What are Midterm Grades? A Guide for Families

One of the main questions that comes to our office is “how can I help my child be successful in college?” Every person in a student’s support network matters, but only the student can be responsible for their educational experience. We want students to be successful and we have resources to help students meet their academic goals, but it is the student’s responsibility to utilize these campus resources, engage fully in their learning experience, and to do well. 

 

One check point that we have in this success process is midterm grades. Faculty are encouraged to provide all students feedback about where they stand halfway through each semester. This is especially critical that students who are not doing well receive early feedback so they can make changes to their work and study habits in order to improve before the end of each term. Students can check their midterm grades through MyIWU.

 

What are midterm grades and what are they not? 

Midterm grades are a checkpoint of how students are performing academically in a class about halfway through the semester. This feedback only shows the work that students have had the opportunity to complete by the middle of the semester. For some classes, the majority of the work is due at the end of the semester. It is not wholly indicative of a student’s final grade. 

Midterm grades do not appear on a student’s permanent record (i.e. transcript). However, students should consider the information found in a midterm grade to be important and helpful feedback from their professor and continue habits that have allowed them to be successful in the class so far OR make changes to improve for the second part of the class.. 

 

What kind of feedback does a student get? 

  • C-, D, F:  These are grades of high concern. A student should use university resources such as tutoring, attending academic workshops and review sessions,  or working with faculty during office hours in order to focus on building study habits that lead to success. If a student has two or more grades in this category, IWU requires that they meet with someone from the Academic Advising Office prior to registering for the next semester of classes. 
  • B-, C+, C: These are grades of some concern. We encourage students to closely monitor their grades, make use of university resources, and reach out to their professor to determine steps to raise their grade. 
  • A, A-, B:  These are grades students should strive to achieve. If your student tells you their grades are all As and Bs, congratulate them on their study habits and encourage them to keep studying well and use university resources as needed to maintain their success. 
  • W: This grade means a student has withdrawn from a course. Students can withdraw from courses until the end of Week 10 of the semester. See the Academic Calendar for the exact date.

If this is your student’s first year at IWU, it can be surprising to see a marked difference from the grades they earned in high school. First-year students are often surprised by the difference in expectations for the work required in college compared to high school. This midterm notification process is a great reminder and important opportunity for students to begin using university resources and develop some additional study skills and habits that will allow them to be successful in college.

 

How can I talk to my student about their midterm grades? 

The middle of the semester is a good time of year to have a conversation with your student about a number of things. Before asking your student about their grades, consider asking: 

  • What have you learned about yourself this semester? 
  • What has been your favorite class?
  • What strategies and habits have helped you be successful so far? 
  • What strategies and habits might need to change for you to be successful?
  • What university resources have you utilized this semester? 
  • Are you attending and actively participating in your classes? 

 

Can I see my student’s midterm grades? 

Student grades are protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). We encourage students to share information about their experiences at IWU with their family. Students may also use the Parent Portal to give their family members access to certain information including midterm grades.

 

What resources are available to support my student? 

There are many caring faculty and staff eager to support your student. However, a student is responsible for all aspects of their educational experience and must take ownership and ask for assistance when they need it. The following resources are available to students to maximize their ability to be successful.

Each of these relationships is reciprocal because students must be active participants in the support process, communicate their questions and needs clearly, and take responsibility for their academic progress, learning, and success at IWU.