Reports cards can be long and confusing with school speak throughout them.

Here I will show you:

  • How to read one.
  • How to involve your child.
  • How to praise your child to gain the most future benefit.
  • How to reward your child.
  1. How to read a report card.

What is important amongst all the educational jargon?

You are looking for two things as you read each of the subject reports. This will help you establish your child’s strengths and whether they are working to the best of their ability.

The first section you read is the effort/preparedness for learning.  What is the teacher saying? Is it the best effort they could have done?

Before looking for the A’s B’s and C’s in the achievement section, read the comment/s.  Does the teacher say that your child is working to the best of their ability?  Feedback from teachers is the key to improvement as it tells you and your child what they need to be working on- a way forward. Reports cards are one way of doing this.

  1. How to involve your child in reading the report card?

The best thing to do is ask questions and get them to come up with how they think they went in the term/ semester.

How did you think you went?

Which results are you pleased with?

What do you think was the cause of the result in this subject?

  1. Praise 

Process centred praise is more effective than praising intelligence eg. “You are smart” develops a fixed mindset whereas praising effort develops a growth mindset (Dweck, 2010). Kids who get too much praise are less likely to take risks, are highly sensitive to failure and are more likely to give up when faced with a challenge. Check whether your child has a fixed or growth mindset:

  1. Rewards

We need our kids to do things and be self-directed and not because they will get into trouble or get a reward. “If they are focused on the outcomes (stickers, money, rewards) this leads to a loss of interest in process and an unhealthy need for approval of others” (Sue Roffey, We need to focus on intrinsic rewards such as life satisfaction, autonomy, task persistence, positive social relationships, a love of learning, better performance.


  • Start to remove extrinsic rewards
  • Let kids have a say in what they do and the rules so that they can learn to make social choices appropriate for their age– autonomy not control
  • Praise process and not ability. Praise
    • Effort and persistence
    • planning & organization
    • engagement in learning
    • seeking help & feedback
    • problem solving
    • decision making
    • working towards being an autonomous learner.


Learn more about fostering successful parental engagement on our Parents as Partners page.

Parents as Partners