I had to laugh a little when I heard the news this morning on my way to work, “there may be no formal report card for public elementary students this year!”
“Oh, no! The world is coming to an end.” I don’t mean to make fun of anyone who feels this way but at the same time it feels a little “sky is falling mentaility.”
For me the final report card is a labour – some task that many only see the letter grades and not the helpful comments that go with it. They are often a cause for smiles on kids faces as they beam with pride or hidden because the child doesn’t want to disappoint or face the eye of failure.
However, I want you to think about a couple of things:
1) should the final report be the first time you hear success or failure?
If not then how important is this report card? Why is it so honoured the without it the world is done?
2) are your elementary marks or any grades for that matter, tell how successful you will be in the future?
Don’t get me wrong they are good indicators but are they everything?
If no then again why are they so important?
Is it an accountability piece? If so then I can give you every mark and note I have ever done on any student at any time. Why because that is my job as a teacher.
For me assessment is about learning and learning is not shown in a final letter grade but in growth and reflection. I can’t speak for every classroom in Ontario but in my classroom, all students have access to the class coconstructed rubrics, success criteria and their own reflections. We are always talking about their performance and they all know what their strengths, and weaknesses are. All assignments come with formative feedback based on our rubrics the have comments on how they did and what they can do better next time. We have constant conferences with parents and students and all work is posted in their portfolios.
Kids have private class YouTube channel that they vlogg, blog and tape their thinking. Assessment is truly an open door policy.
So in closing I ask you two more questions:
What is more important, a formal document with my EDU speak and grades or a child telling you how they are doing and what they can do next to improve?
What is more important a document that comes to you three times a year or ongoing formative refections and assessment that comes every assignment?
For me it’s the ladder of the two and why I find the discussion of no report cards quite hilarious we need to relax and ask our children or their teacher.
If you ever want to know how they are doing, just ask.
Love to hear your thoughts.