As Test Scores Plummet, Adventures in Wisdom Announces How Parents can Ensure Student's Self-esteem Doesn't Plummet as Well

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Recently, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published The Nation’s Report Card and reported that the national average score in mathematics for fourth and eighth graders saw the largest decline ever recorded. Other areas are experiencing declines as well. As test scores plummet, it is critical that we make sure students’ self-esteem doesn’t plummet as well. Adventures in Wisdom announces how parents can respond to grades, without impacting kids’ self-esteem.

“Whether children tend to earn A’s, B’s, C’s, or F’s, they often define ‘who they are’ based on the grades they receive. When parents and children view grades as feedback - rather than labels - they are able to deal with both high grades and low grades, without impacting kids’ self-esteem.

As mid-term report cards are starting to come out, many children, parents, and teachers are concerned - and they have reason to be. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published The Nation’s Report Card and reported that the national average score in mathematics for fourth and eighth graders saw the largest decline ever recorded. Other areas are experiencing declines as well. Adventures in Wisdom advises parents and children to view grades as feedback - rather than labels - so that they can respond to both high grades and low grades, without impacting kids’ self-esteem.

“Whether children tend to earn A’s, B’s, C’s, or F’s, they often define ‘who they are’ based on the grades they receive,” explains Renaye Thornborrow, Co-founder of Adventures in Wisdom Life Coaching for Kids. She adds, “They might say, ‘I’m an A student,’ ‘I’m not very smart,’ or ‘I’m an average student,’ for example. But the risk is that when kids label themselves based on grades it can have a negative impact on their self-esteem, which may rise and fall based on the grades they receive.”

The shift is to talk about grades as feedback. Feedback is simply a result based on action that was taken. It’s a measure of how well they learned the material.

Grades don’t mean that a child is “smart” or “dumb”, “good” or “bad”. Grades simply mean a child has either learned what they needed to know and did the work they needed to do, or they didn’t.

When children learn to interpret grades as feedback, and not “who they are”, it enables them to deal with any grade without impacting their self-esteem.

What could parents say about an “A” report card?

Instead of saying something like, “you’re so smart” or “you’re an ‘A-student!” Parents could say, “wow – you made some great grades. Looks like you really learned the material.”

The first comment labels the child whereas the second comment is objective feedback on the child’s work.

What could parents say about a C, D or F?

A parent can say something like, “it doesn’t look like you learned the material that you needed to know. Let’s put together a plan to make sure you are prepared going forward, otherwise you may fall behind and future tests will be even more difficult.”

This approach tackles the low grade as a problem to be solved versus labeling the child.

Renaye adds, “when grown-ups talk with kids about grades, it’s important to remember to take an objective stance - focus on the results versus judging the child.”

Using grades as feedback is effective for homework as well. Parents can work with their children to establish a threshold grade for homework (i.e. 85%, 90%, etc.). If grades are below that level, children know ahead of time that they will need to rework the homework assignment to ensure that they learn the material.

With this approach, redoing the work isn’t punishment; it’s striving for learning and excellence.

When kids learn to interpret grades as feedback, and not a reflection of who they are or how smart they are, then how they feel about themselves won’t rise and fall based on the grades they receive.

About Renaye Thornborrow and Adventures in Wisdom Inc.

Renaye Thornborrow is leading a worldwide movement to bring life coaching to kids. Since 2013, her company, Adventures in Wisdom, has certified hundreds of coaches in over 30 countries, helping them create a business they love as a life coach for kids while empowering children around the world. For Renaye, motherhood was the catalyst for turning her lifelong passion for personal development into a comprehensive and effective story-based coaching curriculum to bring life coaching to kids. Life coaching is a game changer for children as they learn how to build confidence, resilience, and mindset skills for life; and it is a game changer for coaches as they increase their impact and income while doing their work in the world serving kids. To learn more, visit http://www.adventuresinwisdom.com, call 512-222-6659, or send email to renaye@adventuresinwisdom.com

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Renaye Thornborrow

Renaye Thornborrow