A Guide to Evaluating Your Effort In School

by Christine Chadwick

At some point in many students' schooling grades may begin to fall. Courses that used to be fairly easy may transform to challenging as the material moves on to more difficult concepts. If you were an eager student who loved to push yourself to try new things the thrill of academics may have paled as you entered adolescence and social pressure begun to mount. Maybe school has always been hard and you are not sure why.

As you enter or begin to prepare for university you may be struggling with some doubts as to your ability to make the cut. Before you decide higher education is not for you or that you should consider lowering your standards and expectations invest some time into investigating whether you are working to your potential. You need to evaluate how much effort you are truly putting forth in school before you can decide upon future plans.

Work With An Adult

Talk with a trusted adult about your concerns. If you have a good current relationship with your parents or at least one of them start there. If you are not able to rely upon a parent now might be the time to contact your school's counselling office or a teacher who you have a cordial relationship with.

Gather Facts

Sit down with your mentor and take a hard look at your current courses. Review your grades first. If you are really disappointed with them be honest with yourself. Are you current with assignments? Have you missed tests or failed to turn in projects? How is your attendance?

Are you taking the types of courses you need to apply to the post-secondary options that interest you? Do you have enough time to get all the courses in if you are not on track? Your school's counselling office exists in part to answer these questions and to help you plan to ensure what you need as far as grades and courses begin to fall into place.

Are Your Grades In Alignment With Your Established Ability?

Consult with your tutor or a trusted teacher about the correlation between standardised tests administered over the school years and your current school performance. Is there a disconnect? Is your current situation because you are not working hard enough or because you have always struggled with these subjects?

Investigate whether there are any other assessments that might shed light on what is interfering with classroom success. Perhaps there is a learning disability or thought processing barrier that can be addressed.

Do You Need Assistance With Planning?

Buy a daily planner and use to map out a study structure. List all courses and all the tests and deadlines you have. Work again with your trusted adult to see if your plan seems reasonable. Are you attempting too much? Or is the real problem that you are not attending to your classwork as you should?

Boredom Or Depression?

Is it possible you are not succeeding because you are not challenging yourself enough? Perhaps the answer is more rigorous, interesting courses. Are there things in your life bothering you, getting in the way of attending to your studies? If so, you may want to talk with a mental health professional.