Understanding the Middle School Report Card: 5 Tips

Report card day can often be a stressful time for both parents and students.

Parents facing a child's poor report card may find themselves feeling disappointed by the results or apprehensive about the best way to discuss bad grades with their child's teacher.

Students can feel discouraged if they've been struggling to do better for a while, but they are just not able to make the grades. Here's how to talk to your child about their report card!

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Tips for Talking to Your Middle Schooler About Report Cards

1. If there was a grade that was lower than expected, make a plan for how to improve it.

What brought down the overall grade? Were there concepts that just stumped them? Was it quizzes, tests, homework, class participation? Ask your child to identify the area that needed the most improvement and to lay out 2-3 ways to turn that around.

2. Talk to your child about what they were struggling with.

Ask your child to think of a time when they easily understood a new topic, or really connected to a teacher's teaching style. "What was it about that topic or teaching style that worked well for you?" You may discover that your child learns better by taking notes, reviewing ideas in a group of peers or watching a video. Find ways to incorporate those strategies into other subjects as well.

3. Foster your child's strengths, talents and interests.

Give lots of praise and support your child's efforts.

4. Monitor your child's progress.

Most schools grant parents access to their child's account in the district's learning management system. If you're concerned about your child's progress, it's time to log in and see a record of their work. Are assignments being turned in? And on time? What do classwork grades look like? If you spot missing or late assignments, organization skills may need a boost.

If you see low classwork scores, then it's time for a conversation with the teacher to determine the nature of the problem. Is your child distracted or unfocused during the lessons, or are they truly struggling with the content? Once you have more details, you can decide what to do next—whether it's a request for additional support from the teacher, or to find a tutor.

For 5 easy-to-use, time-management and organization tools, get our popular "Eliminate the Sunday Night Homework Panic" guide ... It's FREE. 

5. Encourage your child to set up a study plan.

Your child needs to develop regular study habits and spend an adequate amount of time every day on completing homework and studying for tests. Be aware of your child's assignments and observe whether your student is using time effectively to tackle homework and study. Encourage them to put forth their best effort and to persevere.

What's Going on Academically in Middle School


We've compiled some important things to know about what's happening academically in middle school, as well as some simple tips you can use to empower your child to bring home a report card that will make everyone proud of progress and accomplishments!

Get all the info in our “How Can I Help My Child Transition to Middle School?” blog!

Find My Local Sylvan
We'd love to talk with you about how we can help your child reach his or her individual goals!