There is quite a lot of unrest around the traps – there is a strong point of view that says that schools are not providing adequate information on the performance of students. Parents of course rightly want to know just what the progress is of their young ones in terms of basic skills, special aptitudes and social behaviour. Their misgivings about lack of information enflames the views that the teachers are not doing enough in this regard.
I have written before about the an attempt to persuade students at one school by producing a sheet of paper that asked the parents to accept this as good intelligence about children. But the parents saw through this when they noted that the whole class was at the 64th percentile. Too many teachers go for the soft measures – children are described as “really nice to have in the class” and if a concern is expressed by a parent, “oh he’s coming along nicely!
Mind you, I came across report sent home on 23rd August 1935 the other day. It was a report that purported to place before the parents an assessment of the child. The reports were said to have been the picture of the “Marks obtained in Examination at the end of Term.
Composition: 62/100 English: 23/50 Reading: 54/100 Spelling: 7/25 Writing: 14/25 Arithmetic: 73/100 History: 42/50 Geography: 35/50 Nature Study or Science: 34/50 Drawing: 13/25 Handwork: Good Conduct: Good Total: 358/575 Place in class: 1 Remarks: Has made good progress this term.
There are some points to pick up here such as the number of subjects. The parents would have some basis to make comparisons about strengths and weaknesses. The absence of some of the social skills is missing but I wonder which style of report parents would enjoy. Would they prefer to be a little befuddled with the complexity of the figure-based report? Or would they prefer to be massaged by nice adjectives? Both reports have their weaknesses.
Place in class was also reported on in 1935. The lad who took home the report above came. First in Class!