Your kids have taken their final exams, written the last papers, and are ready to close the books on school. Before they head off for summer fun and toss their old notebooks and tests into the nearest garbage can (or, hopefully, recycle bin), take a little bit of time to help your child review the academic year in order to wrap-up their learning processes.
It is important to assess the academic year before moving onto the next for many reasons: for starters, students should acknowledge their successes and understand their strengths. Then, they can understand where there was difficulty, so they can think about ways to improve those areas in the fall. The evaluation process should go beyond reviewing tests and grades and include examining the broad range of organization technique, time management ability, and general study skills. By evaluating this past year, students can make decisions and set goals for a successful next school year.
Here are 4 quick steps to try with your child:
- Materials review. Take a look at your child’s backpack and the workspace. Is the area organized and easy to use? If not, then organization could be a top priority next year. When you speak with your child, discuss where the organizational method broke down and what approaches simply didn’t work. Often, students are stuck with an organizational method that simply doesn’t work for them. By examining the state of affairs at the end of the school year, you can discuss what worked and what didn’t and make a plan for the following year.
- Clean up and clear out. Once your child has evaluated his organizational system it is time to clear out the unnecessary materials so they do not inhibit next year’s progress. Students sometimes jump at the opportunity to throw out a year’s worth of work. Before the big garbage bag comes out, consider what may be important to save such as geometry formula sheets and rules on citations. Any materials that can be used in following years should be saved and filed in an easy to use system.
- Process review. Encourage your child to think about how his or her study process went. Was your child rushed for time? Cramming for tests? Were there ineffective study methods? And, what approaches made the study process easier? Did flashcards do wonders for memorizing history facts or was there a review book that was particularly helpful? Have your child write out 5 helpful suggestions for next year and 5 “things to avoid.” By having the information in writing, they review and homework processes will go over much more smoothly.
- Next year’s goals. The last step of the evaluation process is assessing how well goals were achieved this year and what your child would like to strive for next year. Have your child review his or her process and the corresponding grades. What subjects or tests went over well, and which ones can be improved on in the fall? While the events of the school year are still fresh have your child write down a few goals for the next school year. The goals should be realistic and based on the trouble spots and successes of this year.
With a little bit of work at the end of this school your child will be better prepared for a fresh start in the fall. Evaluating the work processes will help access academic strengths and weaknesses and put a finishing touch on the past school year. Then, perhaps, you can all enjoy summer knowing that the back to school process has already begun.
About the Contributor: Alexandra Mayzler, Founder and Director of Thinking Caps Tutoring (TCT), is a regular contributor to the NYC Firm Schools Blog in the area of study skills.