creates a perfect opportunity to notice your child’s strengths and progress, while keeping an eye on areas to work on.
Eileen Huntington is co-founder of Huntington Learning Center, a student tutoring company with locations across the nation.