What Parents Need to Know About Report Cards This Year

By Sylvan Learning

High School

With the continued disruptions to the school year, and the many changes to education, it’s no surprise that report cards are going to be different.

In a recent Sylvan Nation survey, a majority of parents said they believe report cards are still very important this school year. So, we sat down with Emily Levitt, our VP of Education, to shed some light on what parents need to know about report cards in 2020!


New factors that educators are using to measure your child’s academic performance

Because there have been changes in classroom management across North America (due to the move to virtual and hybrid schooling, and big changes to in-person instruction), you can expect to see a large change in how your child’s participation is scored.

Emily notes that many teachers are asking students to post their thoughts and questions on an online “board” or chat window to show their participation, in place of traditional hand raising or hands-on projects in the classroom.

Another change you may have noticed, there are more multiple-choice questions on assignments, tests and quizzes, because that tends to be more straightforward for teachers to score. And, you’ve likely grown accustomed to your child submitting papers, tests and assignments online.

Additionally, many kids are asked to voice record verbal responses so the teacher can HEAR their answers (this is especially important for phonics skills and concepts for younger students).


How are report cards going to be different this year?

As mentioned, the way educators are calculating student’s success this school year has changed, so it makes sense that how your child’s grades are calculated will be different, too.

  • Students in grades 9-12 will see the least amount of change in their report cards, as their workloads haven’t changed drastically.
  • Kids in grades 6-8 will likely see minor changes with their report cards to reflect the changes in instruction this year.
  • Children in grades K-5 are going to see the biggest change in report cards, in terms of how they are graded, and the amount of grace that’s given for missing or incomplete assignments.


Here’s how to digest your child’s report card

Emily says that how you should feel about your child’s report card this year really depends on the age of your child.

For teens in grades 9-12, letter grades are still very important for applying to college/university, so teens should not be taking their eyes off the ball. Even in the light of some schools bypassing ACT® and SAT® requirements, those grades will matter more than ever! Having teens focus on excelling in current work will give them an edge in college/university. Plus, it will help ensure they are ready for the rigors of coursework and the level of independence needed to succeed in the future. So, encourage your teen to stay focused and ask for help when he or she needs it!

For younger kids, letter grades in grades K-8 probably aren’t going to come back to haunt your child.

“The younger the student, the more time you have to catch them up,” says Emily.

She recommends being more concerned about skill acquisition than letter grades. If your child is staying caught up with skills, deep breath, he or she is going to be OK.


So, is there a way to find out how my child is really doing?

Yes, there is.

With our unique Sylvan Insight™ Assessment, your child’s academic needs don’t have to be another unknown this year. Led by a Sylvan staff member, the assessment is comprised of a combination of computer-adaptive, paper-based and other interactive sections. The results of the assessment can pinpoint your child’s skill-level knowledge, compared to what they should know for their age and school grade.

Emily has been monitoring the test scores of incoming Sylvan students to see if students are showing effects of having a disrupted school year. We’re seeing that students are coming to Sylvan needing more remediation than during the same time period last year.

In grades 2-8, we’re seeing that across the board, students are generally 3 months behind their peers in skill knowledge from last year. (We took summer slide into consideration, so the loss can almost certainly be attributed to COVID disruption).


We’re here for your family


If your child’s report card isn’t what you think it should be, or you’re seeing COVID learning loss, we can help. Take the first step and contact your local Sylvan today to learn how we can help bring out your child’s best!