Home learning environment is an important factor to ensure each student meets their potential in school and beyond. The experiences students have and the beliefs and attitudes toward tests, in-school learning, and homework held by students and their parents, as well as teachers and classmates, can influence the development of student learning in all subjects.
Whole child learning depends in part on understanding a student’s home learning environment and providing parents with the support they need to encourage their child’s education journey.
An important part of the school to home connection includes communicating the role of testing. For students, the onset of spring means warmer days on the playground and school concerts and events. It also means it’s time for their annual state test in math and reading. As a former elementary school teacher, I remember the pressure the test can sometimes put on students, parents, and even teachers.
According to a recent national study, “Parents 2018: Going Beyond Good Grades,” more than half of teachers say that parents rely too much on grades alone. Furthermore, nine in 10 parents think their child is at grade level in reading and math, when only 39 percent of teachers report their students start the year prepared for grade-level work. Grades are just one of several ways to assess a child’s achievement, along with annual state test results, teacher feedback, and parent observations.
One way to help students with test nerves is to let them know it’s meant to be a review of what was learned all year. It’s also important to communicate with parents that the state test is another opportunity to get a more complete picture of their child’s progress with important grade level skills so that they can best support what’s happening in the classroom. In addition to class grades, the results of the upcoming state test as well as the school’s report card are important pieces of the bigger picture. By putting these pieces of information together, parents will know where their child is doing well and where additional support is needed, and they can be proactive in partnering with teachers to address those areas.
So, how can parents help their child spring ahead?
Look at the state’s practice test.
Along with grades and class work, the state test is another way to see where your child needs more support. Tests can be nerve-racking. Boost self-confidence by showing your child how to take on challenges.
Check out how your school is doing.
Your state releases a report card for every school, which includes important information about your school’s performance such as academics, the learning environment, and more.
Stay connected with the teacher.
Teachers say the best way to know how your child is progressing is to be in regular contact. According to national research, the majority of K-8 parents talk to their child’s teacher at least once a month. Ask the teacher how your child is doing with specific skills and share what you notice at home about their learning habits.
Get a quick gut check.
Use the Readiness Check to track your child’s progress with foundational grade-level skills necessary to succeed in the next grade, and get connected to free skill-specific videos, activities, and more to support math and reading at home.
For more details, Learning Heroes’ “Spring Ahead: A Clear Path for Your Child’s Success” is designed to help parents as they get their children ready for the state test and provide tools to support learning at home.
Here are additional resources and information from Digital Promise’s Learner Variability Project on the importance of home learning environment, based on topic areas: