How to Speak with Your Child about Their Progress Report

Chances are, your child will be bringing home a progress report over the next couple of weeks. This will be the first time for your child’s teacher to let you know where they see your child’s development regarding the standards set by the Ministry of Ontario. Usually, it gives you an idea of where your child is and what areas they need to work on as they work toward some actual marks in February.

When the progress reports are distributed, there are some common questions that parents often have about them such as:

  • What does this Progress Report mean? 
  • How does it help me better understand where my child is at? 
  • How do I talk to my child about it, so they also understand where they are at?

First, let’s look at what this Progress Report is and what it intends to do.

There are two main versions of the Elementary Progress Report Card:

  • Grades 1 to 6
  • Grades 7 and 8

All versions of the Elementary Progress Report Card are intended to show a student’s development of learning skills and work habits during the fall of the school year. Their general progress in working towards the achievement of the curriculum expectations in all subjects are also explained.

Three Options

The three options on the report card are “Progressing Well”, “Progressing Very Well” and “Progressing With Difficulty.”

“Progressing Very Well” means that students are meeting learning goals that are set by the teacher.

“Progressing Well” means that students are working toward meeting the learning goals that are set by the teacher

“Progressing With Difficulty” means that students are not moving toward meeting the learning goals set by the teacher.

You will see a lot of “Progressing Well” as it is a very general statement. Any child that is learning and working toward learning goals in the classroom will fit under this umbrella. This year, with the effects of COVID-19, teachers have been instructed to make the umbrella even larger, so even if children show gaps in their learning, but are still working toward learning in class, then they are still housed under the umbrella “Progressing Well”

“The Progressing With Difficulty” statement means that this student in this subject is still not making much progress in their learning. It is a red flag and should be addressed so that all involved can develop a plan to help improve your child’s education.

So, now that you have this information, what do you do with it, and how do you approach it with your child?

Generate a Conversation

It starts with generating a conversation with your child and addressing, without judgement, how they feel about the designation they received. Start by asking them about what each progressing statement means to them, then ask which ones they feel good about and why. This starts the conversation and gets your child focused on what they did well and what they feel good about.

Engaging with your child in this way can open the door to a discussion in what areas they feel they can improve. It is essential to word it in a way that emphasizes this is an area that they can improve on or that they still have learning to do here. This helps them to think about what they can improve on, not what they failed at. It helps to build a growth mindset in your child and get them to look at problems as solvable rather than hopeless.

Talking about your child’s learning progression is essential in opening up and sharing their feelings about school with you. The more they talk, the more trust is built between you and your child. The hardest part is to focus on the task and listen.

Listen to their thoughts and continue to ask questions. Be open and transparent, share your feelings with them and make sure they have a say in solutions and directions you want to take.

If your child appears to be struggling, it may be helpful to have a conversation with your child’s teacher. A parent-teacher conference can help clarify your child’s academic performance and overall experience at school. This will help you gain more information and build on the progressing statement that doesn’t offer many specifics.

Schedule a Parent-Teacher Conference

By getting past the structured responses on the progress report cards, you can learn more about your child and their learning progress. In a one-on-one conversation, teachers can give more detailed information about your child and offer suggestions on how they can improve in any areas that may be falling behind.

This meeting can also be used as a way for the teacher to understand your child better. Think about how you can describe your child to them to help them connect on a more personal level with your child. Let them know about your child’s favourite subjects, their special interests, hobbies, medical conditions, family situations, and any problems that could affect their learning, attendance, or behaviour.

A Missed Opportunity

Unfortunately, many parents glance at a progress report when it is brought home from school and don’t take much notice. But, this can be a significant time to focus on the child and offer them support in any areas they may be falling behind in. Addressing any issues early on will make it much easier for them to catch up to where they need to be by the time report cards come around.

If your child’s progress report signals that they may be falling behind in Math, the Dropkick Math team can help! At Dropkick Math, we teach students how to approach math concepts and understand their relationships to overcome problems more efficiently on their own. Our tailored programs equip students with problem-solving skills that can help them for years to come. Get started today!