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How to Monitor Your Child’s Progress for Common Core Standards Success

To make sure that your child is showing adequate progress at school and will meet the Common Core Standards, it’s essential that you keep track of how he is doing when it comes to mastery of important skills and concepts.

The process that each teacher and school follows for communicating about student progress varies. Schools may send home reports at designated intervals or provide access to an online grade portal. Regardless of the methods used by your child’s school, you can find many ways to monitor your child’s performance at school.

  • Examine results on graded assignments, quizzes, and tests. Check with your child frequently about graded assignments that are sent home. Some teachers send graded work home on specific days, while others send it home as they grade it. At the beginning of the year, find out how your child’s teacher communicates grades and then be consistent in monitoring your child’s progress.

Some schools use standards-based grading, which means that you may not see letter grades (A, B, C, and so on) on every assignment. Standards-based grading involves communicating student progress on individual skills and concepts.

For example, instead of having an A+ in Grade 3 math, your child may receive a report that indicates mastery of addition and subtraction, partial mastery of multiplication and division, and so on. The terminology used in standards-based grading varies from school to school, but the emphasis is on providing specific, actionable information on individual learning standards.

  • Gauge how efficiently your child completes assignments. Don’t wait on grades to find out how your child is progressing. Educators use formative assessment to monitor student progress. This involves assessing how efficiently students can complete tasks that don’t have grades attached to them. You can do this at home by keeping track of how successfully your child completes his homework, identifying whether he struggles or completes it with ease.

    Keeping up with grades and teacher feedback on assignments that are sent home from school is an easy way to see how your child is doing. You can also use the actual standards to track his progress, as well. Each time you practice a specific skill, record how well your child performs on particular standards.

  • Communicate frequently with the teachers to check on your child’s progress on important standards. Reach out on a regular basis to discuss your child’s progress on skills and concepts that are essential to his grade or course. How often you need to check in on your child’s progress depends on how well he is doing at school.

    If he is successfully mastering new skills and concepts, you may not need to check in with the teacher as often. If your child struggles, however, you may want to check in with the teacher every few days or on a weekly basis to make sure you can support him at home.

    Based on your review of the standards and the expectations outlined by your child’s teachers, keep tabs on how well your child is moving along.

Identify important skills and concepts at the beginning of the year. Your child’s teachers should be able to send you a list of these items.

  • Speak openly with your child regarding his understanding of skills and concepts. Make time to discuss important content on a regular basis. This can be as simple as asking him a few quick questions about what he learned at school or the nature of any homework he may have.

    Be sure to discuss specifics so you have a chance to probe his understanding of the skills and concepts contained in his schoolwork.

  • Celebrate success when he catches on to a skill or concept quickly. Don’t forget to be your child’s cheerleader when he has success with a particular skill or concept. It’s easy to get overly focused on the areas where he struggles because you’re trying to be supportive and help him along.

    However, it’s important to remember that he needs to hear from you when he’s doing well, too. Providing this type of validation is a great way to build confidence and self-esteem.

Be specific when you give positive feedback to your child. If he does something well, tell him exactly what he did correctly. This helps to reinforce particular habits and ways of thinking, increasing the likelihood that he will repeat these actions in the future.

  • Don’t back away from challenging content. Be persistent if your child is learning content that he (or even you) finds particularly difficult. If he is struggling with a particular concept, take advantage of the resources that are available to you.

    You can also find many online resources that break down the Common Core Standards. If you or your child is struggling with another aspect of the material he is learning, reach out to your child’s teachers for help.

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