How School Interims Can Help Parents

Girls in classroom
Use the school interim as an opportunity to discuss your tween's goals and concerns.


If you have a child in middle school or high school, you've probably encountered interims, or progress reports, as they are sometimes called. Interims help parents stay on top of their child's progress in a given subject, and because they're usually issued half-way through a grading period, they also give families a chance to correct academic problems, if they exist.

While progress reports or interims aren't issued by every school or school district, they are very popular in the public school setting, as well as many private schools. Below are a few typical questions parents might have about interims, along with advice on how to handle specific situations or academic issues and achieve classroom success.

What Information Is on an Interim?

Interims are much like report cards and will give your child's class schedule and class teachers, as well as the grades your child has earned in each subject, along with an overall grade in each subject. There may also be specific information from your child's teacher or teachers. For example, a teacher might indicate that your student is having trouble paying attention in class, or that your child is courteous and responsible and helpful to others.

Many interim reports may also request a parent/teacher conference especially if there are academic or social problems involving the student.

When Are Interims Issued?

Interims are usually issued half-way through a grading period. So, if your child's school has an eight week grading period, interims will go out at about week four. For six week grading periods, interims will be sent home in week three.

By issuing interims half-way through the grading session, families have time to deal with academic issues, if there are any.

My Child's Interim Report Wasn't Good, Now What?

First, it's important not to overreact. An interim report is not a report card, and because they are issued half-way through a grading period they give you and your student a chance to bring his grades up before report cards are issued. If your child's interim report is not what you hoped, it's time to sit down and calmly ask your student what he thinks the problem might be. Is he having trouble tackling his homework? Does the teacher move over material quickly in class? Is he having trouble with his eyesight or his hearing? Are his fellow students distracting him during class?

Develop a Plan

Once you've heard your child's concerns, it might be necessary to request a parent/teacher conference in order to obtain additional information and perhaps, develop a plan to help your child. Ask his teacher if after-school tutoring is available. Find out what the teacher thinks the problem might be or if there are other issues at play while your child is at school, such as bullying or other social problems.

If you think your child's problems aren't being addressed by the teacher, or if you're not sure how to proceed, consider whether or not a meeting with the guidance counselor might help.

Of course, if your child's interim is positive, be sure to congratulate your student. A little positive feedback from you should help keep your student motivated and on-track for the rest of the grading period.

Returning the Interim to the Teacher

Many middle schools require that you return a signed copy of the interim so that it's clear that you received the interim and know about your child's school progress. High schools may not require interims to be returned, depending on the teacher or the school policy.

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