top of page

"How Can a Comprehensive Academic Evaluation Prevent Summer Slide? Expert Tips and Strategies"



In education, there's a fascinating concept called “learning-styles theory,” which suggests that we all have unique ways of retaining information. Three key learning styles—visual, auditory, and kinesthetic — are crucial for understanding how we engage with education.

Some students thrive by listening; others need to observe every step, while some must actively do a task to learn it. The truth is that everyone needs a mix of these three modalities—visual, auditory, and kinesthetic—to fully commit information to memory. While most people have a dominant learning style, the key is identifying and leveraging those strengths. Sometimes, parents assume their child learns the same way they do, but that’s often not the case.


Many adults are great auditory learners, but children often require more visual and kinesthetic methods. A lack of understanding about learning styles can perpetuate educational biases. Take, for example, the myth that girls aren’t good at math—this is completely unfounded. We need to explore why girls might not be as enthusiastic about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers. It's not about ability. Often, girls who struggle with math have built a mental block because foundational skills weren’t mastered early on, leading to frustration and a loss of confidence. This intimidation is unnecessary and is largely influenced by teaching methods.


This issue is especially critical for girls, who tend to lose interest in math by middle school compared to boys. In my experience, this disengagement often starts around third or fourth grade. Because they become more disengaged, fewer girls are drawn to STEM programs, resulting in fewer women entering fields like science, engineering, and mathematics. By understanding and embracing different learning styles, we can create more inclusive and effective educational environments that inspire all students, regardless of gender, to pursue their passions and potential.


At some point, your child might have had a teacher who didn’t explain a math concept in a way they could grasp. As a result, they missed out on the foundational skills needed to master that concept. This often leads to disengagement, and without even realizing why. It could be due to the myriad distractions that come with adolescence—transitional years, hormones, social life, and more.


What can you do? Create a fun learning experience! Break down the skills and show them real-life applications to spark their interest. Walk them through the steps so they can relate, take ownership, and truly understand the concepts. The more they do this, the more confident they’ll become.


This is where a comprehensive academic evaluation (CAE) comes into play.


So, what is a CAE?


A comprehensive academic evaluation is a tool designed to assess a student’s overall academic strengths and weaknesses to enhance their learning with improved strategies.


The evaluation typically covers:

  • Summative assessment

  • Learning styles assessment


Summative Assessments

Summative assessments are the most familiar type of evaluations, often resulting in a numerical or letter grade. Examples include written exams, performance evaluations, oral presentations, and standardized tests. While some criticize summative assessments as biased or demotivating, they can be highly effective when used correctly.


Firstly, they motivate students to pay attention in class and study hard, as they directly impact final grades. Secondly, summative tests help identify significant gaps in learning or teaching. Lastly, these assessments give students a chance to apply what they’ve learned, which is crucial for long-term retention.


By incorporating these strategies, you can help your child regain their footing and thrive academically.


Learning Style Assessments


Discovering a student’s learning style is essential because everyone has a unique way of absorbing information. By understanding how a student prefers to learn, we can tailor educational approaches to help them grasp new concepts more effectively. This alignment can significantly impact their academic performance, especially when teaching styles match learning preferences.


When administering a learning style test, evaluators observe how students tackle specific tasks like math, writing, and reading. This insight helps us understand what it's like for students to complete their homework and why they might avoid certain subjects. Gathering feedback from students is crucial. It gives us a glimpse into their perspective, highlighting their motivations and interests—or lack thereof. The goal is to create a process that students feel invested in, ensuring they see value and purpose in their education. Without their involvement, any strategy we develop will likely be short-lived, serving only the parents' goals, not the student's.


Our aim is to empower you with insights into your child's academic journey. Evaluations provide comparative data to ensure your Child’s Academic Roadmap (CAR) aligns with their short- and long-term goals.


The results from an academic evaluation can reveal whether your child has skill gaps in particular areas. Addressing these gaps promptly is critical to maintaining their confidence and motivation. Ignoring these issues can lead to worsening problems and strain parent-student relationships. Much like physical health, educational challenges need early intervention to prevent them from escalating.


So, what is the value of a Comprehensive Academic Evaluation (CAE)? A CAE is invaluable because it gives parents and students a sense of ownership over the educational process. It equips you with another data point to track progress year over year, allowing you to plan without surprises. You'll know which questions to ask and what to focus on, boosting your child's confidence and motivation. This positive outlook on academics fosters a better relationship between students and their parents, creating a supportive learning environment.


The data from the evaluation will be your roadmap for the summer and the upcoming school year. If math and science were challenging for your child last year, review past grades and identify trends. Complete an evaluation to pinpoint the root cause.

Armed with this data, you can create a summer plan to tackle skill gaps head-on or consider hiring a tutor for the school year. This assessment will spotlight the areas that need attention, empowering your child to become an independent and engaged learner at home and in the classroom. The evaluation should assess past, current, and future skills, revealing when and where skill gaps began so you can address the challenges obstructing your child's success.


Remember, there's a difference between merely bandaging a problem and truly coaching a student to build long-lasting structure. Simply hiring a tutor each year without addressing core issues is like putting a temporary patch on a leak. The tutor should support the student in developing structured academic habits, ultimately fostering independence and critical thinking.


It's crucial to help students hone their critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills under timed conditions. If they struggle with timely problem-solving, it often points to a time-management issue rooted in skill gaps.


Everyone needs a solid testing strategy that emphasizes critical thinking and problem-solving, but a strong foundation comes first. Mastering basic skills like facts, main ideas, and sequencing is crucial before tackling advanced skills such as making inferences, drawing conclusions, or understanding words in context. Without these foundational skills, students become ineffective test takers.


Poor test performance often stems from bad study habits and deeper skill gaps. Here's how to utilize the information from a CAE, step by step:


When reviewing assessment results with parents, I can quickly identify if their child consistently performs at 100%. If not, it's crucial they know. With this information, you can target and address the skill gaps. Can your child break down information effectively? If not, now's the time to act and ensure they are equipped with the skills needed for academic success. Are they able to answer what they don’t know? Can they use what they know to tackle unfamiliar questions? If not, it's crucial to understand why they aren’t getting it right every time. Many parents don’t realize this is an issue. For example, if you’ve heard your child count from one to a hundred once, shouldn't they be able to do it every single time? If they can’t, it signals a lack of mastery.


The annual comprehensive assessment (CAE) provides invaluable insight into your child's skill levels year after year. It highlights whether they have mastered a skill and are ready to move on to the next. Mastery isn’t just about getting it right occasionally; it’s about consistent, one-hundred percent accuracy.


The CAE is an indispensable tool. It helps you understand how your child learns, what they have mastered, and how you can best support them. As you can see, the CAE is not just important—it’s essential for ensuring your child’s educational success. To find out how to schedule a Comprehensive Academic Evaluation for your child, please visit www.wendyrtilford.com or contact me directly.

18 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page