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  • Writer's pictureAnoushka Kukreja

Report Cards From Around the World

(and what students think of them!)

Report Cards have been an important aspect of our education system for quite some time now. One cannot imagine school life without the immense dread of awaiting your report card, regardless of your performance.

Is this a universal feeling we all experience? Students from different countries have put forward their views on these mere pieces of paper that seem to decide your future for you, and how they impact their overall growth. 

A report card from Kazakhstan

Venera hails from Kazakhstan, which offers a unique cultural experience and access to quality education with diverse academic programs. “We don't necessarily have report cards”, Venera details, talking about how their grades are published in a report and only given to them at the end of the year. Students in Kazakhstan don't receive their report cards every exam, and grades and concerns are communicated to their parents or guardians in a meeting every term.

Students inherently do better when their grades aren't constantly compared to the other students, which is a plus point of the system in Kazakhstan. Venera reasons that maybe the system is better for student mental health. “We have all our grades on the website so there's no need to have them on paper,” says Amina, also from Kazakhstan. Digitisation is necessary in our modern age, and especially when it comes to academic transcripts. 

A report card from Nepal

“Report cards are necessary because they evaluate an individual and their capabilities in different subjects and also on various other activities”, shares Samidha from Nepal. When asked in what ways report cards should change, Samidha talks of how a report card should not only reflect grades but also other aspects of a student.

“Grades might be one part of a student, but not all that is to a student. It does not evaluate character.” There are multiple ways a student’s expertise in a subject can be portrayed rather than just assessments. Catering to different students and their learning capabilities would better the education system by a lot. 

Samidha goes on to provide wonderful insights on what else schools should assess in their students.

“There's so many parts to consider. Do you have empathy, or like to help people? Are you practical when presented with new situations? Can you deal with new surroundings? Can you take risks or innovate and learn to utilise your skills in the modern world?” 

She asked for more tailored and detailed report carts which can help students progress in their studies rather than just being a summary of grades. 

A report card from Cameroon

Jiotsa Paule from Cameroon seems to have similar opinions. 

“I think report cards don't do a very good job portraying the strengths or difficulties of a student.” 

They agree that they do help monitor student progress but can be very demoralising. 

"Report cards in my country contain your grades and next to them certain letters for different things. For example, 90% would mean an X written next to your grade to mean excellent.”

Paule states that they lack detailed comments on why a student achieved a certain grade, and advocates for more details on why a student achieved a certain performance. In Cameroon, report cards are given very often and Paule argues that their effectiveness lies in that fact as they can frequently help you monitor your progress. 

Aditi from India talks about how report cards are a necessary way for people to see how your teacher’s view you and has your grades organised in one place, making applying for universities and colleges an easier experience.

“We are given student feedback along with our grades on the report card, which is a great system. What makes them ineffective is that although your skills are graded, you aren't fully able to understand why you got that grade. Oftentimes the teacher’s remark is less and the feedback is superficial.” 

A report from the Philippines, illustrating the letters to rate a subject

Miho from the Philippines, where grades are given in the form of letters upto higher grades instead of transitioning to numbers, talks about the advantages of having such a system.

“It's effective as it helps students be less anxious about their grade, considering it isn't numerical. Sometimes it can be counterintuitive, though. In the end, it's how students are trained to react to academic scores, and not the report cards.” 

While Miho agrees that the report card system can be effective in overall growth, they do state that mental health breaks are a must. “We had these (mental health breaks) before during the pandemic but they stopped. They helped students tremendously in terms of energy recharge which helps them be more productive.”

Aliz, who has studied in a total of four countries: Hungary, England, Netherlands and Spain, talks about how a lot of aspects can make report cards more or less effective.

“I think there's too much pressure put on report cards and students tend to tie their worth to one. The idea sounds great about how one can see their progress and what to improve on. In regards to all the countries I've lived in, Report Cards generally revolve around how much you can remember and memorise rather than fully understanding each subject.” 

They continue to state that the difficulty levels of the education system also impact how effective report cards can be. Different approaches to education must have different ways to present their evaluation systems for the maximum productivity of students.

Lubainah from Pakistan expressed insights on how colour and presentation of a report card can impact a student’s reaction to it. “I feel that report cards should have more colour, studies show that brighter colours support a positive outlook. This can help relax the student’s tense nerves.” 

Emamah, also from Pakistan talks about formatting a report card as well. “I think they help record progress, but the way they are formatted is not helpful. Rather than grades, they should be filled with more feedback.” 

Aleksandra hails from Russia, where a 5-point scale is used for each subject. She shared, “Honestly, I think report cards are quite convenient, but five-point scale is not, as it can't give you full understanding of how you did your job. Maybe a ten-point scale would be more effective.” 

She goes on to state how report cards tend to make students feel more stressed rather than enjoy their learning. She talks about how they do encourage students to score higher, but they aren't about the knowledge you receive. Grades shouldn’t be given a higher importance. “It would be good to see which activities I’ve had during the year, like debates or science projects. This way report cards would represent what type of student you are''

Report cards from around the world might be different, but the students’ sentiment is the same. Having more feedback-oriented report cards catered to students and different learning methods can be more effective in how students improve on their learning. Building curiosity and genuine interest rather than inculcating fear can go a long way in nurturing the leaders of our tomorrow.

Written by Anoushka Kukreja

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