MANY families take advantage of school report cards to talk to their children about school.
Though the report card is important, it should not be the sole standard to evaluate a child’s academic performance since every child is different. And, so are his or her circumstances.
A child’s academic performance is satisfactory when it conforms to his intellectual capacity and effort put in. Performance is sufficient when a student’s grade is “passed” or “progresses adequately”.
Two paradoxical situations may occur:
FIRST, the student passes with a sufficient grade point average, but his performance is unsatisfactory.
This is because the student could have obtained a better grade by improving his learning capacity according to what was expected of him.
This is the case of gifted students who, with little effort, can manage a passing grade. It also depends, however, on how demanding the teacher is.
SECOND, the student makes a great effort and dedicates many hours to studying, but does not achieve a good grade. This depends on a few factors: the student’s method of study, his knowledge of the subject and whether the teacher is too demanding.
Nevertheless, parents should not place too much of value on the grades their children obtain in school because they could be making three mistakes:
FIRST, parents demand less from their child than what he is capable of achieving, thus fomenting mediocrity. This may lead him to fail in the future though he is making do with a pass.
SECOND, parents demand more from the child than he is capable of achieving.
Expecting a high performance from an average student who tries hard to progress could create a state of anguish and anxiety in him, thus resulting in him refusing to study.
THIRD, parents and teachers impose the same expectations on students when, in reality, each child has different intellectual capacity.
Comparisons between siblings or classmates produce negative consequences and can lead to jealousy or envy.
Instead of assessing the report card, parents and teachers must consider whether the academic performance that each child or student achieves matches his intellectual capacity.
Arturo Ramo, Retired education inspector, Spain