Classroom grades and standardized test scores are the tools that are utilized to measure student achievement. Students and parents shouldn't wait until high school to see the importance of grades and standardized test scores. In addition, your child's educational path will be determined by their teachers and principals based on the third grade test scores as well. Therefore, parents must encourage and support academic achievement from the first day your child enters school; as early as Pre-K. An environment that encourages and supports academic achievement means checking and doing homework with your child. It also includes finding tutorial support for subject areas that students may struggle in to ensure academic success in all subject areas. The final part of encouraging academic achievement is being a part of your child's standardized test preparation. There are countless studies that show that when parents are an active part of their child's education, children perform better academically.
The classroom should not be the only place where students have learning experiences. Children should participate in extracurricular activities that support their interests and strengths. Students that are interested in math and science should participate in math and science competitions and clubs. Students should also participate in summer and after-school programs in their area of interest. Finally students should participate in as many events as possible in their area of interest such as visiting museums, attending career fairs, etc.
The great thing about education is that is not only a tool to train and equip students with skills, but it opens one's eyes to see the possibilities. If we are going to have a future STEM workforce, we have to not only give our kids the skills to academically achieve in math and science, but allow them to see the possibility of having a career in those fields. The earlier our kids see this connection, the brighter their future becomes.