SummaryWhen parents give help to students, be sure there’s not an underlying issue. Here’s more on Audiobooks, Test Help, and Parent-Graded Work.
Parents want to help their children do well in their studies. Because of this, parents often ask what type of help is okay.
Here are general principles.
For more specific information, please contact a counselor. If you are enrolled in the Special Services Program, please contact that department with questions.
When parents give help to students, the important thing is to make sure that the help is not covering up an underlying issue.
To get done more quickly, we often suggest that parents cut down on the number of problems a student does on a workbook page or other assignment if the student understands the concept.
However, for something like a book report, it might be a temptation toward efficiency to let the student listen to the book on audio. But that isn’t helpful because the assignment is about reading, and a student who listens to a book isn’t reading.
In the same way, for early elementary math tests, the student should not use a calculator (although calculators are often okay for advanced math).
It is absolutely legitimate for a parent to review a test before a student takes it and tell the student the kinds of questions that are on the test. For example, a parent might say, “For the second quarter math test, you will need to know long division.”
For a history test, a parent might say, “You will need to know about the Edict of Milan.” However, giving the test or actual questions from the test would not be considered legitimate.
Plagiarism, looking up answers online or in the book (unless it’s an open-book test), copying from another student’s work, etc. is never legitimate. Parents should never knowingly permit their students to do these things.
The is an area where parents can give whatever grade they deem appropriate. Some parent-graded assignments or tests provide directions for how to grade, but those are suggestions.
For example, if a written assignment says that 50% of the grade should be based on good spelling and 50% on content, a parent could still base 100% of the grade on student effort—or on any other important factor.
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