This article was published in the February 2009 print edition of EdCom, directing readers to this page for additional information which was not published in the print edition.
Understanding your child’s report card
Confusion can accompany a parent’s attempt to understand a child’s report card. If a child comes home from school with a report card that indicates they are “meeting expectations” in a particular subject, then some parents expect the letter grade to be at least a “B”. However, if a “C” is recorded, some parents may be left scratching their heads. Yet the letter grade “C” actually is defined as “satisfactory performance in relation to learning outcomes” according to the Ministry of Education.
Such misconceptions were addressed at a December workshop for parents at Beaver Creek Elementary. Principal Hart Schnee and Mark Angerilli, from the Surrey district’s Welcome Centre, offered insight into the subtleties of grading and the reporting guidelines of the Ministry of Education.
Prescribed Learning Outcomes
Each student is evaluated based on the criteria of the B.C. Curriculum as set out by the Ministry of Education. The ministry has determined certain “Prescribed Learning Outcomes” (PLOs) for each grade and these PLOs outline the ministry achievement expectations for each grade level in every subject.
A report card has room to list only those PLOs which the teacher deems most important. But the many “learning outcomes” or objectives for each grade and subject are available for download on the BC Ministry of Education website (See the box below for detailed instructions on how to download the BC Ministry of Education PLOs). If looking up the learning outcomes for only Grade 5 English Language Arts Oral Language, for example, you would see the list of 11 detailed learning outcomes shown in the box at the bottom of this webpage.
Downloading all of the BC Ministry of Education
"Prescribed Learning Outcomes" (PLOs)
Note: You must download all PLOs from kindergarten to Grade 12
1) Go to http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/irp/lo_db.htm
2) You will have an option of downloading a file for windows or for Mac
3) Chose "save" after selecting your file and chose a location to put it.
4) You will see a file called " 2008PLOs.exe " in the directory where you saved the file.
5) You will need to "unzip" this file using zip software
6) Once unzipped, you click on the file " 2008PLOs.exe " to start the program which lists the PLOs.
This is what the program looks like when first started:
Click to enlarge
And once you select English or French, this is the screen which will come up:
Click to enlarge
Experiment with the different search options to discover how to best access the information you are seeking. Remember that
you can always click the "Search" button at the top of the page to start over, no matter where you are in your search.
The Ministry of Education has determined that students from kindergarten to grade 3 receive teacher comments, students from grade 4 to grade 9 receive letter grades and students in grades 10, 11 and 12 must receive percentage marks. The ministry also determines what each letter grade represents.
The meaning of “I”
One letter grade which causes confusion is an “I”. In the B.C. school system, an “I” stands for “incomplete” and it is a warning that the student is in danger of failing. An “I” informs parents that their child is not meeting minimally acceptable standards. Students can receive an “I” for many reasons, including missing a lot of school, not studying or not completing homework. If performance improves, the “I” can be changed to a higher mark, but if performance does not improve, the “I” can also be changed to an “F” or a failing grade.
Letter Grades and Definitions
Excellent or Outstanding performance in relation to learning outcomes
Very Good Performance in relation to learning outcomes
Good Performance in relation to learning outcomes
Satisfactory Performance in relation to learning outcomes
Minimally Acceptable Performance in relation to learning outcomes
No demonstration of minimally acceptable performance in relation to learning outcomes in this reporting period
Report cards are helpful, simple tools to summarize a student’s progress and performance at school. With a little more understanding about how report cards work, parents can better understand how their child is doing at school.
However, due to the space limitations on report cards, the parent-teacher interview is valuable additional tool for parents to solidly grasp their child’s progress in school. The meeting allows parents to ask specific questions of their child’s teacher, not just about course marks, but also about other aspects of the student’s experience and performance at school.
English Language Arts -- Oral Language
~ Prescribed Learning Outcomes (PLOs) ~
These are the ministry achievement expectations:
- Use speaking and listening to interact with others for the purposes of:
Use speaking to explore, express, and present a range of ideas, information, and feelings for different purposes and audiences, by:
- contributing to a class goal
- sharing and explaining ideas, viewpoints, and opinions (e.g., debating)
- improving and deepening comprehension
- solving problems & completing tasks
Listen purposefully to understand ideas and information, by:
- staying on topic in a focussed discussion
- recounting experiences in a logical order
- using an effective introduction and conclusion
- using effective details, evidence, or examples to enhance meaning
- explaining and supporting a viewpoint
Select and use strategies when interacting with others, including:
- summarizing and synthesizing main ideas and supporting details
- generating questions & visualizing and sharing
- making inferences and drawing conclusions
- interpreting the speaker’s verbal and nonverbal messages
- ignoring distractions
Select and use strategies when expressing and presenting ideas, information, and feelings, including:
- accessing prior knowledge, making & sharing connections
- asking questions for clarification and understanding
- taking turns as speaker and listener
- paraphrasing to clarify meaning
Select and use strategies when listening to make and clarify meaning, including:
- setting a purpose, accessing prior knowledge
- generating ideas, making and sharing connections
- asking questions to clarify and confirm meaning
- organizing information, practising delivery
- self-monitoring and self-correcting in response to feedback
Demonstrate enhanced vocabulary knowledge and usage
Use speaking and listening to respond, explain, and provide supporting evidence for their connections to texts
Use speaking and listening to improve and extend thinking, by:
- accessing prior knowledge
- making predictions about content before listening
- focussing on the speaker
- listening for specifics, generating questions
- recalling, summarizing, and synthesizing
- drawing inferences and conclusions
- distinguishing between fact and opinion
- visualizing, monitoring comprehension
Reflect on and assess their speaking and listening, by:
- questioning and speculating
- acquiring new ideas
- analysing and evaluating ideas
- developing explanations
- considering alternative viewpoints
- problem solving
Use the features of oral language to convey and derive meaning, including:
- referring to class-generated criteria
- considering and incorporating peer and adult feedback
- setting goals and creating a plan for improvement
- taking steps toward achieving goals
- text structure
- a variety of sentence lengths, structures, and types
- smooth transitions and connecting words
- syntax (i.e., grammar and usage) & diction
- nonverbal communication & receptive listening posture