Have you ever found yourself reading through your child’s report and wondering if things are ever going to change?
Often, it’s the same remark: “… is capable or more but needs more practice before exams so he can apply his knowledge to the question.” Or maybe it’s “… is often distracted in class and is encouraged to revise for assessments to improve his results.”
It’s not like the teachers have got it all wrong. It’s not even that you disagree with what they’re suggesting. But you are a bit disappointed that yet again, things haven’t changed.
As much as you want to hug your kid instead of pointing blame, it’s hard not to wonder “What went wrong?”
Caring about exam marks and poor results is part of good parenting. HSC performance bands and ATARs are key academic indicators for children’s success. In fact, the Centre for Independent Studies estimates that almost 3 in 4 school leavers utilise ATAR to enter university. 60% of these admissions also rely solely on their ATAR results.
It’s important to recognise that the different challenges faced by high school students are caused by more than just laziness or lack of effort. Teenagers today have to contend with a system that’s infinitely more complicated than when we were in school — there are environmental factors, different social and academic pressures, personal struggles — and then there’s neurodiversity and school culture. Having worked with thousands of students across Australia, we know that these and so many other factors can affect their academic performance.
Alana’s Transformative Journey
At Kalibrate-Ed, we love working with students who want to overcome their academic challenges despite what tutors or other educators say they can’t do.
When we first met Alana, she was a Year 10 student with big dreams who was already putting in the work. Unfortunately, Alana’s marks weren’t reflecting her ability and the hours she was putting in and she started to doubt her ability to even get into any university, let alone Commerce/Law.
This anxiety started to infect even subjects she enjoyed, and Alana’s mum knew to get in touch when she saw Alana start to mention that maybe school wasn’t worth it.
We designed a personalised study program that linked her aspirations and learning profile and put in support to develop memory translation and exam technique. In less than 2 weeks, Alana’s mum messaged us to share that Alana’s proactive study attitude had returned and that she was more focused than ever. A few short months later, Alana messaged to tell us she scored the top mark in her English and Commerce exams. Alana is now ready to start Year 11, and we just love helping students just like her create multidimensional strategies that bring out their best, without risking their wellbeing.
Breaking the Cycle of Poor Marks
Alana’s transformation is remarkable but it’s just one of so many brave students who pick themselves up after hitting a low point. With the right strategies and support, your child can easily flip their narratives and take charge to achieve better academic outcomes.
So, what does that all look like for parents?
Believe it or not, you play an essential leadership role in helping your child achieve higher marks, more so than their teachers in school, tutors, or other academic support programs.
1. Establishing effective study habits and structure.
Most children who struggle academically lack effective study habits or a concrete study plan. Without structure in their learning experience, they tend to lean into last-minute cramming sessions, inconsistent and disconnected study efforts, and poor management of projects and assignments.
A 2022 Studiosity survey revealed that 8 in 10 students admit to struggling with procrastination. Pinpointing the root causes of their procrastination and distractions, like their inability to detach from their digital devices, can be a pivotal start in transforming their performance in school.
2. Neurodiversity and mental health challenges.
Another factor to look out for is your child’s mental health and well-being. Mental health challenges, like anxiety and depression, can impact a student’s academic performance more than we can imagine.
There’s also neurodiversity, encompassing children with ADHD, dyslexia, and autism. While some view these as deficits, these supposed ‘defects’ can be positively flipped and harnessed as strengths. We have seen so many ADHD students power through exams and put down more content than their neurotypical counterparts because they had a direct conduit to connect knowledge with exams while blocking out the anxiety of invigilated exam conditions. When approached with empathy and understanding these students can turn the tables and excel.
3. Targeted and personalised approach.
At Kalibrate-Ed, we treat each child as an individual and specific case. Each student has a unique learning profile – with their strengths and weaknesses. Identifying their learning profile is the key to unlocking their potential.
The Australian Council for Educational Research found that students who score in the top 20% of standardised tests have:
⦁ More parental involvement in their education.
⦁ Realised educational aspirations.
⦁ High expectations for academic standards and performance.
⦁ Challenging work to improve their performance.
Our approach to personalised learning uses cognitive adaptors that enable us to tailor strategies to cater to each child’s learning modalities, whether that’s learning through seeing, hearing, or movement. We ensure that their cognitive load is accounted for so they’re not overwhelmed, and they’re constantly challenged to improve.
Transforming your child’s poor results into excellent marks is not something your child can do alone. Creating the right personalised program and support to help them make that change is absolutely essential for helping a young person change and step up, without introducing negative declines in confidence, self-esteem and self-determination.
It’s not easy for parents to do all the heavy lifting. But that’s why Kalibrate-Ed is here. We’ll help you create tailored strategies and implement the best battle plan for your kid because they deserve to unlock their potential to achieve excellence.