Understanding High School Report Cards

Many things are different in schools today but one dynamic that has not altered is the assigning of high school report cards to students. Grades can be used for a variety of means, they help to show parents how well their sons and daughters have performed and can be used to ensure students are allocated to the right programs. Also it is a great way to illicit better results from individual students that are found to be underachieving. High school report cards also play an important role when it comes to gaining admission in a college.

The largest majority of schools still use the traditional system of grading. This involves awarding alphanumeric grades, typically from A – F, or expressed as a percentage. Most teachers have complete autonomy when it comes to judging student performance and issuing grades. Only a few high schools have strict guidelines relating to filling out information on report cards.

Though parents are often under the impression that the grades that are given to their teenage sons and daughters focus primarily on achievement, the fact is that many teachers also consider a variety of other factors. These considerations can include student effort, participation, progress, attitude, and behaviour.

A report card has a greater importance than just highlighting academic prowess, it is seen as a way of ensuring correct feedback is given to students and their families. At the end of the day each parent will have a different understanding as to which grading elements are important.

Given the fact that most teachers have free reign when developing their own grading polices and the fact that there can be considerable differences in the curriculum given in different districts and states, it can be difficult to compare the information on report cards. Research for the US Department of Education found that in a study that compared the grades of students in high poverty schools and affluent schools there were major differences in the standards required to achieve the highest grading.

To be given a better indication of the actual level of academic achievement it can be better to focus on the results from end of course examinations. These usually follow a set format within a particular state and are marked by examiners who are not known to the individual students. Many states now include end of course exams as an intrinsic component of their assessment system.

A lot of schools are now choosing to experiment with report cards that illustrate student progress towards acquiring specific standards. This involves identifying the level of knowledge that a student is expected to master at a particular level and then presenting a curriculum and testing that matches.

High school report cards that feature teacher comments and phrases relating to a level a student has reached can be more desirable that simply using the old fashioned A-F marking system. The issue with this new type of marking is that it can be difficult for a college to evaluate whether or not a particular student meets their eligibility requirements in full.

Additional information at:  https://p1pe.doe.virginia.gov/reportcard/