Report Cards from Around the World: Sydney, Australia

October 23, 2009

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

~ Hold on to your hats! ~

~ Fourth Stop ~ Sydney ~


australiaSydney, 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.


Student Report Basics

  • Type of School: Local, Catholic school
  • Academic Year: 2002 (Did you know? Australian schools run January to December)
  • Grade: 2

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, introduction

1. Descriptions, Definitions and Instructions

Unlike any other report card we have seen so far, this evaluation is 11 pages long (for instance, the report cards from Dalhousie and Kathmandu are two pages and consist primarily of numbers, rather than words). While many other educational systems attempt to summarize a year’s worth of work into a page or two, this report card include descriptions of the child’s performance, definitions of expected “outcomes” and provides the parents with instructions for interpreting the report card. (Note that this is the first Elementary School report card we have analyzed). Parents, grab a cup of coffee and find a comfy seat, this might take a while!

2. Key Learning Areas determined by the New South Wales Board of Studies

Australians base the educational system and curriculum on Key Learning Areas, which consist of English; mathematics; science and technology; the arts; health and physical education; and study of human society and its environment, which includes languages other than English. The Key Learning Areas and “outcomes and guidelines for indicators” demonstrate the government’s involvement in upholding a certain standard of education.

3. Children are Different

“Children can have different learning needs and may be working towards outcomes at an earlier or later stage.” Translation ~ parents, don’t worry if you’re child is ahead in some areas and behind in others!


2, scales

4. Progress on a Scale!

These scales show this student’s progress for the areas of English and Mathematics. This student has reached the targeted outcomes for Grade 2 (which is the second year of Stage 1), and is ready to begin Grade 3. This visual representation of progress is a relatively unique aspect to report cards!


3, writing

5. English and Mathematics… whole numbers, volume, time, chance…

About 5 pages are dedicated to English and Mathematics and each area is broken down to the subsections listed below.


  • reading
  • writing
  • talking and listening


  • working mathematically,whole numbers, fractions and decimals
  • addition and subtraction, multiplication and division
  • chance, data
  • patterns and algebra
  • length, area, volume capacity, mass
  • position, three dimensional space, time, two-dimensional space

6. Your child is Competent… Developing… Needs Support…

Each area listed above includes a list of “indicators.” The teacher then marks the child’s achievement for each indicator as competent, developing or needs support. Note that these categories are stated in the positive form of the meaning (rather than, “is behind the rest of the class”). For instance, in writing, this child:

  • Is competent to: write a simple statement or short text for different purposes,
  • Is developing to: usually use full stops at the end of sentences,
  • Needs support to: use correct pencil grip and maintain correct body position.

Consider how this differs from JUST a letter or number grade for mathematics in general; in comparison to all the information provided, the letter or number illustrates only the child’s standing in relation to the other students in the class. This process explains the child’s progress in relation to each task.


4, Social Development

7. Social Development… at a 2nd grade level

Besides English and mathematics, students receive an assessment for Religious Education, Science and Technology, Human Society and Its Environment, Creative Arts (Music, Visual Arts, Drama) and Health and Physical Education. Teachers also assess Social Development and Work Habits. Looks like this student is “developing well” in some areas and is “highly developed” in others. Well done!


5, General Comments

8. General Comments

This section allows the teacher to comment on the child’s social and academic development, noting areas that may need attention.


See Report Card from Dalhousie, India; Kathmandu, Nepal; Soro, Denmark

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


Report Cards from Around the World: Dalhousie, India

October 2, 2009

Dalhousie, snowcapped peaks

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

~All Aboard !~

~First Stop ~ Dalhousie~

The British Empire founded Dalhousie (named after a British official) as a hill station in the 1850’s. Nested the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, Dalhousie remains a popular tourist destination with incredible views of the Himalayas. Though a small city, with a population of about 7,500 people, residents are relatively well educated

Dalhousie, India

Report Card Basics

  • Type of School: Local, Catholic, English-standard school
  • Academic Year: 2000
  • Class: X (10)

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

Report Card from Dalhousie, Page 11. G.K. ~ A Course Called General KnowledgeGeneral Knowledge Textbook

Students take a class called “General Knowledge,” from text books like the one at the right (which is available online). This course focuses on countries and capital cities, language, literature, plants, animals, sports, entertainment, science and the arts. Do you know the capital of Yemen? (answer below)

2. Numbers Everywhere!

While some report cards feature the teacher’s notes on a student’s progress in class, this report card focuses on numbers. This correlates to the test-based culture of the Indian educational system; tests can easily be converted to numbers.

3. Here are your marks… here are the highest marks in the class

The Indian educational system tends to be competitive (possibly an understatement), and teachers consider the highest marks* as the standard of achievement. Compare this to the American educational system where students may compare their grades to the average.
* Indians refer to “grades” as “marks.”

4. 78’s… A C-average Student? Nope!

This student achieved high 70’s in the three terms. That’s not great in the United States, but it’s fantastic in India. This student ranked 5th in her class! The pupil should be proud of her achievements.

Report Card from Dalhousie, page 2

5. Academics
This section of the report card gives the letter grade equivalent of the percentage grade. While a 78 would be a “C+” in the United States, it constitutes a “B” in India.

Here’s a chart to interpret the grades













6. Self-Confidence and Personal Hygiene
When is the last time your teacher rated your self-confidence… or your personal hygiene? This section of the report card deals with soft skills and the rating system is more flexible as well (letter grading, rather than the numbers that were so prevalent on the first page). When teased about her less-than-perfect hygiene scores, this student responded that the score included… handwriting! Obviously “Hygiene” has a different meaning in the Indian educational system than it does in the U.S., and includes personal presentation both in person and in work.

7. Very Good and Congratulations
“Very good and congratulations” are the only comments from the teacher (though this may be different for a trouble student). This differs greatly from report cards that concentrate on comments rather than grades (examples to come!)

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

* The capital of Yemen is Sana’a.