Jun 07 2010
I’ll admit I have enormous problems when I write report comments. I am such a perfectionist that I can easily sit there rewording one students comment for over an hour. Most teachers I know average a report comment every ten minutes – I usually average half an hour per comment.\
The biggest issue that I have is that I want my report to be useful to the parents. I want them to be able to read it and have an immediate understanding of where their child is at, what they are able to do, and what they need to work on. However, I also have to balance this with the style that the school and the Department expect, and these things do not always meet up. For instance, many parents have expressed an interest in their child’s behaviour at school, and this is something that we have a limited ability to comment on in a report card. The standard now is to comment on academic achievement, not behaviour.
However, there is a vast difference in commenting styles even within the school. My report comments read very differently to other teachers. My comments tend to be structured somewhat like the following:
[Your child] has demonstrated a sound understanding of the concepts studied in English this semester. She composed and presented an effective oral presentation which reflected her sound understanding of poetry and her ability to deconstruct texts and identify textual features. [Your Child] has shown enthusiasm in all aspects of English, and contributes willingly to class discussion and assists her peers. [Your Child] could consolidate her skills in this course by reading at home and revising before examinations.
I have seen other teachers’ report comments, which tend to be more like this:
[Your Child] has achieved pleasing results this semester. He attempts all set tasks in class, and made a good effort on [Assessment A]. However, he did not make a substantial effort at [Assessment B], which was disappointing. [Your Child] could benefit from attending the after school study program.
There’s quite a bit of difference between the two comments. Mine are unfortunately rather heavy with teacher speak, but I find it difficult to explain exactly what children are able to do without using it. We also aren’t meant to make value judgements like ‘pleasing’, but I know many teachers do so anyway, and I think many parents expect it.
What would you expect to see on your child’s report card? What sorts of things would you want to see and know about, and how would you like to see it written?