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Publication #FAR1704

Reacting to Your Child's Report Card1

Diana Converse2

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Whether your children bring home "perfect" report cards or ones with room for improvement, many parents find it difficult to react in a manner that will encourage their child to achieve in school.

It's helpful to have an understanding of what grades really mean. Grades reflect a teacher's judgment of a child's performance at a particular time. They are one way for you, the teacher, and your child to understand your child's strengths and weaknesses. They also give teachers an opportunity to evaluate and restructure the learning experience for each child.

When reacting to grades, the first question to ask your children is how they feel about their grades. Then ask if they think they did their best. Remember, these are your children's grades, not yours. Educators suggest that you neither reward nor punish for grades: the grade itself should be the reward or punishment. Encouragement suggests you have faith in your child and his or her ability to do better. Praising for some part of their performance, even if it is the "best of the worst," builds their motivation and self-esteem.

If you feel there is room for improvement, talk with your child and teachers to work out a plan that will help your child achieve in school. Grades have more meaning if they are part of an overall communication with teachers.

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This document is FAR1704, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 101 and published December 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Diana Converse, Extension agent III, Hillsborough County, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.