Report Cards: A conversation stopper or starter?

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When I was a kid going to school report card day was either something to be dreaded or looked forward to.  It all depended on what my teacher “did to me”.  Assessment and evaluation in those days was very much like that.  The examiner (teacher) examined student progress on a specific date using a specific tool.  They then graded that work and from that time forward the student became known as an A, B, C, D or F.  This may be a slight embellishment but it is not that far off of my experience.

Assessment, evaluation and reporting have changed dramatically since then.  Evaluation and Assessment are no longer things done to a student but rather processes that students participate in.  Reporting, by using strategies such as daily communication books, emails, student lead conferencing, blogs, chats in the hallway, portfolio reviews and yes even report cards are very much processes that students, parents and staff can participate in together. 

Today is report card day!  Please look for the report card to come home with your child today.  The report card is intended to serve as a snapshot in time of how your child has responded to the curricular outcomes that are relevant at this point.  Like any photograph, a report card can be quickly outdated.  This report card is meant to serve as a conversation starter (or continuer) for you, your child and his or her teacher as you continue to plan for and engage in learning in school.  This learning is meant to be an individual’s journey and the report card merely a road sign that give insight about the direction we are travelling, rate of travel and if we are experiencing any obstacles.  Make sure as one of the navigators of your child’s learning journey that you are part of the conversation about the end in mind.  Talk to your child and his or her teacher.  Bon Voyage!


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