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Archive for March 11th, 2015

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In our school, this is the season of report cards. It seems as though, for staff, that they have been in process for about a month.

In just a couple of days students and their parents will open the envelopes of doom the assessments of work, behavior and effort. There will be praises and punishments resulting from these pieces of paper. There will be triumphant cries, and tears. There will be rewards and removals of privileges.

But …

do the report cards report on learning?

That is the question of the day, within the hallowed halls of educational places all over. The traditional methods of assessing learning are being looked at from every angle. As with many traditional practices in a variety of areas of life, what is done because it has always been done that way, assessment is being evaluated.

When we read a report card, there are (generally) two important parts:

  • the mark … be it a number or letter representing a range of understanding
  • the comment … included within may be effort, behavior, an example of a situation

The mark often represents how the student has done on tests, homework and assignments. The comment can be quite subjective, reflecting the relationship between the student and teacher, as well as the observations of the teacher.

These are okay assessments … not all bad. They are not, though, complete indicators of learning.

The following image/quote would reverberate for most teachers, school administrators, educational assistants:

IMG_2178Oh sure, there are a few educators who are just in it for the money (insert extreme laughter here), the long summer breaks or who simply got into the wrong profession. But those are the rare exception, not the norm.

The desire of the educator, who is called to their work. is not that a piece of paper, handed out two or three times a year, define a student. The greatest desire is that each student learn. That each student succeed, in some way (maybe not even academically), in their life. That each student know what their passion is, and how to make it their life’s work.

Truly gifted and called educators care more about who the student becomes, rather than what the report card assesses.

May we parents all, before opening that report card, look our children in the eyes and say, “I love you. I love who you are and who you were created to be. Opening this report card will not change that reality.”

 

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