March 2017 Column


A recent discussion about report cards created a topic for consideration.  What is the relevance of report cards being distributed on a nine-week cycle?  Parents today have 24/7 access to student performance.  In MOST cases parents are not surprised at the performance or rating of their child when presented the report card because they have accessed their student information through the Parent Portal. Is this another case of “that’s’ the way we’ve always done it” or is there a true benefit to quarterly reporting of grades? Is it necessary to print report cards and have them signed by parents? Or can we achieve the same results by parents logging into the parent portal, then electronically signing they have been notified of their student’s achievement. These are discussions I enjoy having and would appreciate comments from parents or community members who have ideas on either side of the concept.
  Timing or need for report cards is just one topic of conversation. The purpose of a report card is the elephant in the room.  As parents, we all want our children to succeed.  Success could look different for each child. The reality of life is that we measure success on a report by the “grade” our child receives.  However,  the report only demonstrates the student’s ability to achieve the goals of the teacher.  Our data analysis shows  that A and B grades in class show no correlation of competency on a standardized assessment. Students who score in the upper echelon show no correlation to mastering subject material at the student’s grade level.  A report card, similar to a standardized test, is to measure progress.  The report gives the parent the level of accomplishment and, depending on the “grade,” whether or not  intervention should occur.
  School report cards have little to no correlation to a student’s effort in the classroom.  Children who are already performing “at grade level” do not have to exert much effort to maintain good grades.  Yet students who struggle in the classroom must exert large sums of effort to achieve the same level of proficiency as the aforementioned student. Is it wise to evaluate effort?  Are we rewarding academic success based on God-given skill?
  School districts who have adopted Standard based grading have experienced difficulty implementing the new methodology. The “everyone who participates gets a trophy” mentality does not embrace the fact that all children perform at different levels, and thus can be gauged as such. Standardized grading is black and white to the fact that a student’s grade is based on his/her ability to achieve a pre-set standard in the grade in which they are enrolled.
  To go full circle, the question becomes: “Do we grade students based on teacher established criteria?”  Or, “Do we grade students based on their effort in the classroom?” And finally, “Do we grade students based on a pre-set of standards known as content mastery?”
  Further, how do we keep parents up to the minute on their student’s achievement? Through a  quarterly report card with established criteria? Or do we encourage parents to use the parent portal and/or contact the teacher for progress of their child? I’m sure we will continue the way we’ve always done things, because that is our comfort level.  I do enjoy batting ideas around.  It should always be at the forefront, that whatever we decide should be for the best interest of the children.  If you have strong feelings about any of the topics covered please feel free to shoot me an email @  I’d appreciate hearing your viewpoint.

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