Ontario is axing the fall report card.
The change, which will make the province the only one in Canada to grade all elementary students just twice a year, is the latest evidence of a growing backlash against marking children early, often and on a rigid scale of letters or numbers.
Instead, educators across the country are seeking new ways to evaluate students: Three schools in Edmonton have replaced their fall report cards with “student-led” parent-teacher conferences; Saskatchewan is releasing an in-depth assessment of its student evaluations in February; and Ontario's decision to swap the first report card of the year for an informal progress report is part of a wider change to be unveiled formally next month.
“Report cards are quick and dirty,” said John Myers, a professor at the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. “But people give magic to numbers, just like they do to religion. What do I know when I get an A? I know that's better than the kid who got a B.”...What malarkey! As if the grade isn't accompanied by copious comments telling you exactly what and how your kid has been doing. And, anyway, any and all parents' questions can be answered either during parent-teacher interviews, or by contacting the teacher by e-mail. (At least, that's been my experience as the parent of a child in Grade Six. And by the way, my kid gets a number grade out of 100--and I like it like that.)
Call me cynical, but I think this has more to do with ideology (as has most of the crappy novelty that plagues elementary education).
Speaking of which, maybe more than a few of the "do your own thing" moppets leading those parent-teacher conferences can go on to have a rewarding career in Montessori dentistry.
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