Schoolwork is a huge source of tension for many families, especially for those with students who have executive function challenges. Untapped Learning’s mentors alleviate some of that pressure by monitoring grade portals and checking teacher websites so parents can take a step back. Our mentors build strong, trusting relationships with students in order to hold them accountable from a non-parent, non-teacher perspective.
Constantly Checking Your Student’s Grades—Helping or Hurting?
Unlike the archaic, end-of-semester report cards of the past, online portals now keep parents and students updated with every assignment grade entered. This constantly-updating force is great for accountability, but terrible for anxiety. The ability to check grades at all times is accompanied by an increase in conflict between students and parents. Minute-by-minute updates create so much tension in our community! How do we use portals as a positive resource and not let them negatively dictate the atmosphere of a household?
Avoiding the Slide
At this point of the school year, we see a few big projects and test grades hit the portals, and it can be the start of a slide that lasts past one individual instance. If your student’s grades start to slip, take note and see what systems are failing. Are routines not being followed? Are they straying from their assignment game plan, procrastinating on large projects, or not studying enough for major assessments? Tweak these systems now before finals week hits. This time of year is crucial: if they’re stuck in their bad habits now, it’s infinitely harder to raise their grades in the last two weeks of the term.
Process over Product
“Bad” grades have the power to set the tone of parent/student relationships if viewed through the wrong lens. So many assumptions can accompany a 62% on a test: the most frequent are student laziness or lenient parenting. Those are the last things we should assume when we see a bad grade. Instead, think about the idea of process over product. We want to make sure all the pillars are in place to set students up for success with these big exams and projects. First, we look at the prep that went into it. How was the student studying? Did they utilize office hours with teachers for review? These questions need to be asked in order to gauge the process. The product will improve when the process is strong. It’s not always easy, but patience is key. Patience means knowing that students will fail, but what are we learning from the failures that we can adjust for the next big assignment?
Establish clear expectations
Make sure your student knows what your expectations are for grades but more importantly, for effort. Receiving a C on a test they studied well for is completely different than receiving a C on a test they didn’t prepare for at all. Every assignment and assessment is different for each class. Hold your student accountable for bad grades when they don’t put in the effort they should, and work with them to adjust their processes when they did put the effort in but the grade doesn’t reflect that.
Last tip: Turn off portal notifications – no one benefits from checking the websites multiple times a day!
Visit untappedlearning.com to learn more.
In partnership with Mile High Mamas.