Results are out, and the number game begins. The tension, the anxiety, the apprehensions before the results being announced. The happiness, excitement, bitterness, sulking, the long face, disappointment and many other overwhelming emotions after seeing your results.
Today we ask, why all these emotions? What is the objective of report card? What can we as society do to bring some value to these numbers?
Report card, which is given at the end of an academic year, should be an assessment of a child’s performance in school academically (different subjects), emotionally, socially, language skills, communication skills where has he/she applied these skills. Elements of the report card should have the details of the improvement on each of these areas, how was the child assessed and how school and the parents can work towards improvement in these areas.
But what it is considered to be, is only academic achievement skills (marks), which is assigned, based on only ONE skill.
What about the emotional stability of the child?
What about the social skills that can make him a leader?
What about the logic/analytical thinking that can make the child to discover or invent new things. Are we so regressive that we have stopped acknowledging these as skills?
Or we want to throw a blind eye on these factors and say child’s academic performance is the only skill I am looking at in my child.
In the last few years, though we have seen slight change in acknowledging other skills, academic performance still takes higher preference than all. It is result time and we have seen many parents proudly sharing about 98%, 99% percent marks, and the parents sulking and going into hiding when the child’s marks is 70% or even 80%. And surprisingly some students are unhappy with 90+ and have considered applying for revaluation! I am not saying that being proud of your child’s performance at school is bad or judging anyone when they want to share. But, the main question still remains.
Are we just happy or satisfied with academic performance? Are we not going to do anything about the other life skills of the child?
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India is land of tradition and culture. We have always learnt from our ancestors to acquire as many skills. Respect, Greeting, welcoming, living in peace and harmony, kindness, etc; these are the skills that needs to be imbibed in the kids these days. I am sure, if you talk to any adult who is working in any profession, would agree with me when I say that the feeling that they carried (happy or otherwise) does not matter in the least now.
In the last few years we have dozens of examples where CEOs, achievers, authors, artists, sharing their previous marks card and saying that, marks do not define anyone. Though they have scored around to 50% – 60%, they still went on to be the best in their field.
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So, when did we become a society where we are defining kids mind by just the academics/marks? Both schools and parents should take equal responsibility.
When a parent is searching for school,
The first quality they are looking for in the school is the previous year high score. Schools are compelled to run behind this rat race and try to get the highest score from their school, so they can showcase the achievement. Why as we parents not asking for formative assessment of their children? Why are we pressurizing our kids with expectation of certain marks?
I am sure there are lot of blogs and articles explaining how the report cards do not matter and how we have to move on. But, honestly, report cards do matter when it is given as a formative assessment than the regressive number game. Report card should be cumulative assessment of a child in all the skills. That is when we can try and see where the child is in the scale and see if there are ways to improve.
Parents play a huge role in this. Awareness, expectations and acceptance are the next steps that we suggest.
Awareness in identifying the gap in ‘Report card’ system. We all need to agree and accept that the ‘Report Card’ or ‘Results’ that are shared today, is not a cumulative assessment of the child. We need to evolve or think about different structure to analyze the understanding of the skills. As parents, we need to think about the different areas under which we want our child to be assessed. Most important ones being academic, communication and social skills.
Parents need to set the expectation right from both children and school. The expectation from child should be to identify the skills and areas of development. The goal is to assess these skills and try to be better in each.
The expectations from schools should be formative assessment and cumulative assessment. Formative assessment is where the teachers try and understand the areas of interest of the children, record their reactions to different experiences and which experience can be improved. During the results it should a discussion between parents and teachers for the betterment of the child in each skill.
Accepting the fact that every child is different, unique and evolving and identifying themselves. Let them grow, this rat race is a delusion, in the process of scoring higher in all subjects kids are losing out on the skills that are needed in the outside world. A child who is excellent in art is missing out the fun by doing it only once a week, while he could be a wonderful artist by spending a lot more time on it.
If I remember correctly, in the previous generation, scoring 90% in 10th and 12th was one of the rare scenes. Scoring 60%(first class) was a celebration. Because in spite of doing all the other work and other responsibilities they were able to score 60%.
Are we moving away form all-round development to academic excellence only?
In the words of Mark Twain “ The secret to getting ahead is getting started”. I sincerely hope to see this revolution in education sector soon. World needs more loving beings, humanitarians and respectful young minds.
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