How many times has a teacher asked you as a parent to look at the score that your child received on a standardized test? Too often in education, parents are instructed to look at a child’s overall IQ number instead of breaking it down further into separate categories of multiple intelligences. So before you get too down about a low score on a test or in one class, remember that everyone, children and adults, have both strengths and weaknesses.
Howard Gardner, a Harvard professor, proposed his own theory back in 1983 in a paper he wrote. Gardner stated multiple intelligences represent a variety of different intellectual abilities with all of them being at various strengths. Multiple intelligences are separate from learning styles as the styles are just ways you would approach a certain task. Multiple intelligences instead break up a person’s IQ into eight distinct categories according to Gardner. And while you may have a low amount of intelligence for a category or two, you may have a couple where you are testing off the charts. As parents and educators, it presents us a different way to determine how well the child is actually performing.
Being Labeled Early On Will Stick With Us
Even we as adults are stigmatized by our scores from back when we were in school. My own mother said when I was struggling with math in high school that I was having such a hard time because she had a hard time with it back when she was a kid. I’m not sure DNA is like that exactly, but it just goes to show you how an adult can remember back when they were a kid and still be stung by perceived criticisms.
The truth of the matter is all of these scores, tests, and benchmarks don’t reflect how successful a person will be later on in life. They only predict future academic achievement in school instead.
Reading comprehension is often a term that is thrown around frequently in academic settings. You might have heard that your child suffers from poor reading comprehension. However, is not exactly entirely true. A child may show poor comprehension when reading about something they have no interest in, but if you give them something to read about a topic they are passionate about, they will do fine. The same goes for adults. I’m not sure about you, but my reading comprehension when trying to read the directions on how to put together my child’s bike is extremely low to the point it is beyond frustrating. But if I am reading about various eras of history or even entertainment, my comprehension is above normal.
Don’t Give Up on Your Child Because of a Few Low Grades
Every child or adult has certain strengths that may not be thought of as school related at all, but they are just as important. They may be able to create with their hands, be mechanically inclined, have a sense for business, are able to figure out anything to do with computers, are musically inclined, or have a variety of other gifts that will lead them far in life. These skills don’t show up on a standardized test though. However, they are just as valuable as anything that you will come across in school.
Are You Doubting This?
Poor scores on tests or low grades in school are nothing to discount, but you have to look at the total child. In fact, start a conversation up with some of the most successful people you know. Ask them how they did in school. Question how well they performed academically in elementary, high school, and even college. You may be surprised to learn that some of the most successful people you will ever encounter in life did poorly in school. It is all about emphasizing what they are good at and displaying a passion for it.
The Key Is to Improve Their Weaknesses and Praise Their Strengths
As a parent, you don’t have to be pleased if your child is struggling at reading or math, but you don’t have to be overly angry either. Looking at the total child, realizing that they do have skills and gifts at certain things, can help you guide them to succeed in life. At the same time, try your best to improve upon the weaknesses that they currently have. Just because they are weak at a certain subject at this moment does not mean that they always will be.
In fact, if you think your child could benefit from a bit of tutoring, iAchieve can definitely help. We tutor in all subject areas and can help your child catch up. But at the same time, don’t forget to work on their strengths, even the ones that are not school related. Those areas of strength just might be what they make a career out of later in life.
Written by Ryan Crawley