Report cards in N.S. to include personalized comments from teachers
After receiving complaints from parents that grading was too difficult to understand, teachers in Nova Scotia have been directed to write personal comments for each student.
“I expect it as a parent. When I get my son’s report card I want to know specifically how he’s doing in the different subjects, what areas he excels in, what areas he might need help in,” said parent Tamara Powell.
Powell said she’s pleased with the changes, but is concerned about teachers having enough time to personalize report cards.
“I wonder what kind of difficulty a teacher might have to make their report card very specific? It is a lot more time consuming,” said Powell.
The Nova Scotia Teachers Union wasn’t available for comment on Friday, but Nova Scotia Education Minister Karen Casey said she hadn’t heard any negative feedback from teachers.
“You can have a bank of comments, but there may be unique circumstances,” said Casey. “There may be some personalities, there may be some concern that the teacher needs to express in their own language, so we’re asking teachers to do that as well.”
Casey said the reports should be free of jargon and should discuss the students' strengths, areas of improvements and advice to parents on how to improve learning at home.
The change comes after the government surveyed roughly 5,800 students, parents, teachers and school administrators in March. Sixty-three per cent of those surveyed said comments from teachers didn’t help them understand grades.
“It is kind of confusing. There’s no real number or letter grade,” said parent Janelle Heddington. “It’s just kind of “C” is for consistently doing whatever.”
The survey also said 58 per cent felt the comments didn't help them understand where their child is struggling and 62 per cent believed they did not help them support their child's learning at home.
“I have twins who are in primary and their report cards came home identical, even though they’re very different children,” said parent Karen Reade.
The province said a committee that includes students, parents, teachers and school board staff will also look at other results of the survey and deliver its final report this fall.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell and The Canadian Press