Whilst tutoring in my local area, a frequent question I always get is; “Are school reports really that accurate”? Usually, when the reports come out some students are reluctant to show their parents in fear of what may be disclosed inside. Often what you find is the teachers copy and paste 90% of what they write for every student, no matter what they are like in class. That final 10% is where the truth really lies.
A Teachers Perspective
From a teachers point of view, it is understandable as to why a lot of it is copied and pasted; however, this does raise a number of questions. “Is this a clear representation of what my child is like”?
This can often lead to arguments between parents and children because their ‘working grades’ aren’t what the parents expected or a slightly negative comment means they are going to fail. More care and attention is needed to help improve the accuracy of these reports.
What is Working Grade?
The philosophy behind the working grade is something yet to be determined as to who actually came up with it. In all my years of tutoring, the working grade has caused nothing but doubt inability, lack of self-belief, which discourages students in thinking they aren’t good enough to pass.
As with every report a ‘working grade’ is a teacher futile attempt at saying “this is what your child would expect to achieve in an exam”. It is often downplayed. I have tutored many students working towards and achieving A’s; they’re working grade was set at a C! Come on, really?
The term ‘waffle’ was used by a headteacher in an interview a few years ago to describe school reports. By writing what seems to be a tailored report to your child is simply a generic transcript which comprises of 80% copy and paste and 20% specific to each student.
It bears little accuracy to the majority of students that receive them. This in mind sparked debate with principle teachers around the UK.
The Modern Report Card
Gone are the days of those long and god awful report ‘booklets’ which posed nothing but extra stress on teachers. They have been replaced with a shorter, quicker, and to the point report. None-the-less they still contain similar fiction to their predecessors.
What’s the Verdict?
We aren’t saying that school reports are all bad, as they do offer a little insight into how their child is getting on; and it is a way for parents to connect with the teachers from time to time. However, they should be taken with a pinch of salt!
It’s important for the parents to take the time to talk to their children about the report to fully understand their thoughts on the subject and to work out for themselves if there are any obvious issues which relate to the report.
For any help and advice on your child’s report card please contact us today, and we will happily answer any queries you may have. Finding a tutor can also help clear things up on a more personal level. Browse our tutors.