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!

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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!