What to Do if Your Child is Not Making Academic Progress?

Classroom of students all with their hands raised with what to do if your child is not making academic progress

Do you feel like your child is not making academic progress? This year has been trying to say the least! We’ve heard a number of parents mention that their children had trouble adjusting to doing school virtually.

One parent, in particular, felt like their son made no progress academically at all. She thought maybe it was because of the lack of daily interaction with the other students or frustration with not getting any one-on-one time with me.


What to Do if Your Child is Not Making Academic Progress? 

Taking your child’s academic progress seriously is essential to their success in life. This blog article will help you understand how to measure your children’s academic progress, as well as what you can do if they’re not progressing at all.

What is Academic Progress? 

There are many ways to measure your child’s progress, and it’s important to know what these measurements mean. 

Academic progress is your child’s academic subjects’ performance over time, particularly the basics such as reading and math.

When your child has an IEP, the IEP team determines what constitutes appropriate academic progress for your child based on his disability and individual needs.

How Do You Measure Academic Progress? 

You can measure academic progress in a variety of different ways. Most of the time, you will look at your child’s grades on an assignment or their report card. But here are additional ways to measure your child’s progress.

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– IEP goals

– Benchmark assessments

– Reading levels

– Formal assessments


IEP Goals

One way to measure academic progress is through their IEP. An IEP (Individualized Education Program) is a written document that outlines specific goals for your child and the methods used to help them reach those goals.

The IEP goals also include how often they will be assessed to monitor their levels of mastery and any accommodations that will be made.

The IEP is a living document that can change as your child progresses or if goals are not being met, so make sure to revisit it at least every two years and share any new information about your child’s needs and disability status.

Benchmark Assessments

You may also measure academic progress by looking at their classroom benchmark assessments. Teachers give benchmark assessments to measure progress throughout the school year.

These tests also provide teachers with information about which content standards they know and which they need more help with. It can also tell you what strengths and weaknesses the students have. 

Examples of Benchmark Assessments

  • Weekly spelling tests
  • Monthly math tests that include all the concepts learned that month
  • Quarterly essays 

These assessments provide results that help to set goals on the IEP so you know where they need to be if they don’t already meet them, which will allow for better understanding and expectations.

Reading Levels

Many schools use the A to Z Reading Levels System to determine a student’s reading level. The A-Z system is a universal reading level system that allows for a more accurate assessment of skills.

The system is based on a readability formula. The higher the reading level, the less difficult and complex texts become to comprehend.

Teachers need to know their students’ reading levels to ensure appropriate content selection to meet academic goals and standards for their classroom.

Even if your child is not on grade level for reading, you should see consistent growth on their reading level throughout the school year.

Formal Assessments

Lastly, formal educational assessments are another way to determine academic growth for your child. These assessments are often given in as tests and provide specific scores for various skills. 

Usually, teachers or outside evaluators administer formal assessments at school. Schools will typically use standardized tests, like the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), to assess your child’s academic progress. The ITBS is a set of exams appropriate for children in grades K through 12. 

Each state has its own tests they choose to use as well. Here is a list to reference state standardized tests. 

Next Steps if Your Child is Not Making Academic Progress? 

If your child is not doing as well in school, there might be a problem that you don’t know about. It’s time to talk with the school staff and tell them what is happening. Here are some steps to take if your child is not making academic progress.

Request a Meeting With Your Child’s Teacher

If you suspect your child is not making academic progress, the first step to take is to call a meeting with the school staff. They can help assess whether or not any underlying issues need attention. You can also request to see the results of your child’s tests and assessments.

If your child does not currently have an IEP, discuss the need for one with their teacher and request a meeting to determine if academic supports are necessary. If you do not know how to write this letter, let us help! 

Request an IEP Meeting

If your child has a valid IEP, you should request an evaluation to determine if any additional academic needs need support. You should make this request in writing. 

The following things might be appropriate for the team to consider:

  • An increase in special education services
  • A change in service delivery, i.e., where the services take place- inside regular classroom vs. special education room
  • Additional supplemental aids and services
  • Updating IEP goals

Additional Assessments

Ask the IEP team to consider reevaluation if your child is not making sufficient progress. You should make this request in writing.  

Reevaluation can give updated scores to show what their academic progress has been. Assessments can also indicate whether your child has a different educational disability. 

The IEP team will review the assessment results and discuss how they can help your child. A reevaluation may result in an update to IEP goals. 

During the IEP meeting, the team will come up with new goals to address weaknesses. You should be involved in this process to know what is happening and ask questions about anything you don’t understand.

A functional behavior assessment, FBA, should be considered if behaviors interfere with your child’s learning.

If the school agrees with this assessment and implements the necessary supports, test scores may improve over time. If not, consider requesting a referral outside of the school system.

Additional Resources for Parents

At the end of the day, if your child is not making academic progress, something needs to be done to support your child. Communication with your child’s school and requesting an IEP meeting are reasonable first steps.


Here are additional resources you may find helpful as parents: 


Do you have a child that needs one on one assistance?  

We offer one-on-one special education tutoring that can be done from anywhere the student is! Why? Because our special education experts conduct their sessions online!

Get started with a free consultation today!



Classroom of students all with their hands raised with what to do if your child is not making academic progress
Are you worried about your child’s academic progress in school? Here are the steps you should take to help them get back on track!

Whitney Small

Whitney Small

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