Mum Daily

What your child’s report card doesn’t tell you

End of semester reports and grades are starting to trickle through. Please, let’s all celebrate the effort our kids have put in and the kind of people they are, more than the letter of the alphabet in the results column.


Have you ever been to a funeral where the eulogy included the person’s Year 8, Semester 1, SOSE result? Me either.


Can you remember who got a High Distinction in the ICAS science exam when you were in Yr 10? Nope, no idea.


Celebrate integrity. Celebrate perseverance. Celebrate kindness. Celebrate hard work. Celebrate progress. Celebrate enthusiasm. Celebrate genuine learning, that will be remembered and applied well into the future.


I spent a large part of my schooling, using my very good memory, cramming for exams at the end of each term. For the most part, I was a very high achiever – ON PAPER. In reality, I was an “A” grade crammer.  The info I shoved into my memory bank at the last minute gave me a report card and academic awards that many parents would’ve thought spectacular. But, was that info retained? Not for very long generally. Was it applied and did it enrich my life long term? For the most part, no.


An A grade CAN reflect a lot of hard work and CAN show absorption of information that will stay with a person and be useful in their future years. We should honour and celebrate that if it’s the case.


But, depending on a child’s academic ability and learning challenges, a D grade can also reflect a lot of hard work and can show absorption of information that will stay with a person and be useful in their future years. We should honour and celebrate that too.


It’s not all about the grade. It’s about whether genuine learning has taken place. And “genuine learning” is hard to assess. Our kids might be like icebergs learning-wise. On the surface, the report card mightn’t indicate much is happening learning-wise. The grades might seem “average” or below par. But, underneath the surface, there could be a depth and breadth of personal development and understanding that school assessments can’t necessarily measure.


When we look at our kids’ reports, rather than asking things like, “Why did you only get a C for English?” or “You got As for everything except that B+ in maths. What went wrong there?”, maybe we should be saying, “Tell me what you learnt in English this term,” or “What was your favourite thing to learn in SOSE this semester?” or “How do you feel things went with your friendships this year?”


I want more for my girls than A+ report cards – especially my older two who are very academically capable by mainstream schooling standards. I pray that, first and foremost, they are great people who reflect the kindness and love of Jesus. Second, I want them to understand that life (including their physical school) is their classroom and we learn so many things every day that don’t get, and don’t need, a grade on a report card to be considered important or useful. Third, I want them to develop and always have a love of learning.


Our kids are more than a NAPLAN band or a report card grade or an OP. Let’s celebrate their efforts in school but, most of all, let’s celebrate WHO they are.