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Is a child's annual report a true reflection of their abilities?

Is a child's annual report a true reflection of their abilities?

Jo, Solihull

A. Are you kidding? Of course an end of year report can't be a complete reflection of a child's ability and achievements.

Many achievements, musical, sporting, dramatic, happen outside school. But a report does give some indication of a child's progress through the year.

A good report should reflect progress in skills and knowledge, giving parents an idea of the child's mastery of, and attitude to, their studies.

It should also celebrate a pupil's success.

Above all, indicators of social interaction can be helpful to parents and are as much a part of a child's education as the academic.

Angie, Guernsey

A. Reports can be an accurate reflection of pupil behaviour, performance and potential. But too often we damn with faint praise or hide behind empty generalities. Tell it like it is - warts and all - and the report will have meaning and impact.

Keith, Brighton

A. The use of computer generated statements has made report writing less onerous and time consuming, but also less personal. Teachers are limited to a list of phrases and rely on nuance and implication to get their message across.

A fellow teacher may understand the real meaning behind the use of phrases such as "satisfactory progress", but a translation is needed for the average parent.

Paul, West Malling, Kent

A. Of course a child's annual report is not an accurate reflection of their ability. But it is good preparation for the adult world, in which neither employers' references or staff appraisals are accurate either.

Feedback on performance, almost regardless of the context, is always subjective and partial.

Sheila, Worthing

COMING UP

Do detentions ever work or are they old-fashioned and pointless?

I have heard that some schools have "soft" rooms where violent pupils can go wild without hurting themselves or anyone else. How does your school respond toJthese children?

Send your answer or any question you would like answered by fellow teachers to askateac-her@tes.co.uk. We pay pound;30 for questions or answers published.

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