It’s June. Teachers are busily completing the final Report Card for the year; inputting their grades/marks and writing comments. But, what does that grade/mark mean? What is it based upon and how accurate is it? In 2010 the Ministry of Education produced a document, Growing Success, which is the “bible” for assessment and evaluation in Ontario. It is available on the Ministry of Education website: www.ed.gov.on.ca It says, “determining a report card grade will involve teacher’s professional judgement and interpretation of evidence and should reflect the student’s most consistent level of achievement, with special consideration given to more recent evidence.” The key word in this is, “evidence.” Most teachers will use three samples as evidence, including; observation, conversation and student products. The report card should clearly indicate what was being assessed, what students know and can do, and suggestions on what parents can do to further improve achievement. Every teacher in Ontario uses the same achievement chart and criteria. A Level 3 is the provincial standard for achievement, indicating a student has demonstrated the specific knowledge and skills with “considerable effectiveness.” On the report card this translates into a B for grades 1-6 and 70%-79% for grades 7-12. Parents should not be surprised by what is on the report cards. Most Principals instruct their staff to maintain ongoing communication with parents whose children are having difficulty meeting the provincial standard.
Questions you should be asking as you read your child’s report card:
Is my child meeting the Ministry expectations?
Did I know my child was having difficulty meeting the expectations?
If my child is not meeting expectations, does the report card specify next steps?
If my child is meeting expectations, are there next steps for him/her to work on to increase proficiency?
Do the comments clearly indicate what was being assessed?
Do I have a clear picture of what my child knows and can do?
Is the IEP box checked? Was I consulted in the writing of the IEP? (For those students who have been formally identified at an IPRC).
Does the report card reflect my child as a learner?
Hopefully, you will be able to answer all of these questions, satisfactorily. If you still have questions or are unclear about any part of the report card, first ask your child about it, as they should be able to explain the criteria used for each assessment. If you continue to have questions, contact the teacher. In most situations, they will be able to provide a satisfactory explanation.
Until our next lesson...