Interim grade reporting can be an anxiety-inducing activity for households. Students might either cheer in happiness or get upset with their teachers, but they rarely reflect on how they had earned their grades or on how they could improve.
As the school counselor, I would like to challenge students (and parents) to build their metacognition to help students see the link between their actions and their grades and to foster a growth mindset toward learning.
How does one change the way they look at grades? Follow these steps to a healthier outlook and mindset about grade reporting:
- Remember, interim grades are simply a snapshot in time. They do not count towards your GPA or go on your transcript. They can determine eligibility for extra-curricular activities, but even that is temporary once grades are brought up to passing.
- Realize the Power of Yet. Reframe that "failing" grade to "not yet passing." That 88 isn't "just a B" but rather "almost an A."
- Note any improvements in grades and understand how you got there. Were you at a 32 two weeks ago, and now you're at a 64? Did you struggle to pass science last year, but you're making an "A" this year? How did you do that? What was different? What changed?
- Note any grades that dropped or aren't as high as you know they can be. Similar questions apply: What happened? What changed? What can you try that you haven't already tried? What resources are available to you?
- Think about your relationship with your teachers. Is there room for improvement? What can you do to foster that? Do you need direction on how to calmly but assertively speak with the adults/teachers? If so, the guidance department can help you with that.
- Think about how you're spending your time. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you doing the things that will help you achieve your goals? If you're feeling overwhelmed, do you have a time management system? (If not, try time blocking.)
- Finally, write it all down and move forward.
I hope this time can be a fruitful learning moment for families. Remember, we all face challenges: What defines us is how we react to those challenges. Grade reporting can be challenging. React in a way that promotes learning, growth, and resiliency.