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A sample report, with results and follow-up activities.


Talk to your teacher

Take a look at the quick videos of productive parent-teacher conferences!

Download these conversation suggestions for parent-teacher conferences - there are general questions AND suggestions for sharing Raise the Bar results.


Be a Raise the Bar Parent

Raise the Bar is forming a vibrant community of Raise the Bar Parents.

If you want to connect with like-minded parents and take action in your school and your community, get involved.

Download our parent toolkit to take action in your schools and communities, and to share with friends.


Try these questions from our 5th grade math quiz Sign up for access to all our free quizzes.


Try these questions from our 5th grade reading quiz Sign up for access to all our free quizzes.


Try these questions from our character survey

Questions Answers
Rarely Sometimes Often Almost
Zest - approaching life with excitement and energy
Actively engages in hobbies, sports, music, or other activities
Grit - finishing what you start - showing persistence and resilience
Finishes whatever he or she begins
Self-Control (Work) - being self-disciplined
Pays attention and resists distractions
Gratitude - being aware of and thankful for good things you have
Expresses appreciation by saying thank you
Demonstrates respect for feelings of others
Curiosity - taking an interest in learning for its own sake
Asks questions to deepen understanding

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What is a higher bar?

Our kids need to master core academic skills and develop strong character traits like integrity, perseverance, and curiosity.

When we expect more, our kids will achieve more and be prepared for the challenges of school, work, and life.

The Common Core State Standards are one way to help our kids, our teachers, and our nation to reach a higher bar.

Parents' High Expectations Help Kids Thrive

As a parent, you are your children’s number one champion. When you speak up, teachers, principals, and communities hear.

Your high expectations inspire greatness. Low expectations do just the opposite.

While you’re setting up your own child for success, you’re also helping all American schoolchildren by showing that education matters and parents expect a lot.

Raise The Bar - Parents Helping Parents

We are a community of active parents helping each other in our most important job: raising healthy, happy, well-educated children who can pursue their dreams and tap their potential to contribute to an ever-changing world.

Because most of us have had careers in education, we know many kids aren't learning the skills they need to prepare them for success in college and careers.

Here's the good news: When we work with our children at home and with our teachers, schools and communities our kids can achieve at a higher bar. So, we put together resources on this site to share with other parents. Tell us what you think here! And check out our FAQs for more information about us!

Raise the Bar is sponsored by America Achieves, a non-profit organization that aims to increase education success for all kids.


Acknowledgements of Copyright Materials

Raise the Bar (Parents) acknowledges the use of the following copyright materials used on this website.

Grade 3 - Mimic Octopus

Notes, Sources, Links, and Information:


Grade 4 - Bison

Notes, Sources, Links, and Information:


Grade 5 - Everest

Notes, Sources, Links, and Information:

Grade 6 - Snow Leopards

Notes, Sources, Links, and Information:


Privacy Policy

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How We Collect and Use Your Information Back to top

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Information Collected and Stored Automatically Back to top

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If You Send Us Personal Information Back to top

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Personal Information and Choice Back to top

You may choose whether to provide personal information on-line.

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Cookies Back to top

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Disclaimer Back to top

This web site may contain links to other Internet computer sites which are not owned, operated, controlled or reviewed by America Achieves. These links are provided solely as a courtesy and convenience to you. When you link to one of these sites, you are no longer on the America Achieves web site and this privacy notice will not apply. When you link to another web site, you are subject to the privacy policy of that new site.

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Content Standards Back to top

These content standards apply to any and all User Contributions and Interactive Services. User Contributions must in their entirety comply with all applicable federal, state, local and international laws and regulations. Without limiting the foregoing, User Contributions must not:

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Copyright Infringement Back to top

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Policy Towards Children Back to top

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Raise the Bar? Back to top

We are a community of parents who are seeking and sharing information, resources, and support to help one another raise healthy, happy, well-educated children who can achieve their dreams and tap their potential to contribute to an ever-changing world.

We are anxious that our kids may need even greater educational challenge, engagement, and support.

When we work together with our children at home and partner with our teachers, schools, and communities, we can help our kids meet a higher bar, and get the education they need as a foundation for their future success.

That's why Raise the Bar is building a community that provides information you can trust, sharing helpful tools and resources to support you and your child, and connecting you to a community of parents who share your goals for your child's education. Raise the Bar is in a pilot stage. Your feedback helps us improve our parent tools/resources.

Raise the Bar is a pilot initiative sponsored by America Achieves, a non-profit organization that aims to increase educational success for all kids.

2. How can Raise the Bar help me? Back to top

We aim to arm fellow parents with vital information and resources they need to ensure their children are on track for next year, high school, college, and the working world. Our very first pilot website provides "Educational Check-ups," where you can get periodic updates on how your child is doing in key areas like math, reading, and character strengths. You can also use the website to find personalized resources and useful guidance on ways to help your child work on key skills where they need practice or work.

Our website will give you some initial information to help you understand whether your child is on track and what you can do to support your child and school. You will be able to:

  • Use the "Educational Check-up" to get objective, practical information to give you an initial sense for how your child is doing in some key areas like math, reading, and character strengths.
  • Get concrete, customized suggestions to help your child build on his/her strengths and improve in areas of weakness. We've found some of the best resources and tools online and gathered them in one place for you!
  • Connect with other parents, share stories and advice, and support one another in raising the bar for our children.

We are currently beta testing this pilot website, and we would love to hear your feedback and ideas. The next version in the fall will be based on the feedback and experiences of parents like you.

3. What is the Educational Check-up? Is the Educational Check-up available for all grades? Back to top

We take our children to the doctor every year for a check-up to keep them healthy and thriving. So we created the "Educational Check-up" to give us some initial information on how our kids are doing in reading, math, and in key character strengths and how we can help them improve. Once you have your child's check-up results, we will provide free, personalized online resources so you can help your child improve where he/she needs assistance, and continue to build on his/her strengths.

The reading and math check-ups offer brief, game-like adventures that are also quizzes calibrated to the end of grade level; the results will be provided to you by email and offer initial directional feedback on how your child is doing. These quizzes are aligned to the Common Core State Standards, which are being used in forty-six states and are one important part of the higher bar that our children need to reach. You may also want to share this site or your child's report with his or her teacher so you can talk about it and work together to help your child succeed. The check-up also includes a character strengths growth card so that you can get a sense of your child's strength on the habits and characteristics that make a difference in student success.

The Educational Check-up is available for grades 2-8.

4. What is a higher bar? Back to top

Our children need a higher bar for education to succeed in our changing world. This goes beyond learning the basics of reading and math to include higher-order skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication. It also includes the character strengths that fuel lifelong learning and success – like resilience, self-control, curiosity, along with a strong work ethic and a drive to always get better.

And a well-rounded education includes developing the ability to work with others, be team players, and exhibit core American values like honesty, responsibility, compassion, and service to others.

The Common Core State Standards are an example of the kind of higher bar that we support.

5. Why is Raise the Bar focused on parents? Back to top

We are made up of active parents who want to support our children's educational progress and success. We want all parents to have good information at their fingertips about what they can do to make sure their children are on track to succeed.

That's why we're building a community of parents who are looking for the best in education for their children and are willing to support that higher bar at home, at school, and in their community. In helping parents navigate their children's education we can take steps toward helping all families have access to a higher bar of education for their children.

6. I'm a busy parent. How can Raise the Bar help me be a better advocate for my child? Back to top

If your days are anything like ours, you could probably use another hour or two just to get things done. We can't give you another hour or two - but we can help you make good use of the scarce time you have to help your children succeed in school. Raise the Bar aims to take out some of the guesswork to give you information to help you take action and best help your child succeed in school.

Use our free online tools to get your child an educational checkup and connect them to free, personalized support. Join our community as a founding parent, where you'll help support other parents in accessing resources to help their children, and share Raise the Bar with other parents in your community. Together, we can achieve a higher bar!

7. What are the Common Core State Standards and what do you think about them? Back to top

A well-rounded education and high standards are crucial to our children's success. The Common Core State Standards are one kind of higher bar that outlines what our kids should learn and achieve in reading, writing, and math to help prepare them for success. These standards emphasize the problem-solving and critical thinking skills needed to apply academic knowledge to real-world situations and that will help prepare our children for success tomorrow, the next grade, and – one day – for college and careers.

Forty-six states have taken an important step to adopt these higher academic standards. The standards go deeper into fewer topics so that teachers can help students really master what they learn. Strong implementation of these standards can help put all of our children on track to have good choices - in careers, college, and in life.

8. Is there a Raise the Bar site near me? How can I become a founding parent leader? Back to top

During our pilot phase, we are partnering with parents across the country to pilot Raise the Bar in a number of diverse school districts across the United States. This pilot phase will help us determine our plans for expansion in more communities nationwide, but meanwhile we welcome all parents who want to raise the bar for their children. Get involved as a parent leader by taking our "Educational Check-up" with your child and sharing our site with parents like you!

Contact us to learn more about Raise the Bar in your area.

9. How does Raise the Bar work to support teachers? Back to top

We have worked with outstanding teachers and other educators to develop this project and pilot website. We are partnering with educators in communities across the country to try out and get feedback on this pilot. We hugely respect and appreciate the hard and important work teachers do every day to educate our children - our project is designed to support teachers too.

Like busy parents, teachers could also use some support to make sure all their students succeed. Family participation in education is twice as important as income or education in predicting a student's academic success. Children whose families are more involved in both their school and in helping them learn at home are more likely to succeed academically.

That's why Raise the Bar encourages parents and teachers to work together with the shared goal of supporting student success. We give parents the information and tools they need to help their children at home and support them to communicate effectively with their teachers and school leaders about raising the bar at school. We welcome feedback from teachers and educators on this pilot site and their great ideas on how else parents can help them to raise the bar.

10. Do you collect my personal data? Back to top

You do not need to share any personal data in order to be able to use our website and read and download resources. Raise the Bar won't collect any personal information about you unless you voluntarily share it with us. If you do share information, we will strictly abide by the attached privacy policy. We will only use information visitors share with us to help us better understand and meet the needs and interests of our audience. Please know that we will never sell, lease, rent, or share your confidential information or share it with any other organization. See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Parents' High Expectations Help Kids Thrive

These are the reading materials and the research that supports our statistics and other information provided on this website.

“Conversations helps kids learn to process and communicate information better.”
OECD (2012), Let's Read Them a Story! The Parent Factor in Education, PISA, OECD Publishing.

“We can make our kids better readers by reading to them regularly.”
PISA In Focus (November 2011). What can parents do to help their children succeed in school? OECD Publishing.

“Kids' writing improves significantly when we take an interest in their homework.”
Center for Public Education (August 2011). Back to School: How Parent Involvement Affects Student Achievement.

“A home environment that encourages learning is twice as important as having money.”
Henderson, A. T., & Berla, N. (1994). A new generation of evidence: The family is critical to student achievement. St. Louis, MO: Danforth Foundation and Flint, MI: Mott (C. S.) Foundation.

“A home environment that encourages learning is twice as important as having money (2).”
Henderson, Anne T. and Mapp, Karen L. (2002). A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement, SEDL.

“When we expect our children to succeed, they are more likely to succeed.”
Jeynes, William H. (May 2005). A Meta-Analysis of the Relation of Parental Involvement to Urban Elementary School Student Academic Achievement. Urban Education vol. 40 no. 3 237-269.

“Kids whose parents get involved in their learning are more likely to pass their classes.”
Henderson, Anne T. and Mapp, Karen L. (2002). A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement, SEDL.

“Kids are more likely to adapt well to school when we get involved in their learning.”
Henderson, Anne T. and Mapp, Karen L. (2002). A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement, SEDL.

“The Impact of Family Involvement”
Epstein, Joyce L., Lloyd, Chrishana M., Maier, Michelle F., Van Voorhis, Frances L. (October 2013). The Impact of Family Involvement on the Education of Children Ages 3 to 8: A Focus on Literacy and Math Achievement Outcomes and Social-Emotional Skills. MDRC. Retrieved from

“The Power of Praise”
Bronson, Po. (2007, August 3,). How Not to Talk to Your Kids: The Inverse Power of Praise. New York Magazine. Retrieved from

“What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?”
Tough, Paul. (2011, September 18). What if the Secret to Success Is Failure? The New York Times. Retrieved from

“84% of us believe our kids will get a four year college degree. Only a third of us are right.”
NCES. (2012, May 24) The Condition of Education 2012, Retrieved August 13, 2013, from

“Barely half of our kids are reading well enough by the end of high school to succeed in college courses.”
ACT, Inc. (2009) ACT National Curriculum Survey ® 2009, pp. 26, Retrieved August 13, 2013, from

“Reading below grade level is a strong predictor of later dropping out.”
Hernandez, Donald. (2012) Double Jeopardy How Third Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation, Annie E Casey Foundation.

“Barely one third of our kids can read proficiently in fourth grade.”
Federal Education Budget Project. (2012, March 29) 4th Grade Reading: State NAEP Performance 2011, retrieved December 12, 2013 from

“In the 1970s, only one in four U.S. jobs required post-secondary education.”
Carnevale, A.P.; Hanson, A. R.; Gulish, A. (2013, September 30) Failure to Launch: Structural Shift and the New Lost Generation, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce and The Generations Initiative, pp. 12

“A smaller share of our kids perform at advanced levels in math than in 30 other countries.”
Hanushek, E.; Peterson, P.;Woessmann, L. (2012, July) Achievement Growth: International and U.S. State Trends in Student Performance, Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance & Education Next, pp. v

“Nearly one third of our kids will not graduate high school in four years.”
Slover, Laura. (2010, March 4) Common Core State Standards Initiative, Retrieved August 13, 2013, from _WarrenInstitute_brief.pdf

“26% of our 15-year-olds do not reach a baseline level of math proficiency.”
OECD (2013), Lessons from PISA 2012 for the United States, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education, OECD Publishing.

“Only 2% of students in the United States reach the highest level of performance in math.”
OECD (2013), Lessons from PISA 2012 for the United States, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education, OECD Publishing.

“75 percent of parents worry that a middle-class lifestyle could be jeopardized for their children.”
America Achieves (2014), Expectations and Reality: Good and Bad News about How Well US students are Prepared for Success in Our Changing World.

“How kids spend time at home is a better predictor of success that a parent's income or education level.”
Clark, Reginald M. (1993), Homework-Focused Parenting Practices That Positively Affect Student Achievement In Chavkin, Nancy Feyl (Ed.), Families and Schools in a Pluralistic Society Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 85–105.


Grade Two Video


Grade Three Video


Grade Four Video


Grade Five Video


Grade Six Video


Grade Seven Video


Grade Eight Video


Explaining the Common Core State Standards


Explicando los Estándares Académicos Fundamentales


For the Love of Math


Words with Friends

Parents' High Expectations Help Kids Thrive

Nearly 75 percent of parents worry that a middle-class lifestyle and future opportunities could be jeopardized for their children without a more demanding education.

When we were kids, the US had the highest percentage of high school graduates in the world. Today, 21 other countries are ahead of us.

In the 1970s, only one in four U.S. jobs required post-secondary education. Soon nearly two in three jobs will.

84% of us believe our kids will get a four year college degree. Only a third of us are right.

26% of our 15-year-olds do not reach a baseline level of math proficiency. In Canada the proportion of poor performers is 10% or less.

Only 2% of students in the United States reach the highest level of performance in math, compared with up to 31% of students in Shanghai-China.

Barely half of our kids are reading well enough by the end of high school to succeed in college level courses.

Read the research that supports these statements

Sign Up to make sure your kids are prepared for college and life.


Communication is Key


Proud Parents


Education for Success


My Job as a Mom


Parent Expectations


Is There Something Missing?


What We Want


Success for Our Kids