Report Cards from Around the World: Ontario, Canada

December 12, 2009

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

~ Report Cards, Eh? ~

~ 8 th Stop ~ Ontario ~

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The most populated province in Canada, Ontario has a multicultural background with relatively high immigration rates. The largest minority groups in Toronto include South Asians, Chinese, African Canadians, Latin Americans and Aboriginal peoples. Unlike most other national public systems, Ontario has four publicly funded school systems: English-language schools, French-language schools, English-language separate schools (“separate” refers to the inclusion of religious studies), and French-language separate schools. The Canadian educational system has a great reputation all over the world.

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Report Card Basics

  • Type of School: English-language local public school
  • Academic Year: Current model
  • Class: Primary School (Years 1-6)

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. A Standard Format for Report Cards

Students in Ontario public (secular) schools receive the same report cards, which are available on a government website. The system creates a standard which makes transferring schools easier, but also some rigidity. On the other hand, the report card includes lots of space for teacher comments and individualized assessment.

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2. Promotion Status

This is a first for us! This section tells the child and parents whether students are progressing well towards promotion. Each child receives one of the following: progressing well towards promotion, progressing with some difficulty towards promotion or promotion at risk.

3. Expectations… What does an A- means anyways!

This report card clearly explains the meaning of each letter grade… An A isn’t just better than a B; a B suggests the child has required knowledge and meets provincial standards, while an A represents knowledge and skills that exceed provincial standards.

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4. English, Second Language and Mathematics…

A half page (of two pages total) is dedicated to English, the second language (French or the native language) and mathematics. This illustrates the importance of the three fundamental subjects. Each subject is broken down into a few components (for instance, English is composed of reading, writing and oral and visual communication). Notice that half the grading space is dedicated comments from teachers. This shows some flexibility in a relatively rigid reporting system.

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5. Learning Skills

Besides, class and subject grades, students receive grades on skills they should be learning throughout the curriculum: independent work, initiative, homework completion, use of information, cooperation with others, conflict resolution, class participation, problem solving and goal setting to improve work. This list reflects provincial values as well!

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6. Response Form

We haven’t seen this before! The Ontario report card has a whole page dedicated to responses from parents and students (I condensed the page for ease of viewing). Parents and students can write about student achievement, goals and support. This page can be an excellent venue to communicate with the teachers.

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See Report Card from: Mexico City, Mexico;    Zomba, Malawi; Sydney, Australia, week 1;    Sydney, Australia, week 2;   Dalhousie, India; Kathmandu, Nepal;    Soro, Denmark

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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 ~

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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.

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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: Zomba, Malawi

November 6, 2009

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

Lake Malawi

~ Safari Time! ~

~ 5th Stop ~ Malawi ~

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A landlocked country in southeast Africa, the Republic of Malawi is home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Lake Malawi National Park and Chongoni Rock Art Area. Another impressive geologic formation, the Great Rift Valley, runs through Malawi like a vein. Malawi gained independence from the British in 1964 (only 45 years ago), though examples of colonization remain, such as British standard schools. Unfortunately Malawi ranks as one of the least developed and most populated countries in the world. With a population of about 14 million, low life expectancy and high infant mortality, Malawi relies on foreign aid to develop.

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

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Malawi MapReport Card Basics

  • Type of School: International Primary School (British Standard)
  • Academic Year: 1996 – 1997
  • Year: 6

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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, part 1

1. Performance, Effort and Teacher’s comments

This school has a relatively short report card (1 page, as opposed to the 11 page report card from Australia). Using space allocation as a measure of importance, teacher’s comments constitute the main aspect of the report, followed by performance and, equally as important, effort. Note the use of letter grades, as opposed to number or percentages that are popular in some other areas.

2. Enjoy, Good, Able… Positive reinforcement

The teachers use positive reinforcement in their comments, detailing the student’s capabilities, rather than areas for improvement (assuming the Bs indicate at least a little room for improvement).

report card, part 23. It’s a Matter of Effort!

For music, drama, design and physical education, this school only gives grades for effort (and not participation). This indicates a slightly different value system in regards to extra-curricular classes… This may help develop intrinsic motivation, but also indicates that these subjects are less important than the core academic curriculum.

report card, part 34. On a Personal Note…

At the end of the report, the teacher includes a personal note to the parents, and thanks them for “your kindness and support over the years.” This personal connection indicates the relatively small size of the school but also the closeness of the school community. (The music teacher also includes a “thank you note” in her comments!)

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See Report Card from: 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!