Understanding Interims

    This time of year, many parents have received their child’s interim, or progress report, and the teacher’s notes that come with it.  Many schools offer these mid-semester reports in order to communicate with parents, allow the student to make any necessary behavioral or academic adjustments, and to ensure that each child is set up to be as successful as possible.  

     You don’t want to miss this opportunity to connect with your child’s instructors and understanding their interims will give you an inside look into their performance. Whether your child experiences anxiety about receiving grades or is indifferent about it altogether, interims can be an extremely helpful tool for you and your student. Progress reports are usually issued halfway through the grading period and outline your child’s schedule and their grades thus far. These progress reports often include notes from teachers about how your child is behaving in class and whether there are any issues that need to be addressed. Receiving these grades and behavioral notes in the middle of the grading period allows your student to make necessary adjustments. For example, teachers may notice that your son’s grades are lower in classes where he sits further back and encourage him to schedule an eye exam.  Your daughter may have no problem with her math assignments at home, but struggles to focus when in class surrounded by her friends. Some kids may still be adjusting, like 9th graders who aren't used to the workload of a high school student. Nevertheless, by October, you should have a solid idea about where your child stands.  Progress reports allow teachers to pinpoint any difficulties that your child might be experiencing and connect with you to discuss them.

     If your child often tells you, “nothing happened at school” or “we didn’t learn anything”, it can be difficult to know how things are really going.  Interims are a great resource for parents who aren’t getting much information from their children. Teachers often spend even more time with your children than you do, so having open communication between you will often make for a much more successful student. Read the instructor’s notes carefully and keep them in mind to re-address during the next meeting.

     Parents should also look at what rubric their child’s interim grades are based upon. Grading systems vary all over the country and a poor grade doesn’t always mean that your child doesn’t grasp the material. Does your child have a D in a class based off of three grades, or off of thirty? If one bombed test is affecting his or her grade significantly, that is less worrisome than an entire test category showing up in the red. If/when a concern arises, work with your child and his or her teacher to create a plan that addresses the issue.  There is still time for students to bring up their interim grades, but before you know it, the holidays will be here, and report cards will be arriving.

     As educators, we strongly encourage parents to take advantage of parent-teacher conferences after interims have been distributed.  We understand how overwhelming schedules are, but a short meeting with your child’s teacher could greatly benefit him. If you cannot be present for the assigned day, reach out to the teacher and work out another option (whether it's after school or before school, or even via phone). These are a huge opportunity to get a window into your child's classroom and an idea of how they’re doing outside of the home. You may be looking at a simple fix to bring some of those grades up!

progress report photo.jpg