Q&A: How do I know if my son is learning in his third-grade online classroom?

Answer: Whether your child attends an online school or a traditional one, it's very important for parents to monitor regularly their child's academic growth. There are several indicators to help parents understand their child's academic performance. Among these indicators are: scores on standardized tests, report cards, and academic progress shown through homework assignments.

Students will be expected to take a standardized performance assessment as required by the state. State tests in the elementary years are usually given in both mathematics and language arts. These tests are normally a multiple-choice test and may include a couple of written responses. Test questions are derived from state standards and the student's scores can be compared against other student scores in the district, the state, as well as national ones. This is usually helpful in becoming aware of which percentile your child is performing in each of the subject areas.

The online school your child attends may also issue report cards and this can be an indicator in how your child is performing. Teachers may offer comments on academic growth noting strengths and weaknesses in the courses currently taken. Parents and teachers should always communicate if they have questions about progress reports, whether this is through the online classroom portal, emails, or phone calls.

Your child's academic growth may also be seen on a daily basis at home. If your child is able to complete his or her school work at home with minimal assistance from you, then the child is most likely experiencing academic growth. On the other hand, if your child requires a lot of help from you, then your child might be lacking the necessary skills to complete assignments. In this case, I would suggest that you promptly contact the teacher and discuss your child's needs.

Christi WilsonChristi Wilson is a credentialed teacher of highly-gifted students in Northern Nevada. She has 11 years of classroom teaching experience, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in education leadership, and has even taught K-12 education online. A mother of three busy boys, she knows how important it is to keep students engaged in the classroom and interested in a lifetime of learning.