The First Report Card: Solving Math Struggles Early

The First Report Card: Solving Math Struggles Early

It’s report card season, which means by now your child has likely received or will soon receive his or her first report card of the year. Though only an initial assessment of a student’s achievement in class, the first report card can serve as a crucial tool for parents, as they can help identify weaknesses in a student’s skills and abilities. When this is the case, it’s time to initiate a plan to provide your student the extra help he or she will need for a more successful school year.

When reviewing your child’s report card this fall, pay particular attention to his or her grades in math. Many students in the United States struggle with math; in fact, yearly polls reveal that math is the subject students say they find most challenging.  Yet, adequate math skills remain essential building blocks for math and science courses throughout high school and into college, and are even critical in daily life.  Because math is a sequential subject and depends upon the gradual accumulation of concepts and skills, when a student falls behind, it’s particularly difficult to catch up. There’s simply no way to progress to algebra without a strong foundation in multiplication and division. What’s more, this subject also depends on patience, practice and abstract thinking, and its concepts can be difficult for students to connect to the real world. It’s therefore easy to see why so many students face frustration, discouragement and the possibility of failure when they fall behind in math.

The key to success in math for the remainder of the school year and beyond lies in addressing issues the moment they arise, and taking appropriate action. Consider the following when determining if your student needs help in math:

  • Interpret their report card. While a grade gives a general idea of whether or not a student needs help in math, it’s important to interpret the grade in the context of how you know your student has performed in the past. Has your straight A student suddenly earned a B+ in Algebra II? A B+ is a good grade by any measure, but for your student, it could be the first sign that extra support is needed.
  • Assess changes in your student’s attitude towards math. If you sense your student is less excited about math than he or she was previously, or if it takes more encouragement than usual to get your student to complete homework assignments, your student may be struggling to stay afloat.
  • Consult your student’s math teacher. This can be particularly helpful if you’re having trouble determining if your student’s report card reflects the need for additional help. For example, for a student with a history of average performance, it may be difficult to know if that C in math on his or her first report card is a sign of future failure; discussion with a teacher can shed light on whether the cause of a grade is truly lack of comprehension or other factors, like a failure to regularly turn in assignments. 

Once you’ve determined your student needs help, create a plan that involves a math tutoring service. Structured, individualized tutoring that targets key skills can not only elevate a student’s grade, but improve his or her overall comprehension and confidence with the subject. Math tutoring is the best course of action for a student struggling in math because it offers the key components for success likely absent from an at-home study plan: clear objectives, accountability, a professional instructor, and structured lessons. There’s no question that with a subject as essential as math, your student deserves the benefit of personalized math tutoring.

The Huntington Learning Center offers math tutoring programs that focus on key math skills for elementary school, middle school and high school students. With our academic evaluation of your student’s skills and weaknesses, the Huntington Learning Center provides individualized, goal-oriented tutoring that can strengthen skills and raise grades. Learn more about our exceptional math tutoring services by calling 1-800-CAN-LEARN to speak to an educational consultant or by visiting us online


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