The end of this school year is approaching. Now is the time to think about storing your student’s final report card for this past year. Why?
Sometimes children begin to struggle in later grades or as adult students, either due to an undiagnosed learning disability or undiagnosed attention/focus problems. Teacher comments on reports from preschool, kindergarten and the primary grades can provide documentation of early concerns with staying on task, completing assignments, doing homework, poor organization, learning to sound out words or learning to spell. Social difficulties might also be suggested. Then, if in 6th grade, 10th grade, or in college you or your student seeks an evaluation, these materials can be shared with the evaluator. The written documentation is a reliable record.
Our memories of the past tend to undergo reinterpretation over time. As parents we may have forgotten the early struggle of our child (or ourselves) in school, especially when everyone is doing “fine” now. Many learning and attentional challenges have a genetic component. When our children become parents they may not recall their own struggles with learning. If your grandchild begins to struggle, bringing out the old school records for the parent may provide some insight to the parent. It will not just be the meddling grandparent expressing an opinion, but a written school record. Objective data may change the nature of our communication with a struggling student from “blame and shame” to empathy.
School records can be useful further along in the academic path. Grades in foreign language, in combination with written teacher comments on the high school report card, can prove invaluable in trying to obtain a waiver for the foreign language requirement at the college level. Notations describing the student as diligent, always completing assignments, seeking extra help coupled with a poor grade in foreign language would support a request for a course substitution. A record of numerous absences in high school will provide documentation of illness and, perhaps, explain a lower grade point average.
The cumulative record that is stored by the school district may not contain teacher comments. Saving the original report card, either in a binder or scanned and saved digitally, may preserve insights that can be useful in the future.
Blogger Mary Ann Mulcahey, PhD, shares her expertise in assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and ADHD, and the social/emotional adjustment to those issues. If you have questions, please contact Mary Ann at .