TEACHER'S MIND : Parents: Analyse report cards carefully

PRIMARY school pupils are already on holiday by now. Their colleagues at the secondary level are expected to join them by tomorrow for the end of year holidays. The candidates in Senior Three and Six are still waiting for their national examinations that are set to kick off soon.

PRIMARY school pupils are already on holiday by now. Their colleagues at the secondary level are expected to join them by tomorrow for the end of year holidays.

The candidates in Senior Three and Six are still waiting for their national examinations that are set to kick off soon.

Students returning home for the much awaited long holiday are expected to hand over a very important document to their parents or guardians in form of a report card. It is a summary of the student’s annual performance.

More importantly it is supposed to clearly show whether the student has been promoted to the next class or not.

Apart from the academic performance, the report card also contains some information concerning the student’s level of discipline. In the extreme case, the report will reveal whether a student has been expelled or not.

The head teacher is also likely to put a general comment about the student’s general conduct before signing it.

The other helpful information that a report card carries are the contacts of the school and its administrators. Apart from the name of the school, a report card usually has the school’s postal address, telephone contacts and in a few cases, an email address.

There is a reason for all the above and more information to be included on this card.

My plea is for the parents to take time and analyse the details on this card carefully. It is not enough to simply check to see if your son or daughter has been promoted.

Take time to find out the performance in relation to the class. What was the position of your child? And with what percentage has your child been promoted?

Are you convinced that he/she performed satisfactorily? Could he/she have performed better?  These are some of the questions that a wise parent ought to ask and seek answers for before tucking away the report.

A critical look at the performance of your child in the different school terms and different years is also necessary. Is there an improvement or not?

And if not, then what is the reason for this? What about the subjects? Your child should be put to task to explain why he/she failed some subjects and passed others.

I remember in my primary school, each pupil would be given a result sheet showing the general performance of all the children in the class.

This helped parents to compare the performance of their children with that of the other children in school. So in such a case, I was expected to explain why a friend of mine performed better than me yet we spent most of our time together.

In case you are in doubt of anything you see on the report card, then you need to contact the school. Using the contacts displayed on the report card, you can call the school for clarification.

You even have the option of asking the school authorities to furnish you with telephone contacts of any teacher for further consultations.

This indeed helps to ensure the validity of the information on the report card. It is no longer a big secret that a good number of secondary school students are in the habit of presenting forged these reports and presenting them to their parents and to school authorities especially when switching schools.

In case the report shows that a student has been expelled, it pays to find out what school rule was broken and more about their morals.

If such endeavours are not made and changes encouraged, the student will certainly be expelled from the next school as well.

The importance of these report cards is often overlooked by a good number of parents and this they do at their own peril as well as that of their children. Ignoring the information on the report card is like ignoring a doctor’s recommendation; death is the most likely outcome of such negligence.

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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