Tips for Parents: Monitoring Your Child's Educational Progress

by Donna Bayly, M.Ed., and Tina Spencer, M.S.

Parents and teachers work together to share the responsibility for educating students. As the middle of the school year approaches, parents may be wondering if their child is mastering the curriculum while meeting the goals and objectives written at an educational planning meeting. At that meeting, those goals and objectives would have been outlined in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or other student improvement plan. Due to the pressure of state and district testing and the impact of those test scores on future educational planning for students, parents may not feel confident that their child is making adequate progress.

The following is a list of questions that parents can ask in order to get an objective measure of their child's progress.

  • What are the Standards of Learning (SOLs) my child is expected to know at this grade level? Are the students given practice tests? Will I receive the scores of those tests? Are there online practice tests?

  • Does my child take division tests? What do these test measure? When are they given? Will I receive the results of those tests?

  • How can I help my child prepare for tests at home?

  • Is my child using the accommodations/modifications outlined in his/her educational plan? Do they continue to be appropriate?

  • Could you clarify my child's progress or lack of progress in more detail? Could a mid-year meeting be scheduled? I would like to share with teachers what I see at home and would like to gather information about what they see in school.

  • What remediation or supplemental services are available for my child after school or during the school day?

  • What is the best way for us to share information and feedback about my child's academic and social progress (e.g., phone, e-mail, student planners) in addition to the annual planning meetings?

  • Should my child be included in educational planning meetings?

  • How might I help reinforce school rules and expected classroom behaviors?

If your child is not making satisfactory progress or is suspected of having a learning disability, he may need a referral to the Child Study Team at your school. This team will review all concerns and records of past educational testing and make recommendations. As your child's parent, you may initiate this request.

If your child already has an IEP or other services plan, ask for a meeting to review/revise that plan at any time during the school year to address your concerns. Staying informed of your child's academic progress will give you the necessary resources to become an effective partner in your child's education.

References

Berger, E.H. (2004). Parents as partners in education. Columbus, OH: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.

Callison, W.L. (2004). Raising test scores using parent involvement. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Education.

Date: November/December  2007