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Understanding Report Cards at Every Stage

Report cards can be confusing and stressful, but they don’t have to be! Report card reporting requirements vary greatly from province to province and even from school board to school board; some students get letters, some get percentages, and others get neither.

Regardless of which style of report card your child brings home, it’s important to cut through the school jargon and academic gobbledygook to get a clear picture of your child’s progression in school.

Whether your child is starting elementary school or taking a victory lap in high school, here’s what to keep an eye out for on your child’s report card at every stage.

Report Cards in the Early Years—Kindergarten to Grade Two

From the ages of five onwards, children are learning to adjust to an academic setting. Report cards tend to report on students’ behavioural and social progress, such as how they are getting along with their peers and whether they can stay focused on a task.

Academically, young children are being introduced to the basic skills that they will use to build all future learning. Reading progression is critical during the early years. Students should be continually meeting, if not exceeding, the reading progression standards.

While young students may have their entire academic future ahead of them, poor report cards could mean potential problems in the long run. If issues are cropping up time and again, parents should consider getting extra help for their child so that the issue doesn’t become a major learning roadblock.

Children are changing greatly during the early years, and what was a problem today may not be a problem tomorrow. Even if a particular area might be of concern, parents should watch for incremental improvement from one report card to the next. Always discuss report cards with the teacher, who can give a better picture of a child’s progress.

Each report card marks a milestone of achievement. Just because a child is underperforming on one report card does not mean that there won’t be significant improvement by the next report card.

  • watch for incremental improvement from one report card to the next
  • watch for developing basic skills
  • watch for excitement about school and learning
  • get help early on if grades are low

Report Cards in the Middle Years—Grades Three to Eight

The middle years of school are all about progress markers. While the early years focus on behaviour and development, the middle years become more important academically. Children are introduced to increasingly difficult academic skills, and their ability to learn these foundational skills is very much the focus of report cards.

Low grades on report cards, while problematic, are not as much of a cause for concern as grades that are dropping. Consistency is key on report cards during the middle years; children should not be going down in grade points.

At this stage, the emotional impact of report cards becomes an issue. Worrying about grades can cause stress among children and parents alike. Parents can offer incentives to students to help increase their study time or learn to ask for help in order to maintain grades.

When poor grades are present on multiple report cards, parents should consider it a red flag and seek help before the problem becomes a major issue.

  • watch for incremental improvement from one report card to the next
  • watch for developing skills
  • watch for emotions and stress
  • get extra help as soon as an issue appears

Report Cards in High School

In high school, report cards are the biggest indicator of academic performance and progression. The first report of the school year is a warning flag—if there are issues, students should get help as soon as possible. There is plenty of time for students to improve grades before the second and final report cards.

In high school, students’ grades should reflect their short and long-term goals in life. Students need to consider the long-term outcomes of what their grades will mean to them based on what their future goals are.

The pressure is on; students are moving quickly on the fast track toward higher education, and every grade counts. Students should seek extra help as soon as they realize that they need extra support, whether in a particular subject or in study or homework skills. The sooner that students get the support that they need, the less stressful that report cards become.

  • watch for incremental improvement from one report card to the next
  • watch out for dropping grades
  • watch for emotions and stress
  • get extra help early on to bring marks up

Report Card Concerns? Oxford Learning Can Help!

Oxford Learning’s personalized programs help students of all ages and grades stay on track with their learning; with frequent progress reports, parents are always in the loop with their child’s academics.

Take the stress out of report cards with help from Oxford Learning. Contact a location near you to enrol today.

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