Dear Escalante Middle School Community,
On Wednesday this week, we sent semester report cards home with students. Sometimes these have a funny way of not making it all the way home. If you have not seen your child’s report card, you can view the final semester grades through the parent portal on Infinite Campus. Our office staff can also assist you if you need a hand.
The research behind giving grades has some pretty fascinating lessons, and if report cards aren’t processed correctly with students, it can be very damaging. When a child receives a great report card, it is extremely important that they link their effort to the success, not their intelligence. This is somewhat counter to how our society gives praise. When we tell a child, “You got an A -you’re so smart!” we are missing an opportunity to build work ethic. The risk is that when things get challenging, students who were always told they are “smart” tend to avoid the challenge because they feel like people will think they are dumb. Essentially, it can feel better to not try and have people think they are smart. The thought of working hard and not getting it becomes a paralyzing fear, which puts them at risk of looking “dumb.”
Students who have poor grades often get the unintended message that we think they aren’t smart, which is extremely the opposite of what we want. Focusing on goal setting, improved work habits, and different academic strategies is extremely important coupled with encouragement and high expectations. The link between high achievement and strong work habits is undeniable. Consider the following data from a survey I’ve conducted over the years.
Honor Roll students:
Are 41% more likely to consistently turn in homework or spend time studying for a quiz or a test
Arrive at class organized and prepared at much higher rates.
Are 32% more likely to get started right away on work. They initiate tasks without socializing first or procrastinating.
Have developed a habit of reading.
Are 47% more likely to regularly check the portal and look for opportunities to improve their grade through revising or reassessing.
Ask more questions in class.
There are no items on the list above that have anything to do with intelligence. Work habits are a far bigger predictor of success in school and in the job market than IQ. It is essential that all students make this connection between their work ethic and their success.
I encourage you to show your child the statistics above and discuss their areas for growth as well as their strengths. When we deliver praise, those are the items we should be seeking out to give our approval.
On a final note, when I talk about academic achievement with students, I always try to add a plug about kindness and being a good person. Research shows that adults these days spend more time talking to students about getting good grades than becoming a good person. It is essential that our community emphasizes both. Work Hard, Be Kind.