“Report Cards Are Bullshit” Thursday January 12, 2017

ch920127Report cards get sent home tomorrow. I just want to publicly admit that I didn’t know what I was doing when I was filling them out. There are “emotional and developmental” goals for my second graders that don’t make any sense and are really difficult to quantify. Especially since my options were an “I” or an “M,” which I’m guessing means “needs improvement” or “mastered.”

There was one goal which was something like, “Child recognizes positive qualities in others.” What the fuck does that even mean? And how the hell am I supposed to teach that? Let alone, grade it.

And then for each “I” I give, the computer prompts to be provide a written description to let the parents know why a certain goal isn’t mastered. For some of these goals it’s laughable what I should have written.

“Student doesn’t attend to classwork properly because he’s too busy being fucking lazy.”

“Student doesn’t stay on task consistently because she’s distracted by, well, everything.”

“Student doesn’t work well with others in group settings because he’s an asshole and smells like sour milk.”

Maybe I’m being too harsh, but seriously report cards are stupid. We don’t give percentages for academics at my school. Not that it would even be accurate considering the way we grade tests to begin with is bullshit.

No, we give a subjective score of 1–4 for each subject manner. And we’re not allowed to give a child a “1” because that would be failing and children don’t fail. If a child is failing, the failure is our fault. (cough,) BULLSHIT! (cough)

And even those scores from 1–4 don’t make any sense anyway. We were trained to show “progress” through our grading. Consider that a “2” would be operating below grade level, “3” is at grade level, and “4” is beyond grade level. Which doesn’t make sense if the teacher last year did her job. Think about it. I scored just about all of my children first quarter with “2’s” (progressing towards grade level). Which I justified by saying to parents at conferences, “The first quarter we’re really reviewing stuff from first grade, so most of the children are progressing towards grade level.” Then the next quarter half of the 2’s become 3’s, the third quarter they’re all 3’s, and by the 4th quarter they’re prepared for third grade so those grades become 4’s.

But… if the teacher last year ended with 4’s, then the next year they should all be “at grade level.”

See? Bullshit. I have a handful of kids that can already multiply and I have a handful of kids that probably can’t name each letter of the alphabet. If was to honestly grade my kids on that scale, more than half would receive “1’s” because they incapable of completing 2nd grade work. And you know what? Each year is just going to get more difficult for them. But we can’t fail them for some reason.

So if you’re a parent and you’re reading your child’s report card really think about whether or not your child is actually making progress. Although if you’re a parent with a stupid kid, you probably aren’t spending your time reading.

ch920128

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