NOTE: This post is the fifth and final entry in a miniseries on Assessment and Evaluation in the classroom, aimed at providing support both to my teacher colleagues and to parents of school children.
Family are a child’s first teachers and they continue to play a vital role in a child’s education as they learn and grow. Here are some ways for parents to help strengthen your child’s ability to communicate their understanding. (And ideas teachers can suggest to parents through newsletters and parent-teacher interviews).
· Ask your child to explain or demonstrate what they are learning at school. This will help them to practice explaining their thinking or practice carrying out a task.
· Ask your child questions such as “why?” “how do you know?” or “what makes you think that” so that you can understand their answers. They might have an incorrect math solution, but have used a really great strategy to try and solve the problem. Or, they might have a correct answer but not be able to explain how they came up with that answer. It’s just as important for students to be able to communicate about what they think and know as it is for them to have the right answer.
· From time to time when school work or report cards come home, sit down with your child and look over the work. Ask them how they feel about their work. Together, choose some things that are areas of strength, where your child feels confident. Then choose some areas that you both agree could use some improvement. Involving students in looking at their progress and setting goals for their next steps to work on helps improve their academic performance.