Higher Grade Learning Centre

Report Card Guide

Report cards are helpful, simple tools created to summarize a student’s progress and performance at school. However, sometimes report cards can be a little bit confusing. Therefore, this guide hopes to create a little more understanding about report cards. In doing so, we hope parents can better understand how their child is doing at school.

For example: If a child comes home from school with a report card that indicates they are “meeting expectations” in a particular subject, typically those parents expect the letter grade to be at least a “B”. However, if a “C” is recorded, some parents may be left confused.  According to the Ministry of Education, the letter grade “C” actually is defined as “satisfactory performance in relation to learning outcomes”

How is this possible you may think? Well, the first step in reducing confusion is knowing the definition of Prescribed Learning Outcomes.

Prescribed Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Each student is evaluated based on the criteria of the B.C. Curriculum as set out by the Ministry of Education called “Prescribed Learning Outcomes” (PLOs) for each grade. These PLOs outline the ministry achievement expectations for each grade level in every subject.

A report card has room to list only those PLOs, which the teacher deems most important. To see the full version of PLOs visit http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/irp/plo.php

Once you grasp the PLO’s, grading is important to understand. The Ministry of Education has determined that students from kindergarten to grade 3 receive teacher comments, students from grade 4 to grade 9 receive letter grades and students in grades 10, 11 and 12 must receive percentage marks. The ministry also determines what each letter grade represents.

Another bit to understand is the responsibility of teachers. Here is a basic framework about teachers in accordance to report cards.

  • Follow provincial legislation and policy for reporting on student progress
  • Provide parents with complete, easily understood and accurate evaluations of their  children’s performance based on the provincial curriculum
  • Provide written reports to parents of students with special needs  that follow the legislation, guidelines and procedures established in the policy related to students with special needs
  • Indicate, in relation to the expected learning outcomes as set out  in the curriculum, what each student is able to do, areas in which the student requires further attention or development, and ways of supporting the student in his or her learning
  • Provide a description of each student’s behaviour, including  information on attitudes, work habits, effort and social responsibility
  • Indicate, where appropriate, how parents and students can  support classroom learning
  • Follow the guidelines when assigning an “I”[1]

These elements should clear up a lot of the confusion. Due to the space limitations on report cards, parents may want to request a parent-teacher conference as a valuable additional tool for parents to grasp their child’s progress in school as reflected on their report card. The meeting allows parents to ask specific questions of their child’s teacher, not just about marks, but also about other aspects of the student’s experience and performance at school. Check out the article about Effective Parent-Teacher Conferences.

[1] The meaning of “I” – One letter grade that causes confusion is an “I”. In the B.C. school system, an “I” stands for “incomplete” and it is a warning that the student is in danger of failing. An “I” informs parents that their child is not meeting minimally acceptable standards. Students can receive an “I” for many reasons, including missing a lot of school, not studying or not completing homework. If performance improves, the “I” can be changed to a higher mark, but if performance does not improve, the “I” can also be changed to an “F” or a failing grade.
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