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What is the point of school reports?

(86 Posts)
unknownrebelbang Tue 08-Jul-08 22:43:38

My school reports, a long long time ago, were one line for each subject; a general comment at the bottom, along with test results; A, B, or C; and class position. Ok, so I know we don't need to know the class position etc, but at least my parents knew how things were.

I've received DS2 and DS3's reports recently and tbh they're full of cut/pasted gobbledigook. There has been a trend for this over recent years, but this year it was so noticeable because they're both currently in the same class (yr5/yr6).

Obviously I'd like to know how they're doing in each subject; where progress has been made; where progress needs to be made; targets etc, but do we really need all this information?

The only thing that made any real sense was the PHSE; general and head's comments.

So, when did the reports get so complicated; and why?

lostinfrance Tue 08-Jul-08 22:46:28

Message withdrawn

unknownrebelbang Tue 08-Jul-08 22:49:38

I want the blunt truth (and have received it in the past - both verbally and in the reports).

And to be fair, the teacher's comment was quite honest in relation to both lads. It's just the several pages of waffle beforehand.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 08-Jul-08 22:50:39

ds1's had a nice picture of him on the front - lol.
Agree on the waffle, his seems to be made up of something computer generated via tick boxes, together with a specific paragraph under each heading.
This bit in particular made me hmm
In Creative Development
"... He would benefit from more practice feeling or looking at shapes though, to help him improve shape and form in his artwork".
WTF does that mean?
And given he has me and his father for perents the kids has little chance of every producing any artwork that looks remotely like the thing he is trying to portray.

Hathor Tue 08-Jul-08 22:52:41

Agree with OP. Such a waste of teacher's time cutting and pasting waffle. They should tell us like it is.

lostinfrance Tue 08-Jul-08 22:58:51

Message withdrawn

Quattrocento Tue 08-Jul-08 23:01:48

I've found school reports invaluable. Through school reports I have learned that DD is arsing around at music, passionate about maths tennis and hockey, and disinterested in RE. I would not have known any of these things otherwise. I mean I know what my children are like as characters but not what fires them up. They mostly don't tell me.

unknownrebelbang Tue 08-Jul-08 23:10:03

But do you need eight pages of cut/paste waffle to tell you that quattro?

I'm not suggesting for a second that we don't need reports. We do.

ravenAK Tue 08-Jul-08 23:10:50

<secondary school teacher>

We have an expectation that we will write a 100-200 word report per child.

This is inevitably going to be partly cut & pasted - I reckon to take 3-4 hours to do a class set, ie. Sunday afternoon of the week before they're due. That's assuming I only have one set to do. If I have 2, it takes out 2 weekday evenings as well.

(& were I a non core subject teacher, with anything up to 180 kids to do, the degree of blandness/cut & paste obviously increases exponentially).

I always include one sentence of 'telling it like it is' at the end - some sort of personal statement to reassure the parent that I have actually met their child...

colditz Tue 08-Jul-08 23:15:44

But how would you feel if you got this home?

"Maths -
Your son can't add up numbers over 10 yet, and he should be able to. He's lagging.

English -
Please read with him every night, he tells me you often don't and it's very obvious. His writing is messy

PE -
2 left feet

Social and emotional development -
He's very naughty, isn't he? Whenever I shout in the staff room 'Guess who broke the TA's nose?' they all guess correctly that it's your son. He needs more sleep and less presents in my opinion."

They have to pile the fluff on. My dad calls it "Damned by faint praise" wink which is apt.

unknownrebelbang Tue 08-Jul-08 23:16:24

Who expects that Raven? Your SMT? The parents? The Government?

I don't particularly want/need the 200 words - just the "tell it like it is" line.

Actually, no that's not true, in high school (DS1 in yr9) it is useful to receive a bit more about the content of what they've been doing, and don't mind the cut/paste bit for that, but again the simpler the better (for my simple mind, lol).

And only once in three years at high school so far have I ever been convinced that the teacher was talking about the wrong child - and as it was PE I didn't bother to follow it up (sorry PE teachers).

twinsetandpearls Tue 08-Jul-08 23:17:20

I tell the truth, do not use descriptor banks but it does take an awful long time - I have not spoken to my family for a week now.

unknownrebelbang Tue 08-Jul-08 23:21:17

Ah, that's a different issue Colditz - that's about negativity, rather than cut/paste waffle that means nothing. Our reports this time are pretty meaningless tbh.

How can I help my child(ren) to improve if it's all gobbledegook and doesn't actually say anything?

twinsetandpearls Tue 08-Jul-08 23:21:26

I have written over the past few weeks about 300 reports on an average of 100 to 200 words. I am doing my year head reports tonight which is a further 120 of the same length plus another 30 to cover for an absent colleage. I have also had to proof read over 100 reports.

Each report I write is carefully researched worded and personally written. They follow this format

no more than 20 words on what we have done
any significant achievements
what they do well
what level they are at and why
what they could do to step up to the next level
comment on behaviour
comment on homework completion
target.

unknownrebelbang Tue 08-Jul-08 23:21:52

How long are your comment TSAP?

unknownrebelbang Tue 08-Jul-08 23:22:10

oops, x posts.

twinsetandpearls Tue 08-Jul-08 23:22:40

I teach some students for three subjects as well as being their head of year and covering for their form tutor which means they could have 5 reports from me, keeping it jargon free and varied can be a challenge.

twinsetandpearls Tue 08-Jul-08 23:23:24

that should be proof read over 1000 reports - 100 I wish! We get no extra time to do this either!

unknownrebelbang Tue 08-Jul-08 23:26:35

You're secondary too aren't you TSAP?

That's the sort of stuff I want (must take you forever). I think you go beyond what I would expect, and I'm mightily impressed.

unknownrebelbang Tue 08-Jul-08 23:27:53

BTW, this I am not having a go about teachers.

I'm interested in how/why the system changed, and do we really need more than my parents had?

OverMyDeadBody Tue 08-Jul-08 23:29:15

now I remember why I left teaching

unknownrebelbang Tue 08-Jul-08 23:32:55

Why OMDB?

twinsetandpearls Tue 08-Jul-08 23:34:28

I am not taking it as a dig at teachers, I complained about my own child's report as it was full of bland comment bank entries.

It is just a touchy subject as I am going to have to work until the early hours of the morning and then get up at 45 to start again.

It takes about 3 - 4 hours to do a class set, this year I have done I think 13 classes plus a whole year group which is equivalent to another five classes that makes between 54 and 72 hours of my time not including the gathering of data and proof reading.

OverMyDeadBody Tue 08-Jul-08 23:34:41

because all the paperwork took up all my free time that's why!

Because it is really time consuming, you don't get paid by the hour, and you are under-appreciated.

twinsetandpearls Tue 08-Jul-08 23:35:33

Becuase the work load is horrendous, I left teaching a few years ago because of the workload but came back as I missed being in the classroom. I am being very wingy today as I am knackered, I will be more upbeat next week blush

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