In the 1990s the “Standard and Accountability” movement was implemented in the United States. This system was created to establish standards for students’ grade levels. Assessments were designed to measure whether students were meeting the standard grade system. As part of this reformed accountability, the organization Achieve, Inc., which raised academic requirements and standards, was the motivation for the Common Core State Standards.
The Common Core educational structure is a system that some teachers struggle to implement, as students struggle to learn these new methodologies. Parents have many questions and concerns about this new method of teaching.
So what can you do as a parent? “How can you be sure that you are prepared to help your child navigate the school year and get the most out of every day?”
Are you a parent whose school year has been a challenge? Below is a checklist that focuses on academic and cognitive skills. “Discussing these with your child’s teacher will help you understand how your child’s memory, attention, and processing may be affecting his or her learning.
- Student Feedback & Support – How do you like to provide feedback to students? Are there any interventions to help children who need a little extra attention? When are you available if my child needs extra help?
- Home Support – How can I support you as a parent, so that my child gets the most out of this school year?
Conference (or “As-Needed”) Questions
- Reading – When working in a small group with my child in reading, what is an area of strength or weakness that you notice? How is my child’s decoding, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary?
- Writing – What are my child’s specific strengths and weaknesses in writing?
- Math – What are my child’s specific strengths and weaknesses in math?
- Cognitive Skills – How would you say my child is doing, as compared to peers, in the following areas?
- Memory: How well does my child learn and remember new information? Does he or she require more or less support than peers? How easily is information retained?
- Attention: How is my child’s attention during one-on-one, small groups, and/or whole classroom activities?
- Processing: How well is my child able to “make connections” as compared to peers? In reading: decoding new words, making educated guesses about the meaning of a new word, using background knowledge, or predicting and inferring. In math: during computation (is it labored or slow?) or retrieval of simple number facts. In writing: able to generate coherent ideas without a lot of support and begin to put them into words (orally or on paper, depending on grade).
- Sequencing: How well is my child able to organize his thoughts for writing or explain his understanding of a new concept?
- Expression of Thoughts & Language Skills – How often do students have an opportunity to share their thoughts with the class (i.e., “think out loud”)? What do you notice when my child participates (or not)?
- Motivation – What does my child find motivating? What can I do to support this?
- Social Skills – How does my child do without direct supervision? How does my child handle conflict with other students? What one thing could my child do to improve his or her social skills?
- State Testing & Advancement – Do you have any concerns about my child’s ability to prepare for and take the state tests, and his or her advancement to the next grade?
Thanks to Lynn Gover who provided this checklist. Lynn works for Scientific Learning with families trying to give their children additional boost. Scientific Learning uses BrainPro, an online intervention service which combines Fast For Word educational software. A professional consultant is online to help children get ahead. BrainPro is for all students who need a boost, as research shows that certain mental exercises can improve the cognitive processes behind many learning issues and help students’ retain new methodologies. BrainPro program helps improve reading by building the cognitive and reading skill of the student in a fun and engaging way.