An Informative Report Card -- By: Orris Refsell
CenQ 10:3 (Fall 1967) p. 18
An Informative Report Card
Principal Fourth Baptist Christian Day School, Minneapolis
In American education the public schools have deviated far from reality and far from common sense in reporting to parents. Particularly at the elementary school level the report card, in a great many school districts, has deteriorated to a level bordering on the ridiculous. In our school we provide parents a sensible report card.
One reason that the report cards have degenerated to such a nonsensible level is the emphasis in the schools today on the child’s adjustment rather than on the achievement in academic areas. Another reason has been the poor reading instruction in the schools. For example, take a school which employed the A, B, C, D, F method of grading. Suppose that in the first-grade class one-third of the children were making nearly no progress toward learning to read. That would mean sending home F’s for one-third of the class. This would cause problems for all concerned, because the parents of one-third of the children would come knocking on the doors of the school officials the morning after grades went out, demanding to know why their children could not learn to read. They would insist on knowing what was wrong with the teacher. They would demand to know what was wrong with the supervisor and the school system. Only very rare parents would assume that there could be anything amiss with their child. This, along with the trend that academic achievement is not so important, his driven educators to seek intricate and complicated methods of softening the blow to the parent or in actuality deceiving the parent.
Let us investigate this deterioration in the grading system.
CenQ 10:3 (Fall 1967) p. 19
Percentage Method. For many years schools employed the percentage method of reporting pupil progress. Thus the report card listed for reading grade 94%, 78%, 70%, etc. But most people felt that it was impossible for a teacher to grade a pupil with mathematical exactness down to a specific per cent for each subject; so a method of grading still based on percentages but a bit more general became popular. It was the A, B, C, D, F method.
A, B, C, D, F Method. This plan embodied the notion that pupils could be divided into about five categories: superior (corresponding to 94–100%), very good (corresponding to 87–93%), average (corresponding to 80–86%), poor but passing (corresponding to 70–79%, and failing (corresponding to 69% and below). Thus the teacher did not have to give each child one specific per cent in each subject but only a letter grade that indicated the range of percentages just listed. Many educators agreed that people generally could...
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