Q:

My son receives a grade for both achievement and effort in every one of his subjects. I am not sure which grade I should be most concerned with? Is it important to receive both grades for each subject? -- Puzzled

A:

The grades measure different things. The achievement grade reflects how well your son has mastered the subject material. The effort grade is less precise. It shows how hard your child is working, including doing classwork, participating in class discussions and completing homework assignments.

You should be most concerned about the relationship between the two grades. A good grade in effort should ideally be linked to a good grade in achievement. On the other hand, a poor grade in effort can often explain a low achievement grade. And a high achievement grade coupled with a low effort grade may indicate that a child needs more challenging work. Whenever there is a significant difference between the two grades, a discussion with a teacher should be arranged.

Research has shown that students' beliefs about effort are very important. If students believe that the effort they put into learning an academic subject will lead to achieving a better academic grade, the students are more likely to put forth the necessary effort to obtain the results they want to achieve.