Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This is not your mother's report card!

  Remember the 80s? Big hair, stonewashed jeans, and letter grades on report cards? In some schools today, the report cards look just as foreign as stonewashed jeans. Back in the 80s, my report cards were one sturdy piece of cardstock that was folded over. It was handwritten (gasp) and was filled  with letter grades. Fast forward to 2010, many schools now give out report cards 10-20 pages in length. Luckily, these 20 page report cards are NOT handwritten (Can you say writers cramp?).  Inside the report card you WILL NOT find letter grades. Nope. I don't care if your kid is the smartest kid in the class, he will not get any As. Instead you will commonly find numbers or some other system to measure your child as advanced, proficient, basic, or not meeting expectations. (Parenting note: This means, don't offer to reward your child for As and then be caught off guard when the report card rolls out!)
Standards Based reporting seems helpful. It provides teachers and parents with specific information. Instead of giving your child a B in Reading, you will now know that your child is proficient at knowing letter names but might not be meeting expectations in reading sight words. At the same time, however, the terminology used in some of the report cards could catch even the best parents off guard at their next parent teacher conference.
In the next few weeks, I'm going to do a series called, "Decoding Report Card Talk." I will list for you some of the terms that you may encounter on your child's report card, give you questions for the teacher to guide you toward understanding the problem areas, and help you search for a solution if your child is having difficulties. 
Here are some of the topics I'll be tackling. I pulled each of these standards off report cards that I viewed from local schools.
  • Demonstrates understanding of Concepts of Print.
  • Recognizes lowercase/uppercase letters
  • Can recognize sight words as presented
  • Reads first grade text fluently
  • Applies Decoding Skills
  • Knows beginning, middle, and end consonants, Blends consonant sounds, knows short vowels, knows long vowels
Hopefully we'll be able to share information that will help prepare parents for their next parent conference. As the first grading period report cards roll out, what does your child's report card look like? What do you find helpful? What do you not like?


  1. ugh, I'm not looking forward to having to deal with this with my son next year. good luck with the translation

  2. I think I like the old ways better. Even the hand written part!