After a busy start of the school year, your child is well settled in and have already learned a lot in school. Soon enough mid-term report cards are due, so we at TeachRequest has written a timely blog post about what the progress report card entails, as well as tips on how to make the most out of the information to help your child grow.
If you have not already done so, please be sure to check out our first blog post, Introduction to Ontario School’s Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting, as part of our “report card” blog series. You will learn all about the policies behind Ontario’s education system and how your child is assessed and evaluated to their learning benefits.
Understanding the reported grades
The Elementary Progress Report Card is required by Ontario’s Growing Success policies. It serves as a standard mean to communicate to parents on how their child is progressing in developing learning skills and working towards curriculum expectations amid the first school term. The progress report card is generally issued between late October to late November each school year.
For illustration, you can find a template for the Elementary Progress Report Card here. There are two main sections to the progress report card:
- Learning skills and work habits
- Curriculum expectations
As explained in the introduction blog post of this blog series, developing learning skills and work habits is a continuous process that starts early in a child’s life. School policies emphasize the importance of these skills and characteristics in a child’s future success, and parents are informed of their child’s development in each report card. There are six learning skills and work habits which students are assessed and evaluated on:
- Independent Work
In the progress report card, your child’s teacher will provide a letter symbol representing your child’s development progress for each item:
|Consistently demonstrates said learning skill or work habit
|Usually demonstrates said learning skill or work habit
|Sometimes demonstrates said learning skill or work habit
|Needs Improvement (N)
|Rarely demonstrates said learning skill or work habit
As for curriculum expectations, students do not receive an actual letter grade or percentage mark for each subject in the progress report card, as it is only a checkpoint. Instead, a scaled rating is used as follows:
|Progress Very Well
|Meeting or exceeding the intended progress at this checkpoint
|Steadily working towards the intended progress at this checkpoint
|Progressing with Difficulty
|Have difficulty meeting the intended progress at this checkpoint
For students enrolled in the English as a Second Language (ESL) and English Literacy Development (ELD) programs, a “ESL/ELD” box associated with the subject will be checked, indicating the assessment is based on the modified curriculum. Similar reporting adjustment also applies to students who are subjected to a modified or alternative curriculum as required by an Individual Development Plan (IEP).
Parents should recognize this scaled rating only as an indication of the student’s learning progress two months into the school year. Each student may have varying learning pace and there are still opportunities to meet the curriculum expectations at the end. So, receiving a “modest” “progressing well” rating does NOT at all mean that the student is not achieving. Instead, parents should pay more attention to the comments which provide more insights to their child’s learning progress and how they can work towards meeting or exceeding curriculum expectations by the end of the school term and year.
Comments tell all
Teachers and principals put considerable amount of time and effort into writing and reviewing comments in the progress report card for each student. Through these comments, parents can get an objective view on how well their child is progressing in school, and what they can improve upon to achieve greater success. Each comment generally follows a three-part structure:
- Key Learning – the idea or concept that the student has learned
- Examples – specific examples on how the student demonstrates mastery of the learning
- Next steps – what the student should work on to improve, to meet, or exceed expectations
The language used in comments is designed to be easily understandable by parents and students, and comments are written in a concise, constructive, and personalized manner. The following is an example comment for an imaginary grade 1 student Bobby with the three key parts highlighted:
“In Mathematics, Bobby demonstrates knowledge of counting up to 100 and backwards from 20. Also, he is able to skip count by 2s, 5s, and 10s through whole class songs, read aloud books and activities. He is encouraged to practice skip counting through games such as UNO.“
Parents should thoroughly read the comments to understand where their child’s strengths lie, and how they can support their child in achieving higher from the checkpoint.
Making the most out of the report and parent-teacher interview
After the progress report cards are handed out to parents, there will be a parent-teacher interview close to the following Professional Activity (PA) Day to discuss the preliminary results. The interview generally lasts between 15 to 30 minutes, so it is of parents’ best interest to prepare beforehand for a productive meeting. Here are some tips on how you can make the most out of the interview:
- Review the course outlines and curriculum so you have an idea of what is being taught in school.
- Spend time reading and understanding the progress report card, especially the comments, and identify ways to implement any action items.
- Prepare a list of questions for your child’s teacher that furthers your understanding of your child’s learning progress.
It is important to recognize your role as a partner in your child’s education, working with your child’s teacher to support your child in learning. Parents can focus on learning outside of school, and there are many things you can do. Here are some ideas:
- Spend more time with your child to understand their strengths and interests, and keep them positively engaged at home.
- Assign housework to your child to help them build a sense of responsibility and discipline.
- Enrol your child in extracurricular activities such as sports that cultivate their interest, learning skills, and work habits.
- Identify and try other learning strategies that meet your child’s learning needs.
TeachRequest’s private one-to-one tutoring is a great option to address many of these needs. Our tutors are all Ontario Certified Teachers with the experience and knowledge to identify your child’s specific needs and work on the next steps identified by your child’s teacher.
If there are topics that you would like us to cover, please drop us a message! Thanks for reading and be sure to check the TeachRequest Blog regularly for updates.