Was your child recently evaluated — either by the school, a private clinic, or independent evaluator? It’s important to share the report with your child’s teachers (if the evaluator or your lawyer, if you have one, doesn’t object). Here are suggestions on how to start.
1. I just got the evaluation report back, and I learned a lot from it. I’d like to share it with you.
Opening the conversation by offering to share the results isn’t threatening. And focusing on what you learned takes pressure off the teachers. The goal is to open a dialogue, not to make demands right away. Are you planning to do anything differently at home as a result of what you learned? Try to have at least one thing in mind before your conversation.
2. Which parts of the report do you think best describe my child? Are any of the results surprising?
This question allows teachers to share openly with you. It gives them the chance to start thinking about how the report matches what they see every day in the classroom.
3. What do you think of the evaluator’s conclusions in the summary section?
The summary (or conclusions) section is the most important part of the report. Most of the report is about the types of tests given to your child. This is interesting, but it’s not particularly useful for instruction. Focusing on the summary section will allow you to have the most meaningful conversation.
4. Is there anything that’s still unclear for you about how my child learns?
It’s important for you to know if teachers still have questions after reading the report. If so, you could ask them to speak to the evaluator. If teachers are comfortable with the information in the report, they are more likely to use the information.
5. How do you think you might change instruction for my child based on this information?
This is the most important question you can ask. If your child was struggling enough to be evaluated, you need to see some things done differently. Teachers should be able to use the information from the report to try different approaches to teaching your child. This is the time to start a conversation about those changes.
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About the author
About the author
Bob Cunningham, EdM serves as executive director of learning development at Understood.