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AVOID THESE THREE GRADE-ZAPPING HABITS

1. Not Turning in Homework Assignments

Typically, homework assignments are worth 10% or more of your child’s final class grade. This means that even if your scholar aced every quiz and exam during the nine-week period, getting zeroes on homework assignments will drop their final grade. A severe drop could also result in a total letter-grade change, going from an A (90%) to a B (80%) or worse.

  • Make sure your child submits their assignments on, or before the due date. Free web applications like Google Calendar do a great job keeping students on track with assignments, projects, and more. Here’s a quick video on how to use Google Calendar as a student planner, published by ACMSHistoryChannel.

2. Not Completing Classwork

Classwork counts for 20% to 30% of your child’s final grade. If a scholar is in the habit of turning in work that is partially completed, or not done at all, the issue might run deeper than daydreaming in class or socializing during instruction time. Incomplete classwork can be a symptom of a learning gap.

According to Dr. Richard Selznick’s article Understanding Shut-Down Learners (1), children who shut-down in a classroom, “receive work on a daily basis that they simply cannot handle, causing them unnecessary frustration. Too often, parents and teachers do not understand the skill deficits that are causing a child difficulty.”

  • Contact your child’s teacher to find out how much of the final grade is due to incomplete classwork, and ask to view samples of in-class assignments.

3. Not Studying

Even when teachers do not assign homework for a class, students should review previously taught material to stay confident in their ability to recall information. Studies show that self-confidence is a crucial component to performing well on tests (2). Studying at home improves a scholar’s level of confidence while reducing anxiety about tests, especially pop-quizzes.

  • Make study time a part of your daily after-school routine regardless of whether or not your child has homework.

With all this said, remember to have fun while creating new habits to replace old ones. Reinforce positive behaviors with simple rewards to fuel your child’s motivation to succeed. By correcting these three core habits, your child is well on their way to improving their grades before the next report card rolls out.


  1. https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/understanding-shut-down-learners/
  2. https://www.nap.edu/read/2303/chapter/13
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