Elementary Report Card Serves as Educational Check Up

Elementary Report Card Serves as Educational Check UP
Posted on 12/27/2017
Picture of Dr NelsonElementary Report Card Serve as Educational Check-up
Larry Nelson, Assistant Superintendent

The new year is quickly approaching and second quarter report cards will be sent home to all elementary students on January 3rd. The elementary report card serves as an “educational check-up” for students. There are many similarities between the report card and a "medical checkup." For example, doctors in the medical field compare our wellness to a standard deemed "typical" or "healthy" based on our age group. A standard for weight is based on height; there is a "safe zone" for where our blood pressure should be, and of course, there’s the much dreaded cholesterol count, which reflects just how healthy our diet has been.

A child's report card is also based on specific standards considered to be "educationally healthy" for a child's age. Gone are the days when we simply put percentages on every school task and average those percentages to come up with a final grade. That would be like taking your blood pressure on a weekly basis and giving yourself a 100% for simply having blood pressure. It wouldn’t be an accurate picture of your over-all wellness.

A child's report card clearly indicates whether your child is moving in a "healthy direction" for achieving the specific building blocks in reading, writing and mathematics. These building blocks are listed on the report card. There are descriptors listed under each subject area. In order for a child to meet these expectations by the end of the year, teachers determine what children should be able to demonstrate after 9 weeks of school and again after 18 weeks of school. Given the passage of time, expectations for student performance at the 18th week are higher than at the 9th week. In other words, a child who receives a "3" on both the first quarter and second quarter progress reports are indeed making significant progress.

It is also important not to view a “2” marking as a failing grade. If your cholesterol wasn’t in an expected or desired range, we wouldn’t assume you are headed for cardiac arrest! However, we would pay attention and find ways to guide improvement in this area. Similarly, students who receive a "2" on their progress reports should be encouraged to continue working hard which will eventually result in meeting grade level criteria.

We sometimes confuse the "4" marking on the grade card as similar to an "A." As stated on grade card descriptors, a "4" means the student is "consistently and independently exceeding grade level standards." This doesn’t equate to an “A” and does not mean the child is getting 90% or better on all assignments. It does mean it has been deemed the child is working above and beyond the grade level’s expectations.

By the time a child’s report card is received, teachers have spent hours preparing this "educational checkup" for your child. Fortunately, unlike medical doctors, the teacher also monitors your child's educational progress on a daily basis; continually intervening to make sure each child is progressing toward a “healthy” direction needed for academic success. I encourage all of our parents/guardians to schedule a conference with their child’s teacher to discuss their child’s progress.