Study Skills Tips


With assessment tasks getting into full swing it is worth reflecting on how to manage expectations about results. This tip again comes courtesy of Prue Salter of Enhanced Learning Educational Services (ELES)

Parents often have high expectations of their children in relation to how much homework they will do, and what results they will achieve in their studies. These expectations may result from cultural beliefs, personal experiences, desire for children to have better opportunities than their parents had and the like. Research shows that whilst parental expectations can play a significant part in children achieving high results, they can also contribute to high levels of student stress.

Some things to think about in relation to parental expectations include:

  1. Help your children to set realistic goals: Keep talking to your children about what they want to achieve, in individual subjects, at school overall and in other aspects of their life. Their career goals may mean they want to focus intensively on something like art or music, rather than maths or science. Helping them to identify their goals will enable them to determine what subjects they need to focus on and what marks they are likely to need, which means that effort can be concentrated on the areas which will help them to achieve their goals.
  2. Be involved in your children’s learning: Throughout the term talk to your children about what they are studying. Ask them to show you their bookwork and homework. The more you understand about what they are doing and how they are going along the way, the better you will be able to set and manage your expectations.
  3. Develop an understanding of the school’s assessment and reporting structures: Assessment and reporting systems change over time and are different in different schools, states and countries. Making sure you really understand what your children’s report means may help you to understand what they are actually achieving. Your school can explain these to you if need be. Sometimes students are excelling, but reporting structures don’t clearly represent this to parents.
  4. Remember nobody is perfect: Even the brightest, most highly motivated child will struggle at times. They may struggle to understand a particular topic or concept, or they may struggle with motivation, particularly for a subject they don’t particularly enjoy. Problems with teachers or peers can also contribute. It is unrealistic that anyone can work with 100% effort all the time.
  5. Provide practical homework and exam support: Provide practical help to your children to enable them to access past papers or practise questions and work with them by helping with things like proofreading and reviewing drafts, checking work and listening to speeches. Remember though, it is not your work, so don’t make changes, rather make suggestions and provide guidance.


Rob Gough

Year 8 Coordinator