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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!

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