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Report Cards

Everyone likes to feel like a superstar. When it comes to your child and report cards, it's no different. It's important to talk about the grades that your child receives, and what went into those grades. But it's also equally important that your child feels that he has accomplished something at the end of a marking period.

Remember that your child's progress in school is a process. Report cards show where a student stands at one point in time; they're not the final word. A report card is intended to help you see where your children are succeeding in school, and where they need some help. It's a starting point for a discussion between you and your children about their schoolwork.

Here are some things you might keep in mind about report cards:

  • Above all, talk with your kids about their progress in school on a regular basis. That way, you can get them the help they might need before report cards arrive.
  • If your child comes home with a poor report card, try to keep your cool. Your child may feel very vulnerable and discouraged about how he's done. Letting your disappointment get the better of you will only make things worse.
  • Ask your child why he thinks he's received the grades he has. Remember, it's just as important to find out why your child received good grades as well as why he got bad grades. Talk about where he succeeded, where he ran into problems, and what you can do together in the future.
  • Many schools' report cards provide more than just a simple letter grade. Sometimes they assess different factors that contribute to your child's overall grade, like class participation or completing homework. These can often give you a better understanding of how your child is doing in school.
  • If you still have questions after you've talked with your child or if you are especially concerned, you might consider scheduling a conference with your child's teachers, too.

No matter what, be sure to praise your child. It could be for something as simple as showing good effort, improving in a particular subject, or any of the many other things that contribute to a grade.

For more help with talking to your kids about report cards, try one of these links:

  • What should you do if your child has gotten grades that aren't as good as you think he deserves? What if a teacher writes that your child's social skills need improvement? has a host of good suggestions tailored to different situations you may find yourself in as a parent.
  • There are plenty of pointers on how to talk about report cards at FamilyWorks.



U.S. Department of Education Star Schools Program