Is My Child Working at Grade Level?
Q. Both my
husband and I were pretty smart in school, to the point where at times we were
put in a higher grade for math class or, in my case, for reading. That was
helpful to our parents, who always knew where we stood academically, and there
were no surprises once we got into the honors classes in high school. But with
the schools so adamant that there will be no "ability grouping" in grade school
and middle school, how can we tell if our son is working at grade level, or
beneath it in any subject, or if ahead, how far ahead?
difficult to know whether your school district has set the bar at a high level,
a medium level, or a low level, if you have no basis for comparison.
is one standard for excellence in curriculum that might give you a pretty good
idea of where your child stands, in reading and math ability as well as overall
knowledge base. Or if your child is deficient in these areas, this curriculum
can help plug grade-level gaps that your school district might not even
recognize, and do it cheaply and very well.
tremendous series of books for the grade levels, What Your ____-Grader Needs to Know, by E.D. Hirsch of the Core
Knowledge organization (www.coreknowledge.org).
He and colleagues from all over the country have devised a curriculum framework
that is truly outstanding, and covers the educational career very well.
a general textbook with things to read and articles on poetry, literature,
sayings and phrases, world and American history and geography, the visual arts,
music, math and science. The Core Knowledge series has been likened to a
national curriculum: these are the things that a child in each of the various
grades SHOULD know and be able to do.
price is right: about $13. Each year, you could buy the book for that grade
level, and compare the curriculum and your child's performance with the
syllabus and examples that are in the Core Knowledge textbook. Then if you find
your child's local classroom deficient, you can supplement with these
your child's work appears to be above and beyond these examples in the book,
congratulations! Your school's curriculum is excellent!
Another fine resource is the book What
Your Child Needs to Know When by Robin Sampson.
It's especially helpful if you have moved once or more, and wonder if there
have been learning gaps in your child's knowledge base as a result.