Several years ago, I started a job with a boss who was focused on metrics. "It's all about what we measure and what we accomplish," he said. "That which gets measured gets done, and so we need to make sure we are measuring the things that are most important." Grades are the metrics of their educational life for our students. We measure their progress in school based on the grades they receive and other indicators like tardies, absences, citizenship scores and the like. And so much is riding on grades and test scores in our modern educational system. Admission to competitive schools, college entrance, scholarships and even participation in favorite extracurricular activities depend on grades. Even car insurance rates are lower for children with good grades. The conversation about grades can be a tough one, whether your student has poor grades, or whether the grades are just less than you know she is capable of. What can a dad do to make sure that talking about grades is motivating without demoralizing your student? First, your child needs to know what you expect from them before the school year even starts.

School grades

As well as classes that might be relatively easy, review their schedule and talk about classes that will be hard for them given their unique gifts. Let them know the grades you think they can realistically achieve with your help. Separate the child from the grade. Remember, education is only one aspeect of their growing up experience. And cognitive skills are not always accurately measured by grades in school. Each child is a whole person, and grades do not define them. Focus more on learning and less on grades. We have a son who has a great command of biology and chemistry, but stuggles with spelling. So his grades are often low in science, even though he clearly understands the principles and practices. We also remind him how bright he is in the sciences. If they are learning effectively, the grades will usually follow after time while we work on the spelling issue. Describe before your prescribe. Talk regularly about grades, and talk about why they may be where they are. Explore with your child the causes for his or her lower than expected grades. Because homework is not being turned in, are grades lower than you expect? Does your student need help with note taking or listening skills? Before you decide on an approach, you should fully understand what is at the root of the problem. Take one step at a time. Trying to solve a big problem with grades is simply too overwhelming for a student. Take small steps at first and solve a part of the problem. One of our children had a grade problem that was all about organization. Before each class period was over we found him a good academic planner and helped him get in the habit of checking it at the beginning of each class for items to turn in and write in it with new assignments.