It’s that time of year again when you receive your child’s school report. For some parents and carers, understanding what it means can be challenging. Some children will be happy and others may be disappointed.
Parents and carers need to interpret the information in the report so you can determine the strengths of your child, work out how their learning is progressing and what areas they’re having difficulty in. This may involve having a discussion with your child or a follow-up meeting with your child’s teacher.
It’s important to remember to be supportive, consider the personality of your child and focus on their progress.
Achievement standards: A-E grades
Primary and secondary schools (not including the senior years) in most Australian states use A-E grades to describe the learning progress of children.
So what do the letters A to E on your child’s report card actually represent?
The A-E grades may also be used to report on a child’s effort in a curriculum area. So a child may have a high grade for effort but a lower grade for achievement. If effort is basic (D) or low (E), this may be of concern.
Talking about the report
It’s important to ask your child: what do you think of the grade (for the subject)? Talking about this helps you open up a conversation about whether the report is close to what your child thinks they’ve achieved. If your child thinks they are not doing very well, focus on their achievements in one subject as well as pointing out their achievements outside of school. Focus on their progress.
If you are not familiar with what your child has been learning, find out what they have been doing in each subject. You can ask: what tasks have you been doing in class? Have you been finishing the tasks? What did you find easy? What was hard for you?
If their grade is based on a single test, it provides little information on what your child’s strengths are or their difficulties. With a range of tasks (completed in class and at home), the grade may be a better representation of your child’s achievement. So ask them: do you know how you got this grade? What assessments have you done in class? If they or you can’t answer these questions, you may both be unhappy because you don’t understand how the grades were calculated.