Data can be a scary word for people who aren’t used to it. But in a sense, data is really just information. Your child will have data/information attached to him all through school. It comes in the form of report cards, test scores, benchmark results, progress reports, and parent teacher conferences.
It can be important for your child’s future that you take this data and use it to inform your decisions.
How does this work? Great question! Here are some examples:
- You notice your first grader’s test and quiz scores are slipping. So, you check in with him and find out he’s showing some warning signs of stress that you need to address.
- You get a letter from your child’s teacher saying that he’s doing great on tests and quizzes but isn’t turning in homework. And his grades are suffering. This prompts you to check in with him and you find out that he’s losing his homework on the way to school.
- Your child consistently underperforms on oral reports, and you know this because you keep track of these things. For the next oral report, you spend extra time practicing with your child so that he gets used to speaking in front of a group.
- You and your child are keeping track of his high school courses and you notice in the beginning of junior year that he is not on track to graduate. You’re able to work with the school counselor to figure out what he needs to do to graduate on time.
If you’re a numbers person, you can really dive deep into your child’s data and use Excel documents or other software programs to keep track of test scores, homework, attendance and more. Even if numbers make you a little nauseous (*raises hand* …that’s me!), you can still create your own simplified system that will help you use the data to your child’s advantage.
Schools across the country are becoming more and more aware of how important it is for students and parents to have access to their data. A few years ago, the School District of Philadelphia created a program called StudentNet, which is an online portal that shows students their grades, benchmark scores, attendance record, and much more. Lots of private schools now use programs like Edline where students can view their grades and homework assignments.
You probably know why grades are important. Attendance might be less obvious. Attendance Works created the following info graphic to show how important it is that kids attend school regularly in the early years.
What should you do?
Here are some things you can do to get a handle on your child’s data.
1. Check to see if your school has a software program. Ask your child’s teacher or a school administrator if there’s a way you can see homework assignments, grades, etc online.
2. Create a system of keeping track of your child’s data. You can create a simple chart on pen and paper. If you know how to work Excel, you can create a workbook. Microsoft has many different templates in Excel and Word that can make tracking grades easy.
3. Connect with your teacher. There are certain things you can do to build a great parent-teacher relationship. When it comes to making sure your child is on track, the teacher will be your greatest ally.
This doesn’t have to be hard. You’ll want to work with your child as well and get them to understand why keeping an eye on grades is important. As they get older, you’ll want them to take over the tracking system and shoulder that responsibility.