Think back to your own experiences in school. Have you ever received an A on an assignment or in a class, only to know that you learned very little? Perhaps the opposite is also true for you. Have you ever received a C on an assignment or in a class, but have learned a tremendous amount? This is the funny thing about grades. In the end, they’re pretty arbitrary and don’t always reflect what students have learned.
So when you are talking to your child or to your child’s teacher, be sure that the focus of your conversations is on learning. Ask your child questions like: “What did you learn today?” “Does this connect to something you learned yesterday?” “What do you want to learn about next?”
If you find yourself in conversation with a teacher about your child’s performance, keep the questions focused on the learning: “What was the learning goal for this assignment?” “What is she struggling with in meeting this goal?” “What is he doing well?” “How can we support this learning at home?”
I think teachers want parents to remember that grades are earned. They aren’t something teachers bestow upon students; rather, they should be measures of how well a student is demonstrating his or her learning.
(Photo: Erik Isakson)