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Not sure what to make of DD's report.

(28 Posts)
MrsGravy Sat 16-Jul-11 09:39:01

I know, I know, not ANOTHER report thread!! DD is in Yr 1 and has just had her end of year report. They don't give us levels or grades or anything like that, which is fine. Thing is though, the report basically details what she can and can't do without giving much of a sense of whether she is doing ok or not i.e. 'GirlGravy's reading has progressed throughout the year'. Well, great, but she's gone from not being able to read to now being able to read but I don't know from this whether she is reading as well as she should be. Is she average? Above average? Below average? And it's the same for most of the report, in specific areas like maths or language it just lists what she can do i.e. 'GirlGravy can make simple graphs' 'GirlGravy recognises 2D shapes'. Again, I have absolutely no clue if that's good or not. Should she actually be recognising all her 3D shapes by now?? Or is she where she should be?

The more general paragraph at the start of the report is a little more revealing it says she is 'mature', 'works diligently', 'shows enthusiasm' which I'm obviously very pleased with. Her targets are to work on her writing and to be more careful/neat with her work - so am I to assume from this that all the rest is ok?

DH thinks I'm being overly anxious, that the report is a bit lukewarm but there's nothing to be concerned about. He doesn't really get why I want to see a few more adjectives and get a sense of whether she's doing well or not. Possibly I am being a bit PFB and just want to see some gushing which is daft really! I've certainly been happy with the teacher and can see DD has made lots of progress this year. I'm not sure now whether to go in and see the teacher. Would you in these circumstances?

unitarian Sat 16-Jul-11 09:49:36

Is it a handwritten report?
I ask that because I am suspicious of printed reports which are so bland they could apply to just about every child in the class.
This one seems bland enough to have been mass-produced.

MrsGravy Sat 16-Jul-11 10:29:31

No, typed. My DH said he thought it was a 'cut and paste' job. And that would be fine if it was also tempered with a bit of more specifics about DD and her progress. Thanks unitarian.

unitarian Sat 16-Jul-11 11:24:10

I agree with your DH.
My DD once got a report which thanked her for her contribution to the netball team and the school orchestra. She had never attended either!

A report is usually followed by a parents' evening. Press for specific information then. (Though at Y1 parents' evening we were told DD was shakey on numeracy skills and that was when we discovered the teacher didn't actually know who she was. Met that teacher in the street a few months back and I took evil pleasure in mentioning DD's A* for A level Further Maths......)

MrsGravy Sat 16-Jul-11 11:31:02

Christ Unitarian, that's piss-poor!! I'd have been livid! Parents evening is on Monday night IF you want to discuss the reports. As I wasn't anticipating any problems I haven't organised any childcare for me to go in and see the teacher. I think I'm going to try and sort something out though. I'm sat here worrying as more and more of the parents with children in DD's class are boasting on Facebook about their children's brilliant reports.

gabid Sat 16-Jul-11 12:00:31

I felt a bit like OP when I read DS's Y1 report. Very descriptive, he built an electrical curcuit, well they all did that I thought? Can recognise most 2D and 3D shapes, hm?

The teacher told me he was where he should be with his maths, but I didn't think his maths was that great (still using fingers and needs support at something like 7+8)? His friend who he is in a group with gets special support and DS is in a maths group with him, so I guess DS is below average. I would like to know where my son is at to support him, I don't want to be guessing.

gabid Sat 16-Jul-11 12:02:35

Primary teachers teach max 30 children, they see them every day. Shouldn't they know who they are after one year???

unitarian Sat 16-Jul-11 12:07:08

Well you could just as easily boast about a brilliant report on facebook, if you were so minded! The report you have could be read that way though I can't for the life of me see why anyone would discuss children's reports on facebook - and people who do that would say that, wouldn't they?

Go on Monday night if you possibly can. It's your one regular chance to have 5 minutes undivided attention from the teacher and weigh up the value of the information you are getting.

The report we got which mentioned the fictitious netball and orchestra involvement was the last one we had from that school. We were already walking out of the door taking our DD to a nearby primary school which issued a handwritten report each TERM. It was a full page too. An excellent school in every way.

Dumbledoresgirl Sat 16-Jul-11 12:11:25

Speaking as an ex primary school teacher: those lists of achivements, eg X can put together an electrical circuit, X recognises 2D shapes, etc should be the targets for the year group. So the fact that your child can do them, means she is on target for her year.

I know what you mean though: they don't really seem to tell you about your child. Our school lists all the targets for the year and then puts a number by each target to tell you whether your child is confident with this target, developing this target, or still needs help with this target. This is more helpful, but still lacks the personal comments.

Although it sounds as though your child is doing well, I would still go to speak to the teacher as it doesn't sound as though you have a clear enough picture and you are entitled to this.

NearlyHeadlessnickelbabe Sat 16-Jul-11 12:12:14

nothing wrong with using your fingers, gabid
that's not sarcasm - I was still using my fingers when I did A-level maths. and that was in the days before modular A-levels when you had exams at the end.

MrsGravy Sat 16-Jul-11 12:16:41

Yes, I feel the same about my DD. The report did say her writing isn't great - which I already knew - so I can support her with that. I'd just hate to think she may need extra support from me in other areas and I don't know about it.

MrsGravy Sat 16-Jul-11 12:19:47

Sorry x-posted there with a couple of you. Dumbledoresgirl - that list of targets sounds absolutely perfect actually. It would just give me a clearer picture of where she's at. I've made up my mind to go and speak to the teacher Monday.

pointydog Sat 16-Jul-11 12:21:19

What were you told at parents nights?

MrsGravy Sat 16-Jul-11 12:26:16

Pointydog, the last parents evening was back in March. And I left that feeling that she was basically doing ok - they gave us a list of targets for the end of year 1, and she was doing 1/2 of them. Again, the teacher talked about her being 'mature' and 'enthusiastic' a lot but when pushed on specifics like maths and reading she said she was doing ok.

It could well be that DD is distinctly average (not to me of course!) so perhaps I'm looking for some sort of gushing praise that the teacher just can't give me. I dunno.

Chandon Sat 16-Jul-11 12:55:01

I think some primary school teachers just aren't very "good" with school reports.

I have a friend whose DS (y1) is really amazing at drawing (way way above what anyone else that age can produce), yet all it said was that he can hold a pencil....

We then sat together and compared reports (teachers beware! parents do this) and all three reports were IDENTICAL. 100% cut and paste jobs.

For specific info you should go in and talk. Just ask the teacher for a little chat to get a better idea where your DC is compared to her peers. That's what I do (pushy parent emoticon).

Dumbledoresgirl Sat 16-Jul-11 13:07:16

The last school I worked in full-time, we had to produce reports from a selection of printed comments - cutting and pasting, as you say. It was supposed to make report writing easier for us, though of course it had its limitations.

So don't be surprised to find identical reports, though I always took care to ensure everyone's report was subtly different at the very least.

gabid Sat 16-Jul-11 13:10:05

Yes, I would have loved a report that describes how DS is working and how he is behaving and all the personal stuff. In addition I would have appreciated the targets for the year and how DS is doing against those targets, whether he is still working on them, confident or exceeding the target, or levels. I didn't feel I got that though, even after speaking to the teacher.

I thought the maths target for Y1 was to work with numbers up to 20. So, they should be able to work out 7+8 independently, never mind the fingers?

MrsGravy Sat 16-Jul-11 13:25:38

I don't mind the cutting and pasting but I suppose I expected a little bit on top of that so in her paragraph on maths where it's all cut and pasted sentences about what she can do, a little sentence at the end to say something like 'GirlGravy is struggling in some areas of maths/GirlGravy is doing very well in maths' or whatever just to give it a bit of personal context.

Gabid, I would say using fingers would still be working out 7+8 independently - as long as you didn't TELL him to use fingers iyswim. So if he was umming and ahhing over the questions and you encouraged him to use his fingers and showed him how he wouldn't be doing it independently but if he looked at the sum and instantly added it up on his fingers without prompting then he would be.

NanaNina Sat 16-Jul-11 13:36:31

My son and dil are both primary school teachers and those end of year reports take forever. I know exactly what you all mean though - they're rubbish really because what parents want to know is whether their child is of average ability, below average or above average. Of course they need to know other things, like the child's behaviour, whether he/she is a mature member of the class or his/her behaviour can be disruptive etc.

Apparently they are told that this is the way reports have to be done - rules is rules. Children are "set" in primary schools on different tables and by aged 7 or so all the kids know the colour of the "top table" and the "bottom table" and those in between. So you could always ask your child what table he/she is on -or better still ask the teacher. My son tells me that a general rule is that there are approx 6 children in the highest group, 6 in the lowest and the rest somewhere in between. That doesn't help unless you know where your child is in this setting, so ask the teacher to explain. As they move into yr 3 and 4 at primary schools they are set for maths and english, so can be on the top table for english (say) and the middle for maths.

It gets complicated because there is a top, middle and bottom table for english and maths, so you can be in top middle, middle middle or bottom middle. Got it - good!!!

MrsGravy Sat 16-Jul-11 13:52:17

NanaNina, I think I'll ask the teacher if they're in sets. Both me and DD are pretty oblivious to all that, the parents in DD's class are generally lovely and there's none of the competitive 'what level book does yours have?' kind of stuff. I only recently found out that they have sets and I think through subtle questionning of DD that she's in the top one but I really don't know for sure. DD told me what group she was in and who was in it which is how I deduced that!

gabid Sat 16-Jul-11 14:02:13

Yes, I know, but DS sometimes tells me who is in his maths or reading group, but he doesn't tell me more and I don't want to make him aware of, e.g. being in a low maths group.

I have only asked the teacher about DS in terms of expextations for Y1, all I got was that he is fine, and I don't feel I should make her compare him against his peers or reveal information about other children. But maybe I should just bluntly ask whether DS is in a low, middle or top group.

Runoutofideas Sat 16-Jul-11 19:08:15

MrsGravy - I had the same thing as you. A lovely long list of what dd could do but no indication of whether this was above/below expectation. I wrote a comment in the note that came with the report asking for feedback on the process stating that levels would be useful to be able to track future progress. The teacher then stopped me to say that the Head doesn't like to give out levels in Yr 1. I explained my reasoning as to why I'd like to know and she told me what level, in her opinion, dd was reaching currently and what she would expect her to achieve by the end of next year. I was grateful to her for telling me, but don't really understand why some schools don't seem to like to share this information with parents.

unitarian Sun 17-Jul-11 00:41:16

As I said above, we went from one school where the report wasn't worth the paper it was printed on to another where we got a handwritten page each term. The latter was perhaps excessive, not because we didn't appreciate that level of feedback but because we felt the dear man gave so much to the pupils that he needed to take more time for himself, and the same applied to the rest of his staff.

Secondary school reports for DD were more like I was accostomed to writing when I was a secondary school teacher - a yearly personalised, detailed comment from every subject teacher and an overview from form teacher, head of year and a deputy head. Each term we were sent an assessment of her progress against targets.

When I was teaching we had no choice but to hand-write reports for every pupil, either in a book or on sheets which were checked, collated then bound into a booklet. They were better because if you did make a mistake a fresh sheet could be used. That was one for every pupil we taught so a subject teacher would perhaps write a few hundred quite lengthy reports each year. We were never allowed to fall back on writing 'satisfactory progress'.

I don't see why a primary school teacher can't do this for a single class once a year instead of the cut and paste job which is so devoid of meaning. It would probably take less time in the long-run because parents would feel they were getting adequate feedback and parents' evenings would be about building a home-school relationship and dealing with specific issues raised in the report.

Maybe a useful mumsnet campaign would be to bring back handwritten primary school reports!!

Joolyjoolyjoo Sun 17-Jul-11 00:49:32

I can totally sympathise. My dds' reports read like this, and it is quite hard to get a feel for where they are in relation to the rest of the class. I get the feeling that it is frowned upon for parents to want to know this as, I suppose, in theory the rest of the class shouldn't matter to you. (But I have to admit, it does blush) The only meaningful bit is the little personal comment at the bottom! I try to guage the rest from homework etc. I've found in the past that at Parent's Night some of the teachers just read the report back to me!

unitarian Sun 17-Jul-11 01:25:46

Another good thing about handwritten reports is that it demonstrates the teacher's ability to write!

The system I described means that every report is read at least once by someone else before it is sent to parents. In a secondary school it is read by several senior teachers and can be sent back for correction. This means that senior staff have a chance to monitor standards.

Why shouldn't pupils and parents have a chance to see their class teacher demonstrate good handwriting, spelling, punctuation, grammar and phrasing?

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