We know that Black parents have a strong history and legacy of engagement, advocacy and support for their kids. 

Progress reports and report cards often align with parent/teacher interviews, which can be challenging to navigate for Black parents. 

Here’s what you need to know about progress reports…


1. Progress reports do not give letter grades, but are based on teacher assessments and observations.

2. Parents should know where their child stands in the class. Is your child progressing well or progressing with difficulty and what is their grade level?

3. Progress reports are typically accompanied with an invitation to meet with your child’s teacher.  We recommend that you always meet with them, even if you think your child is doing well.

4. Try to meet with all teachers that support your child (including resource teachers).


Some questions to ask during parent/teacher interviews for progress reports…


1. “Can you tell me if my child is progressing well, progressing with difficulty, or progressing very well?”

TIP: Let the teacher answer this question for language, math, science and social studies.  Take notes.

2. Follow up with something like “Can you give me more detail on whether they are on track for an A, B, C, etc?”

TIP Ask the teacher to break down each grade according to the following categories: reading, writing, oral and media.  We advise you focus on the reading and writing in the K-6 grades. Be sure to take notes. Remember that these projected grades are not guaranteed, but should give you a clearer picture of where your child stands.


3. Once you get the letter grade ask the teacher what strategies they will be using to help your child.

Tip: You can use phrases like “What are the next steps for my child to help them achieve a higher grade? How will the teacher be providing support? How can the parent provide support?”
There should be ongoing partnership and communication to support your child’s learning!

4. What evidence of learning was used to determine this mark?

Tip: There should be multiple pieces of evidence used to determine the grade.


5. What methods of triangulated assessment were used for my child?

Tip: A student’s mark should triangulate the product (i.e. student work), conferences with the student, and observation of the student to produce a final grade. It should not be determined solely based off of one of those elements. 


You may also wish to view this video for more examples of questions you can ask.



Everyone learns differently. If your child needs extra help or ‘re-teaching,’ remember that is OK.  Your child should not be penalized for needing extra help.

If you feel that your child is being unfairly targeted for the learning strategies they use, you can try using phrases like, “The strategies that my child uses to demonstrate their learning should not impact their grade. How is my child being given differentiated ways to demonstrate their learning?”

This is important because…

  • We want to raise children who ask questions and advocate for themselves.
  • In the elementary panel, under ‘self-regulation,’ children are praised for asking questions if they don’t know something. It is a sign of strong inquiry skills and critical thinking.
  •  A child should not be penalized for routinely seeking clarification.
  • A child does not have to be independent to produce Level 4/A grade work
  • Teachers are assessing the child’s WORK, not the child’s HABITS. There is a separate section in Ontario report cards for learning skills; this should not be included in the letter grade for a specific subject.
  • Teachers should be assessing what children demonstrate.

Remember, that education is a right and parents have a right to ask questions. Don’t ever feel bad about speaking up for your child.

If you need additional support navigating parent/teacher interviews, you can reach out to our Systems Navigators by clicking here

Parents of Black Children