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: 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: Kathmandu, Nepal

October 9, 2009


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

~Fasten Your Seat Belts~

~Second Stop ~ Kathmandu~



himalayan_peaks_nepal_photo[1]Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, which is home of the mighty Mount Everest. Though troubled by unrest in the last few years, Kathmandu remains a popular tourist destination, especially among the adventurous. As a developing country, Nepal has made enormous strides, though life expectancy (at 63 years) remains low and infant mortality rates highest in the region. Although Wikipedia suggests a 98% literacy rate in the city of Kathmandu, the World Bank reports a literacy rate of 48.2% for the country, and highlights gender disparity (female: 34.6%, male 62.2%). Regardless, Kathmandu has many schools that offer a quality education.


Pupil Progress Report Basics

  • Type of School: Local, English-standard school
  • Academic Year: 2000 – 2001
  • 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.

Nepal Report Card, Page 1

1. Population and Environment

Some schools offer Population and Environment, a class that may be equivalent to Human Geography (offered as an Advanced Placement class in the American system).

2. Percentage and Position in Class

This student received 70s in her classes (which would be a C average in the United States), however this is considered “Very Good to Excellent” in the Nepali education system. Her high achievement becomes evident in her position in class: 2nd, 3rd or 4th out of 19 students. Speaking of which, the class rank would rarely be reported in most American classrooms, except for the valedictorian at graduation. This illustrates differing values in competition within the educational system.

3. Division

In the Nepali system, students are separated into three divisions, a sort of “streaming.” Here’s a break down of the divisions:

explanation of marksHere’s the second page of the progress report:

Nepal Report Card, Page 2

4. Teacher’s Comments… “Try harder and do better”

Unlike the report card from Dalhousie, the Nepali progress report includes teacher’s comments (which covers about 50% of the card). The general theme, even for one of the highest achieving students, seems to be “to do better,” “prove her worth,” and “aspire higher.”

5. “She should shed her over confidence”

This statement clearly demonstrates a cultural difference in the value of confidence versus, perhaps, humility? Has your teacher ever said you were over confident?

explanation of marks and to parents_2

See Report Card from Dalhousie, India; Soro, Denmark

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