Parents 2018: Going Beyond Good Grades

Survey of parents and teachers looks at the role of report cards in causing confusion over student achievement

Learning Heroes Report Image: Beyond Good Grades

Learning Heroes today released Parents 2018: Going Beyond Good Grades, a new report focusing on why nine out of 10 parents—regardless of race, income, education levels—believe their children perform at or above grade level in reading and in math, when national data show barely a third of students perform at grade level. Much of the disconnect is blamed on perceptions about the role of report cards.

The education nonprofit commissioned a national online survey of public-school parents and teachers in grades 3–8. Among the findings, parents rely on report cards as their number one source of information about how their children are achieving in school: 64% say their children get As and Bs on their report card; and 84% believe that As and Bs mean that their children are performing at grade level. The result is an inflated view of academic achievement.

The perception among teachers is different with many acknowledging that report cards are not a reflection of grade-level mastery. Report cards rank third among teachers in terms of helping parents understand achievement: 48% of teachers say report cards measure effort more than achievement; two-thirds say grades on report cards also reflect progress over the course of the grading period, participation or engagement in class, and effort, in addition to mastery of academic content.

According to teachers, ongoing communication between parents and teachers is the best way to understand how a child is achieving. 

Read the full report from Learning Heroes, a Carnegie Corporation of New York grantee, at this link. And for more information on the Corporation’s support for research in this area, visit our website for a recent report on the history, current practice, and the future potential of family and community engagement as an important factor in ensuring lifelong success for all children.