School reports are a great tool to help you understand how your teen is going at school – they provide a summary of your teen’s achievements in each of their subjects. Analysing and discussing school reports openly with your teen is an opportunity to celebrate their successes and help them improve their academic performance.
The importance of comments
The grades in your teen’s school report will tell you how they have performed in school tests and exams over the term. However, the comments from their teachers can give you a clearer picture about their overall academic performance and participation in class. Teacher comments can often be a great insight into your teen’s strengths, the effort they put into their classes and areas for improvement.
Your teen will value your opinion of their report. When you talk to your teen about their report try to focus on the positives – praise them for the areas they have excelled in, where they have shown improvements, and acknowledge their effort and achievements. Try to be specific with your praise, for example “I’m really pleased with your progress in science. You have been working so hard and have improved so much since the beginning of the year”. Let your teen know that you’re proud of them for trying hard at school, whatever their marks – and try not to compare their results with peers or siblings.
Ask how they feel
Asking your teen how they feel about their report is important too. It can open the door to a discussion about their expectations and interests, where they think they need to focus additional effort and any problems they are experiencing at school. If your teen didn’t do as well as they had hoped, talk about it and help them work out what they can do to improve next time. Remind your teen that getting a bad grade isn’t the end of the world and you are there to support them to achieve their goals.
Set realistic goals
Support your teen to set themselves some realistic learning goals for the next school term. Encourage them to set small, achievable goals such as getting their English assignments done on time, or asking questions in class if they get confused in maths. The feeling of success they will get from achieving their goals will help your teen feel good about themselves as learners, and improve their resilience and confidence. Help your teen identify some achievable learning goals for themselves and support them to put in place a plan to achieve their goals, like implementing good study routines, getting a tutor or participating in a study group.
If in doubt, talk to their teacher
If you are unsure about any areas of your teen’s school report, you can contact the school to arrange to talk with the teacher/s. Teachers can help you understand your teen’s results and address any questions or concerns you have about their progress. They can also give you ideas on how you can help your teen with their learning at home.