Report Cards Should be About Kids Not Data

Did you know that for the New York City report cards you can enter a comment code in lieu of an actual personalized comment?

These codes are aligned to the comment core and produce comments like the following:

“Struggles to meet deadlines”

“Low scores on assessments”

“Requires academic assistance”

“Demonstrates satisfactory skill in analyzing, interpreting and evaluating master works and own works of art”

“Far below standards in following a standard format for citations”

These are options for a first grade report card. If my first grader was sent home with comments like this I would storm the school. While comment codes may be good for aggregating data, they are not necessarily good for children. Some of these comments are so clearly impersonal and inappropriate that they either fail to communicate anything useful or they serve only make children feel bad for not meeting expectations that are unreasonable to begin with.

Teaching is a human act. It is a process of forming and building learning relationships. At no point should selecting from a drop down menu be part of how we communicate with students and families. Especially with choices like these. We are not robots.

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