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Tackling the Report Card Results Talk: 10 Tips

The good, the bad, and the ugly — no matter what the results, a student’s report card should always be discussed. Having this conversation can sometimes be difficult, but it is one that ensures parents are actively participating in their child’s education.

Whether you’re ecstatic or less than thrilled, here are some tips for helping your report card talk be as constructive and beneficial as possible.

  1. Make a statement of intent. Tell the child that you need to have a talk about their report card.
  2. Meet in a private place, sit down face to face with your child, and eliminate distractions — no phones or iPads.
  3. Ensure there will be enough time to have the conversation. Don’t bring it up when you need to leave for soccer practice in half an hour. Rushing will not allow for a relaxed conversation.
  4. Begin the discussion with something positive about their report card. Highlight that they did very well in math, or emphasize a nice comment the teacher made about them. Continue by asking your child what they learned in each subject area— math, English, science, etc.
  5. Ask your child how the teacher determined each grade. Was it homework? Tests? In-class assignments? This will help you determine how committed your child is  to achieving good marks.
  6. Recognize their struggles. Say something like, “you improved in spelling, great job! But, I see you’re still struggling in math.”
  7. Listen to your child. The children who struggle the most are usually the most vocal. Ask them if they feel satisfied with their grade. If they aren’t, discuss what could be done to improve their mark for the next grading period.
  8. Discuss other sections of the report card such as comments, absences, attitudes, etc. and give your child an opportunity to explain each indicator.
  9. Be optimistic and don’t make them feel punished. Say something like “I’m going to help you work really hard to improve on this! We have lots of time to get better, and we will!”
  10. Before you leave the table, make sure these last three steps are accomplished:
  • Create a list of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely), yet challenging goals.
  •  Help your child plan the next steps. Should he or she talk to the teacher about goals in order to obtain guidance or suggestions? Do at-home study habits need to be adjusted? Is extra help needed in a certain subject area?
  • Discuss your own next steps with your child. What will you do to support them and help them meet their goals?
  • Come in to your local GradePower Learning and schedule a Report Card Consultation.

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