Article

Getting Ready for Report Cards

Joanne Myers

Report cards are an important way for teachers to communicate the strengths and needs of their students. Balancing the development of effective reporting strategies with ongoing responsibilities at home and at school can be challenging.

According to the Ministry of Education’s document Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools, the Elementary Provincial Report Card is issued twice a year. The first provincial report card should be sent home between January 20 and February 20 of the school year, and the second at the end of June. Exact dates are set by individual boards.

HOW TO STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Plan Ahead

  • Know your school reporting dates – both when report cards are due in the office and when they need to be sent home with students.
  • Use a calendar to plan out your observations of growth and completion of assessment and evaluation for the Elementary Provincial Report Cards.
  • Make sure your instructional delivery plans connect to reporting schedules and know what you need to report on for each period. Do not leave your observations or assessment practices to the last minute.
  • Ensure that you know your reporting technology needs. Check and up- date your student list if needed, know your password, and get familiar with the report card program.

Consider Your Comments

  • Think ahead about the types of comments that you will use on report cards.
  • Rely on your professional judgement to write comments outlining what students have learned, their strengths, and steps for improvement.
  • Use language that parents understand and try to avoid educational jargon.
  • Share comments with colleagues and collaborate when appropriate with other staff members, ie. special education.
  • Plan early and develop effective strategies with colleagues for completing comments in rotary situations.
  • Remember that comments are about quality, not quantity; don’t feel that you have to fill each comment box. While comments should be personalized, a meaningful comment may apply to several students.

Be Prepared for Unexpected Issues
Issues with technology are a reality. Know who to talk to and get the support you need.
Be prepared for student absences, aware of the six-week rule, and discuss it with your administration as required.
Be sure to sit with your special education staff and collaborate on comments for students with IEPs.
Pace yourself as you may not finish in one sitting.

Think Long Term
Don’t leave report card writing to the last minute. Ensure manageable stress by giving yourself plenty of time.
Structure your time at school effectively during reporting periods.
Take care of yourself and if issues arise seek help from your administration, your colleagues, and your ETFO school steward or local president.