No need to sugarcoat! Reactions to progress reviews from my children’s school- Oct 8, 2012

Nothing is more gratifying to a parent than receiving positive feedback about her children. This week, we have received super progress reviews for both Udai and Aadyaa. Shikshantar progress reviews for pre-primary and primary school (and beyond) are descriptive and do not make the grave error of reducing the child’s assessment to a grade or mark. For each child, progress is reported under various heads like math skills, science, language, physical development,  large/fine motor skills, creative skills, personal and emotional development and such like.

I’ve always felt that the progress reviews are way too positive though. You have to really learn to read between the lines to truly understand where your child stands. I’ve brought it up with teachers before, but they insist that I am the doubting parent and my child is really as angelic as the script depicts! In Udai’s case I’m even willing to believe that, but Aadyaa, an angel? Naah! 🙂

Another issue with descriptive reviews is that the quality heavily depends on the judgement powers as well as expressiveness of the reviewer. In Aadyaa’s review for instance, I can clearly see that her usual teacher has not written it. And true enough, when I asked her, Aadyaa told me that didi has been unwell and the other (less experienced) didi has written the reviews. In Udai’s case, the analysis is sharper, reflecting the alertness of his present duo of teachers.

But on the whole, I would rather get this qualitative, detailed feedback for my children rather than something that places them in relation to the rest of their class. For Udai, the review benchmarks the child’s skills against a class average of sorts, denoting whether the child meets, exceeds or falls short of expectations in each area. The level of detail (for language, for instance, spoke, written, comprehension, grammar, fluency, vocabulary are all separately assessed) helps us understand where more work might be needed.

Most importantly, the review helps to gauge progress from the previous semester. To me, that is the most critical aspect. For the self-aware, highly intelligent children of the 21st century, the toughest competition is with the self!

About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on October 8, 2012, in Personal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Shalini Venugopal

    Well summed up Mukta. Both my kids Sanat (who’s in grade four) and Samhita who’s in playgroup have got their progress reviews. While my sons has been done more astutely my daughters is a scream. I know for a fact she’s terribly stubborn and for some reason dislikes the class ayah. Tests boundaries all the time and is a non conformist. Yet her teachers have a different sugar sweet story to tell :-). And no I’am not a doubting parent…I’am just real!

  2. Very interesting.
    First off, am just so happy to hear that Indian education is progressing in the right direction.
    And second, my two penny bit – yes to get the qualitative and EQ angle right, there has to be complete engagement in the children’s holistic education. And in my experience, having highly qualified teachers in this regard makes this whole process so much more effective. As there is a scientific process in such assessments that must be followed – such as using observation, presentation skills, communication, teamwork and general engagement in the learning process as parameters to assess.
    I wonder though, do you have recourse to not accepting an assessment done by “not the main teacher” and insist on getting it redone? I am thinking it is rather unprofessional to get an assistant to write up an important school report, don’t you think?

    • Is not an assistant. They have two teachers per class. Both fully involved. The senior one also taught my daughter last year and her assessment is written in a different way. Many more years of experience inform that. The current one is also qualified and knows my child well. In any case, we discuss the assessment with school in detail and are free to express dissent. Kids in pre school. I wouldn’t get too wound up about her assessments at this stage unless it’s a negative allegation I don’t agree with! The school is one of the very few progressive schools in India and we love it!

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