Report Cards from Around the World: Mexico City, Mexico

December 4, 2009

For the next several weeks, we’ll look at report cards from around the world.

~ Habla Español! ~

~ 7th Stop ~ Mexico ~


Mexico, with 111 million people, is the 11th most populous country. While Mexico can be seen as a powerful country, with the largest GDP per capita in Latin America, issues with income disparity and drug violence continue to plague the country. With a rich and ancient history, Mexico remains a popular tourist destination (for more than the sun and lovely beaches!).

Note ~ This is an international and NOT a local school as some other countries.


Report Card Basics

  • Type of School: British International School
  • Curriculum: International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP)
  • Academic Year: 2008-2009
  • Year: 3


Here’s the report card! The blue numbers highlight a few interesting aspects of the report and the numbers correspond to notes below the image.

1. The Five Parts of English

A large portion of the report card is dedicated to assessing English, illustrating the importance of the language at this school (English, rather than Spanish), as well as language acquisition. The assessment has been broken down into five core parts: speaking, listening, reading, writing and handwriting.

2. Look, Hear! ~ Units of Inquiry

Rather than set subjects or courses, this curriculum includes Units of Inquiry, which allow flexibility in teaching and learning. This differs greatly from educational systems that have concrete course expectations and teach to a national, standardized test. The Units of Inquiry this semester are “Look, Hear!” and “Exploration and Encounter.” Sounds fun to me!

3. A Big Old for Effort!

How age appropriate! Rather than assign a number or letter assessment of effort, this report card uses smiley faces, which can be understood regardless of age or culture. Colon, Capital D for a great practice!

4. A Descriptive Grading Scale

This report card has a slightly different grading scale than other assessments we’ve seen: good, very good and excellent, as well as reaching expectations. Reaching expectations seems to be given when a mark of “good” might be subjective, for instance, what is “good” use of information technology or  “excellent” in music at 9 years old?

5. Spanish and Social Studies… Get Numbers Grades

Though I’m not sure why (and I’ve scoured the internet!) Spanish and Social Studies get numbers instead of “descriptive” grades. Hm… I’m stumped. Any suggestions?


See Report Cards from:    Staffordshire, England;    Zomba, Malawi; Sydney, Australia, week 1;     Sydney, Australia, week 2;    Dalhousie, India; Kathmandu, Nepal;     Soro, Denmark

Report card analysis to look forward to: Palestine, Canada and more!


Report Cards from Around the World: Sydney, Australia, 2nd week

October 30, 2009

For the next several weeks, we’ll look at report cards from around the world.


~ Unpack Your Bag… ~

~2nd Excursion ~ Sydney~


Sydney, the largest Australian city and state capital of New South Wales, has a population of about 4.3 million. Known for landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the multicultural city attracts tourists from all over the world. Sydney also boasts a well-established educational system, including public, denominational and independent schools as well as several universities. An Australian degree is recognized and well-regarded around the world.

political-mapReport Card Basics

  • Type of School: Independent, Presbyterian for boys (day and boarding)
  • Academic Year: 2002 (Did you know? Australian schools run January to December)
  • Class: 9

Here’s the report card! The blue numbers highlight a few interesting aspects of the report and the numbers correspond to notes below the image.

report card, 1

1. One Class, Three Subjects: English, History and Geography

This school offers Integrated Studies, which combines English, History and Geography in order to develop “essential skills common to all subjects, such as research, note-taking and report writing.” New Zealand and Australia have been revolutionary in adapting this new style of teaching.

2pqvcR_2A British concept, the House System originally applied to boarding schools, where each house had a name, housemasters (adult caretakers) and house captain. Houses also function as teams for in-school competitions, such as sports days!

2. Words, Words and MORE Words

Where are the percentage grades? Where is the B + and A –? Much like the second grade report card we looked at, this school specifies specific outcomes, for instance, “Identifies, locates, selects and organizes information from a variety of sources.” This student can achieve this outcome on an advanced level. His ability to “demonstrate a sense of place and chronology within the context of 20th century Australia” is competent. Shown here are 4 of 13 outcomes for Integrated Studies… This is another LONG report card!

report card, 2

3. EXCELLENT Effort, Attitude and Homework

The teacher also assesses the student for soft skills, such as effort, attitude, as well as homework (completion and quality). The teacher may comment on the student as well, “I was particularly pleased with his recent class presentation.” Well done!

Report card, 34. PDHPE ~ Personal Development, Health and Physical Education

The Australian education system takes physical education seriously, linking physical activity to life skills, such as setting and achieving goals. While this student chance accomplish each outcome at an advanced level, the teacher comments on participation, “He could benefit from participating more in class”—note the positive phrasing of this critique.

report card, 45. A Modern Walkabout

The walkabout is an Australian Aboriginal tradition that functions as a rite of passage for boys, consisting of an extended stay in the bush. At this school, all Year 9 students participate in residential outdoor education program intended to “discover the tools they need to grow into fine young men.” Activities include climbing and abseiling, camping and canoeing.

2pqvcR_2The first two paragraphs describe the program. In the final paragraph, teachers assess the student’s effort, social rapport, teamwork and perseverance. I want this adventurer on my team!

report card, 56. I believe I have done quite well… I might have been able to do a little better if I had studied more, but not by much.

The Student Self Assessment is a relatively unique aspect of this report card. The student writes about academic success, the Outdoor Education Program, dorm life (I do not really like dorm life…), the fitness program (now I can run 10km), and learning to trust people.

The highlight of the year? “Probably our trip to Canberra, because I had never been there before, and we also got McDonald’s that night.


See Report Card from: Sydney, Australia, week 1; Dalhousie, India; Kathmandu, Nepal; Soro, Denmark

Report card analysis to look forward to: Palestine, Malawi, Canada, Mexico and more!