Report Cards from Around the World: Bangkok, Thailand

January 30, 2010

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

~ Here we come! ~

~ 9th Stop ~ Thailand ~

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Thailand is a popular tourist destination as well as a popular expat post. As a newly industrialized country, Thailand has a lot to offer in terms of modern commodities, as well as a rich history and culture. Thailand has a developed educational system and a high level of literacy. Education is compulsory until Grade 9 and free to Grade 12.

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Report Card Basics

  • Type of School: British Standard International School
  • Academic Year: 1994-1995
  • Year: 4

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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.

1. Reading, Written Language, Maths… and Thai!

This school incorporates the local language as a mandatory subject. Courses include reading, written language, maths, topic (though the actual topic isn’t written), P.E. (physical education), art, music, computer and Thai.

2. Good job Son, I think you got a, um… a 1 in Thai Class

The box at the top of the report card says “Marking Symbols Reflect Achievement Only.” Using this statement, paired with the smaller-than-small “marking symbols” (numerical grades – 1 stands for excellent, 2 for good, 3 for satisfactory, etc.), parents can safely assume the comments hold more weight than the number grades.

3. Comments, comments and more comments

This report card has plenty of room reserved from comments from the teachers, allowing the parents to get a good sense of their child as a student.

4. Grade for Courses… and Study Skills

Along with grades for the courses, students receive grades and comments for the Work and Study Skills they should be picking up. Skills include “works independently,” “works well with others,” “participates in class,” “follows directions and rules” and “attitude.”

See Report Card from: Ontario, Canada; 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: 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


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!


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.

australia-bush-fire1

~ Unpack Your Bag… ~

~2nd Excursion ~ Sydney~

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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!


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 ~

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

English

  • reading
  • writing
  • talking and listening

Mathematics

  • 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.

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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!

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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.

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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

90-100

A+

80-89

A

70-79

B

60-69

C

50-59

D

40-49

E

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.