Section 5: Beyond the OGT: Helping Students Achieve Success

Increasing Family Involvement

“From the child's earliest years, and continuing throughout elementary and secondary school, parents exert a profound and lasting effect on their children’s achievement in school” (Steinberg, 102).

Family involvement is key to every student’s success in school. As their children’s first teachers, parents have tremendous power to help their children achieve academic success in school. Teachers can tap into this resource by communicating clearly and frequently with families about each student’s strengths and needs, their goals and the educational resources available to both students and families. Effective collaboration between families and educators is based on two essential ingredients: a common vocabulary and consistent communication.

Establishing a Common Vocabulary

In order for teachers and families to discuss a student’s strengths and needs, it is important that they share a common vocabulary. The most effective way to establish this vocabulary is to spend time making sure families are familiar with the student report. As described above, you can review the report with families just as you do with students to help them understand the language of the performance levels, subject areas, and content standards. It is important to make sure that families understand that performance on the OGT is a starting point and does not encompass all of the student’s skills and knowledge. Explain to families that the OGT data allows the student, family and teachers to determine which direction the student needs to take to improve his or her skills.

After families have a clear understanding of these elements, you can begin to discuss the students’ areas of strength and the areas that need improvement, as well as the resources available to students as they work toward their goals.

Communicating Effectively

Although the Ohio Student Web site encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning, this effort requires the active involvement of their families. This involvement communicates to students that education is important and that their families care about their academic success.

With a common vocabulary in place, you can effectively communicate with families about their students’ progress on a regular basis. A discussion of the OGT Student Report is a starting point to analyze the student’s strengths and needs. Using these results, families can help the student develop goals and seek out the strategies and resources to achieve these goals. Encourage families to monitor their students’ progress and communicate what they see to the students’ teachers.

You can also encourage families to check in regularly with you to see how the student is progressing in school by setting up regular check-in meetings or phone calls or by sending weekly or bi-weekly progress reports to each student’s home. Click the link to download the Using the OGT Data to Communicate with Families Template for a detailed checklist of how you can encourage family involvement to support students in their successes in school and for the future.