No Report Card? No Worries. Perform an Academic Check Up
What happens when schools don’t send home final report cards?
That’s the question thousands of parents across Ontario are asking themselves as the teachers’ strike in various school boards mandated against sending home final report cards for public elementary students.
Instead, students received a document called a placement letter stating whether or not they will continue on to the next grade.
Other boards will send home report cards with marks, but not with teacher comments. And in certain districts, parents will be able to request final marks from the principals later in the summer. Read more
No Report Card? No Worries.
So what does this actually mean for parents who are concerned about their children’s marks right now?
While final report cards are the last word on the school year, they are only one part of the overall academic engagement process for parents, students, and teachers. Combined with parent-teacher conferences, previous report cards, projects, tests, and assignments, and an active ongoing dialogue about school over the course of the year, parents can gather a fairly accurate idea of their child’s academic standing for this grade.
Perform an Academic Check-Up
There are a few things that parents can do in a no report card situation to wrap up the year and get a better sense of where things stand for their child.
Look at past report cards
Parents can get a sense of how their child was progressing over the year by looking at the last two formally issued report cards or progress reports and by comparing subject to subject. Look at two math marks, or two history marks, or English marks. Did they stay the same? Did they go up or down? This sort of evaluation will help parents can get a sense of their child’s general learning progression and make an educated guess about where their child is currently.
Look at tests and projects
As with past report cards, projects, tests and assignments all contain grades and teacher’s comments. Review these subject by subject. If your child doesn’t have copies of all of the tests, (sometimes teachers keep tests rather than letting students keep them) request copies from the teacher. Teachers may not share the documents, but it can’t hurt to ask.
Talk about grades
In the absence of a formal reporting system, parents can opt to simply have a frank discussion about how things are going in school for their child. This is especially important for older students in upper elementary and high school: it encourages them to think critically about their academic performance and to identify areas that might need attention. From this discussion goals can be set for the summer and upcoming school year.
Keep learning over the summer
Without the final report card, summer learning becomes even more important. Beginning an academic program establishes a benchmark in June to which progress can be marked at the end of the summer. This gives students a really strong starting point for when school begins in the fall.
Get assessed at Oxford Learning
Oxford Learning programs begin with an in-depth academic and cognitive assessment, which is a great tool for getting a clear picture of a child’s academic standing, as well as learning strengths and weaknesses. Combined with a customized program and regular progress updates, parents and students alike will always know how well they are learning.
Getting help or doing well at school always works better when the student is on board. Students should be part of the decision to get extra help as they get into upper elementary grades, but they should not be the ones to make the decision. Too often I hear, “they don’t want to get extra help”. If you the parent feel they need the support, then they should get it because it’s important. There are many things I haven’t wanted to do in life, but I had to anyways and they made me a better person for it.
Allison Bourke is the Director of Education at two locations of Oxford Learning in Waterloo, Ontario and New to Waterloo’s ongoing Education contributor.