Bad Grades? Here’s What To Do


bad-grades-21If your child is getting bad grades, you want to be supportive, but you also want to ensure that their academic performance improves.  While it’s natural to get upset by bad grades it is important to remember that the issue may not be a lack of effort but instead your child may lack the skills and basic knowledge they require to do a better job.  You can help them to take responsibility for their academic performance and provide them with the much-needed tools to get the job done.

What’s The Problem?
Every student has a bad test from time to time, but if you notice a marked decline in a particular subject or in overall grades, it’s time to take action. First speak with your child to try to ascertain what the problem is.  Don’t be discouraged if they can’t tell you; it may be that they just don’t know why they aren’t doing as well as their fellow students.

Speak with their teachers; your teachers are generally the best resource for finding the root of the problem.  Problems may range from getting distracted in class, not being organized, lacking study skills or simply forgetting to complete assignments.  You should also investigate the possibility of social issues like bullying.  While there are instances where your child has difficulty with a teacher it is important to try and facilitate a productive relationship.

Fixing The Foundations
If your student has gaps in their knowledge, then the more their teachers build on these foundations, the less they will understand and the greater the issue becomes.  Often teachers may not recognize this as the issue and even if they do the resources they have available to help your child are limited.  If you suspect that this may be the issue, then get an in-home tutor to evaluate your student’s knowledge. They will be able to tell what kind of an understanding they have of the subject matter and help to fill in the gaps.

In-home tutors are able to work individually with your student so that they are able to catch up and generally show very rapid improvement in skills and self confidence.  They are also able to work in a situation where your student feels comfortable and confident.  As they progress, they will feel more confident, and will be more likely to ask and answer more questions that they may have been too intimidated to do so in the classroom.

Study Skills
Teachers don’t always have the time to teach both the course material and study skills.  Your child may need help with the way they study.  Start by asking your tutor or teacher to ascertain what learning style suits your student best.  Then show them how to convert their course materials into a format that is more accessible to them.  For example, if your student is a visual learner, they can remember material by creating a mindmap, flashcards or an inforgraphic.  Ensure that your student knows how to properly study, summarize and revise and how to estimate how much time they should leave for studying.

Get Organized
Being organized isn’t something that comes naturally for most children.  If your student often forgets about assignments and tests, loses items or doesn’t hand work in, they may need help with organizational skills. Find a calendar that works best for them.  This can be a diary, a smartphone app, a whiteboard; anything that helps them to member important upcoming events.

Ensure that you check their calendar every day and help them to fill in the tests, exams and assignment’s they have coming up.  Block out time between extramural activities when they are set to do their homework or study.  Ensure that they have enough time to complete their schoolwork and help them to prioritize tasks.

Writing Skills
With the increased intigration of Common Core into K-12 academics it is becoming more and more important for your child to know how to read, write and clearly communicate their thoughts at higher levels than ever before.  This holds true for every subject and is an area that is not given enough emphasis.  Learning to write better is something that comes with reading, guidance and practice.

Note: Adapted from a post originally published 2/3/2014 on the Tutor Doctor Corp. blog

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Filed under Academic Advice, Education, Improved Learning, Learning Resources, Parenting

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