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Report Cards


No Name

Do you have to notify parents in advance if a child is failing a subject? My opinion is that I have parents sign every test and return them to me. My principal thinks that you have to have a conference before hand to ease the blow. What do you do?


Senior Member

most of my students who do poorly have always done poorly. :( they fail (or D) subjects because they do not do/turn in work. parents aren't able to see these grades because there is no paper! i'm not going to the trouble of making an additional copy and writing on there that parents have to sign and then follow through to make sure it comes back--whew!

my students have planners (agendas) where i write in missing work, and all my parents know to look there for notes from me and homework assignments--they don't look; their problem.

i also send out progress reports--i used to send one out halfway through quarter. this year i sent 3 out during first quarter (i'm not sure how that happened, i meant to send out 2-before the 1st quarter report card.) i plan to send out at least 2 (probably end up being 3) every quarter from here on out. the first 2 had to be signed and returned (students received prize if returned within 2 days, no consequences the next 2 days, after that they owed recesses--this usually works pretty well). i only had one kid who didn't turn in progress report--couple days of recesses, i finally had him call dad to tell him that he had a progress report that he needed signed and would dad help him to remember to take care of it that night. i hate to be the bad guy--let the kids do it to themselves!

so, i'm saying, yes, your parents should be notified somehow that their children are failing (or even getting a D--some of my parents would be mortified with a C!) before that FINAL grade comes out--since there is nothing that can be done about the grade at that point. (on progress reports and report cards, i always "explain" the low grades: Franklin's math grade suffered from 2 missing assignments, 3 late papers, and 1 unfinished project. i have received almost 0 calls/emails/complaints since i started doing that--they don't have to ask me why, it's right there.

regarding your having parents sign tests: tests are only a part of a child's grade, right? so if students are doing well on tests but not doing well/not turning in assignments, a low grade could be a shock to parents.

Carrie in WV

Full Member

We have to send out midterm reports and on that paper I list reasons why students are failing...missing work, low quiz or test scores, not turning in homework. The kids have about 10 school days to shape up before a deficiency notice goes home. I even let my parents know if a student has a low C, because if they don't watch out, the C could be a D by the time report cards come out. I usually only have a couple of students that are doing really poorly, and like another poster said, they usually are on record as having done poorly in the past.


Junior Member
Oh please please please

As a parent I'm begging you - please let paretns know while there is still enough time to do something about it. I know that you have parents sign all tests - but unless that is the only thing the grade is based on, how do they know what the final grade will be. Also, as a working mom, I know I've been guilty of the obvious not sinking in when I have my own students to worry about (yes, I admit - I am sometime one of THOSE moms). Plus, many kids - at least mine - tend to gloss over the bad grades.
"So, how did you do on your math test?"
"So....what was your grade?"
"I'm not sure. We get to bring them home next week. But I know I did better than anyone else on my table."
"Great!" (NOT! Sometimes better than anyone on the table isn't very good at all.)
So I guess I'll tell you what I tell my own kids' teachers. If I know about it ahead of time, I can at least try to do something about it. If I don't, there is no chance I can.


Senior Member
dont have to

But I chose to send home mid term alerts to parents that have a student with a failing grade.


Junior Member

And last year my son had solid A's and B's at the mid-term progress report that changed to C's and D's by the final grade. Totally hit me between the eyes. (But he's doing MUCH better this year! :-> )

Teach 5

Senior Member
grade sheets

We send home all of their papers every week or every other week (if it's been a slow week) & they must prepare a "grade sheet" to go with the papers. The grade sheet has a place for each subject so they can record their grades for that time period it also has a place to write down any missing work. The back of the sheet has a place for them to comment on their work habits and behavior for the week. They are very honest & also highly perceptive. The grade sheets must be signed and returned.
We do send home interim reports in each subject, no matter what the grade is and of course report cards. Starting next quarter, we will also have available to parents their child's grades online. They will be able to check each week & see exactly what their child's grade is & what they are missing. I do think it is hard to tell what their grades are by just sending home the papers, we weight our grades which makes it even more difficult for a parent to figure out what the actual grade is.
Of course, we will still have some parents complain that we are not communicating to them their child's grades.


Senior Member
Yes - Parents need to know

I send home a mid-quarter report for every student in my class. Students that are getting a "C" or lower in any subject area then get a weekly report until the gade improves to a "B". I find that the students are more motivated to improve their grades when they see a weekly report. Many of the students that fall into that "C" or lower grade category don't realize that they are doing that poorly. Many students (even middle and high school students) do not know how to track their grades, or don't take the time to do so.
So, my answer is YES - you really need to keep not only the parents informed, but also the students.:o


Full Member
In addition..

to the great ideas given already, I also do a review "test" every Friday. I give them about 2/3 questions in each subject area. They don't study, but if they are basically awake and participating they will do fine. I 'mark' them (don't record the marks, use it to direct my own teaching) and give them back to make corrections. These then go home with the kids. It helps the parents to see how they are doing weekly, along with normal tests, quizzes and projects. I have had many compliments from parents on this method.

Ima Teacher

Senior Member
We send out midterm reports, and there are weekly reports available for those parents who wish to get one. At midterm we call home for all students with failing grades. We also call if there has been a significant drop in scores even if the grade is not an F.

This morning during my first planning time I emailed three parents and left messages for three others.

Some parents want to know EVERY time the student makes a "bad" grade--which varies from a B to an F, depending on parent. With the numbers of kids we see in a day, there's no way to keep up with all of that!


Senior Member
progress reports

I send home WEEKLY progress reports with all grades for the week, how often a child turned in homework, and their classroom behavior. Parents sign and return them the next day. I don't HAVE to do this, but I've found I have less questions come report card time. I think parents feel more in touch with their child's education, and I often communicate with parents better this way. It takes about 45 minutes a week, but it beats 2 hours on meetings and phone calls...


Senior Member
one caveat

I think it's a great idea - I personally would just find it hard. Esp. because at our school the administration personally checks all reports that go home. I used to think that they went overboard in checking the written comments and grades to see if everything was consistent, then found out that some parents were going through the reports with highlighters and calling around to see what other kids were getting. We have also had cases where funding for a child is disputed, and the school board subpoenas all written records on the child, including casual parent notes like "She was feeling tired today" and trying to use that to argue against us. I hope you never have the experience of a litiginous parent or school board who uses all these extra reports as a "paper trail".


Senior Member

My advice is a definite "yes." Although you have notified the parents through their signing a test, they have amazingly short memories when it comes to the time a grade is given on a report card. I would definitely send home a progress report during the middle of the marking period. If a district-wide progress report isn't available, you should make it a point to notify the parents formally. Write and send a letter with a school heading, include a date, state the grade that the child is failing, then keep a copy for your files. I would probably also ask the parents in the letter for a conference. If they don't respond, then you have a record that you have notified them and requested a conference.


Full Member
Report cards

OK, let me preface this with the fact that I just finished 2 solid days of conferences and am soooooo tired of the wacky things parents believe. I agree that we need to inform parents when students are really struggling with a subject. But...I send home ALL work, I write notes, I leave phone messages, and they still don't always get it!! I know parents are busy and often overlook the obvious (even when it's handwritten right there for them to read as many times as they want!), but I would like some of the blame at report card time to go to the kid that ditches his work before he gets home, the parents that don't return missed phone calls, don't read the weekly notes that go home, etc.