Report Cards…what if?

I hate report cards.  There.  I said it.  Not because they take so long to write, not because I agonize over every comment, every check box.  Because they don’t really help.

The kids who do well get the positive they would get anyway, and the kids who don’t… does it really make a difference?  Does it change their effort?  Make them want to work harder?  Doubtful.  I have seen it become a relationship breaker between a student and a teacher-even a parent and child.  Who does that help?

And since how we are teaching and learning is changing, why are we still using an ancient reporting system?  There has been lots of discussion about no percentages, no letter grades etc.  To me, it seems like we are just renovating an old house that is long past its prime.

What if we threw the whole mess out the window and started over?

What if we asked instead, “What does the parent need to know about his/her child?”  How can we work together to move this little person to be a better thinker and learner?

How about we develop a growth plan for each child and work with parents to help them grow?  It would put the onus on the teacher to really know the student and understand his/her learning style and abilities, it would take time, and it would certainly look different than what we do now.

What if we developed a series of questions that were process and socially based and answered those instead?  What would they be?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if report cards were authentic and based on the needs of the individual?  After all, we are reporting on the growth and development of a human being here.  I think it is worth the effort.


Report Cards…what if? — 2 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this right now, as our district is embarking on a alternative way of reporting tho parents that is more relevant and meaningful than traditional report cards. With your permission, we would like to use your blog post as a conversation starter for our Elementary Principals.

    • Hi Kyle, thanks for your comments! Please feel free to use this post with your Elementary Principals. I actually started my teaching career at Airport Elem with Charlie S and Cathy Bulger :). This work is the focus of my Innovative Learning Designs Grant project ( is the district URL and our Director of Instruction, Elisa Carlson @emscarlsen is amazing, follow her on Twitter!). Thanks again for your comments!

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