Report Cards – Please Read!

Report Cards – Please Read!

Good morning Parents!

As you probably know, I will be handing out report cards at the end of the day today (Friday). When looking at your child’s report card, please consider the following:

1) The students will be receiving letter grades for the first time this year. As an exercise, I encourage you to look at your child’s Grade 3 report card to see how he/she was doing. Use the table I’ve included in this post to find the equivalent letter grade. 

2) These reports are a snapshot of your child’s learning. Summarizing what has been taught, learned and evaluated, and converting it into a letter grade is not a simple task. 

Here is a quick overview of what it represents. Notice that a C+ is above “Meets expectations” and a C is equivalent to a “Meets expectations”. When discussing students’ performance, teachers will often use “Fully meets expectations with a good performance” to describe a C+. I personally prefer using checklists as I find these more descriptive. You will also find checklists on your child’s report card.

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3) English Language Arts is a new subject taught this year. Reading and writing is not as easy as it seems but all students are coping fine with this. Many students will be “Meeting expectations”, so don’t be surprised. Having taught Grade 6/7 has allowed me to see what French Immersion students can do when reading and writing in English. Believe me, they all do really well!

I leave you with a little something taken from Mme Geneviève’s letter to her parents. Mme Geneviève teaches Grade 5/6 at our school. I was going to explain to you the same thing but she’s said it so well that I’ve included it here for you. 

Have a great weekend!

“Most parents’ only frame of reference with which to compare and comprehend their child’s report card is their own experience in school (probably high school and university: I know I don’t remember what my grades were in Grade 5). However, many may not realize that current best practice has significantly shifted for elementary school. Specifically, there has been a strong push to move away from numerical scoring and towards Criterion-Referenced Evaluation, and Assessment for Learning. In other words, an A on a report card is not 86%-100%. For an elementary student*, an A means ”Excellent or Outstanding Performance” (or, as I tell my students, ”Oh-my-gosh-blow-me-away fantastic!”) It is impossible to justify in a satisfactory manner why an 86% deserves an A while an 85% merits a B. However, to describe the difference between ”Excellent or Outstanding” compared to ”Very Good” is easily done.

The students and I have had discussions throughout the term around expectations and criterion-referenced evaluation. They are familiar with this method, and students in past years have shared their satisfaction with how it works. Best of all, instead of ”I got a B!” (the student has no idea how he/she ”got” it, the letter grade just fell upon his/her head from the heavens!) I am now hearing from students ”I got FM because I fully meet expectations: I showed how much I understand.” They are taking more ownership over their learning, and the level of success they experience is internal, personal, and more under their control. They are proud of their own learning, and have told me that they feel much less judged as a person than they do when receiving a letter grade or numerical mark on their assignments. Seeing language such as ”meets expectations” gives students a clearer sense of how they are learning, as opposed to the perceived evaluation of their intelligence which they so often assume is the meaning of a direct letter grade.

*According to Ministry guidelines, numerical, percentage-based evaluation is typically used in grades 10-12

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