Report Cards from Around the World: Staffordshire, England

November 20, 2009

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

~ A Spot of Tea ~

~ 6th Stop ~ England ~


You may be familiar with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, but do you know where they were originally bred? Staffordshire, a county in the West Midlands region of England, has a little over a million residents living in 2 cities and about 6 towns. Known for its porcelain and cathedrals (and a rock formation called The Roaches), Staffordshire has its fair share of tourists. In terms of education, the county has a handful of independent schools and two major universities Keele University and Staffordshire University.


Report Card Basics

  • Type of School: Independent Local School
  • Academic Year: 1999 – 2000
  • Class: 3rd Year (8th year of education)

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. 14 Years Old in… Year 3

The top of this report card reads. “Third Year Progress Card,” which would indicate elementary school to an American. However, in England, the Year 3 can mean the third year of secondary school, which is 8th Grade in the U.S.

2. A Letters & Numbers Report Card

Unlike some 7 to 11 page report cards we’ve seen so far, this report card consists of just 1 page of (mostly) letters and numbers. While the card contains much less comment space than the Australian report cards, the grading system is much more flexible than India’s card of exam scores. The focus of this report is student’s measurable performance and effort.

3. A is for Excellent!

Unlike the U.S., the British system does not have a grade point average (GPA) system, which correlates to the letter grade. The letter system in this report card seems more flexible (and some would argue more subjective) than a number based on 100, for instance an 88 percent (which is a B+ in the U.S.). Not that American students have anything to complain about; British students will sit for Board Exams, which can be very competitive and strictly scored. Note that the effort grade—based on a 5-point system—receives as much space and importance as the performance grade.

4. I’m Giving You an A… I mean a B… How about an A/B?

Another example of the flexibility of this reporting system is the use of an A/B. In many American schools (especially where the grading system is computerized, and every box needs to be filled.

5. Classes ~ E, H, G, F, RE… Take A Guess!

On this report card, the course names are abbreviated to a letter or two… so the students better know what classes they are taking, so they can tell their parents. Here’s my best guess as to what all the abbreviations stand for:

E – English

H – History

G – Geography

F Foreign Language

RE – Religious Education

M – Math

P­ – Physics

C – Chemistry

B – Biology

We’ll see how close I got… UPDATE ~ All the classes are correct!

See Report Card from: 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, Mexico and more!


Report Cards from Around the World: Sorø, Denmark

October 16, 2009

Denmark Map

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

~ Pack Your Coats! ~

~ Third Stop ~ Sorø ~




Sorø, a small town of 7,708, rests on the island of Zealand in the Kingdom of Denmark. Home to Sorø Akademis Skole (Sorø Academy), the second oldest school in Denmark, Sorø is also a popular residential area for those who work in Copenhagen, the capital city.

The Danish government values education, providing compulsory education free of charge, which results in a 99% education rate for both men and women. About 82 % continue formal education after Flolkeskole (public school), often at one of the public universities.


Denmark Flag

Final Report Card Basics

  • Type of School: Local, Danish school
  • Academic Years: 2002 – 2005
  • Class: 1st to 3rd grade* (equivalent to 11th to 13th grade)

* In Denmark, high school consists of three years, called 1st, 2nd and 3rd, though this is not to be confused with elementary school.


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.

Hint ~ If you are having trouble viewing the report card, try the Zoom function under your browser’s View tab.

Report Card, Soro, Page 1

1. Matematisk Anyone?

Secondary students attend Gymnasium after 10th grade (no, not the kind of gym you exercise in, but a secondary school, comparable to English grammar schools or U.S. college-prep high schools). Pupils must choose a studieretning or a “line of study,” which usually includes mathmatical or linguistic streams.

2. Obligatoriske fag ~ Compulsory Courses

Like most students around the world, Danish students must take their local language (Danish), math and science, but they have some unique required courses as well, including geography, religion and classical studies (which focuses on the Greek and Roman civilizations).

3. Niveau ~ A, B and C Levels

This may look like the student’s grades, but in fact they are levels. Students may take classes at A, B or C levels (A being the highest). This student explains that many of the C-level courses were mandatory and taken within the first year. Does anyone know of another system that offers 3 levels? (Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate offer 2 levels…)

4. Oh dear! I got a -3 in Geography!

This report card shows an older version of the Danish grading system, the current grading scale is based on 12 points, although negative points are possible too. Here’s a chart of the “Marking Scale.”

-3 For an unacceptable performance.
00 For an inadequate performance.
02 For an adequate performance.
4 For a fair performance.
7 For a good performance.
10 For a very good performance.
12 For an excellent performanc

5. Eksamens-karakter ~ Exam grade

This report card shows both the class grade, as well as an exam grade, however students do not take an exam for every course. At the end of the year, students choose three or four courses in  which to complete an exam. Compare this to India’s education system, which is primarily based on tests!

6. Gymnasium 335088

Danish schools receive an institution number, which helps the national education system run smoothly in terms of file sharing and data base maintenance. This demonstrates unity of the public school system, largely a centralized, federal institution.

Report Card, Soro, page 2

7. Specialized Study

Students choose a specialized study program of three courses, usually of 2 high level (A-level) and one medium level (B-C level) courses. Of course, the gifted student may choose to take three high level courses. This student choose matematik (math), samfundsfag (social studies) and Film and TV.

8. What did you study in TV class today?

Students may also choose shorter elective courses in the last year, including: psychology, geography, astronomy, Greek and more. This student chose TV and Film. Here’s her explanation of the class, and film in Denmark.

“I was really interested in Film and TV and it’s a strong growing business, not only in Hollywood. In fact, Denmark is the one country in Europe that releases the most movies a year and we are really good at making low-budget movies.

In class, we would watch movies, analyze and critique them. We would talk about different genres, lighting, camera work, etc., and then make our own little films. We would write scripts, draw story boards, act, direct, shoot and edit. And then, in complete agony, show them to the whole school at morning assembly!!!

It’s just one of those courses that are made to help kids figure out what they want to do. I found it super interesting and now it’s what I want to do. There are some who found out it wasn’t something for them, and are doing completely different things today.”

See Report Card from: Kathmandu, Nepal; Dalhousie, India

Report card analysis to look forward to: 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.