Student Records (page 2)

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Oct 11, 2011

Report Cards

A report card is a current record of a student’s scores across the curriculum and the behavior observed for the current period.


  • Many schools now use a standards-based grading system for report cards.
  • The standards-based grading system uses a numerical grading scale (4, 3, 2, 1).
  • Standards-based report cards convey information about the students’ achievement as follows:
    • 4—Exceeds grade-level standards, advanced understanding
    • 3—Meets grade-level standards, proficient understanding
    • 2—Partially meets grade-level standards, basic understanding
    • 1—Does not meet grade-level standards, little understanding
  • Older grading systems use letters (A, B, C, D, F) for report cards.
  • Educators who use standards-based grading find that it enables them to assign grades based on clearly defined expectations.
  • Some parents and students find it difficult to give up letter grades. This is especially true in the upper grades, when students are preparing to apply to colleges.
  • Track students’ progress regularly. This allows you to be well prepared when it is time to assign grades, and it provides evidence to support the students’ scores.
  • Use positive, professional comments. This is standard procedure for legal documentation.
  • Positive comments are better received by parents, often serving as an opening for conversation.
  • The school or district may provide a list of positively phrased comments for you to use.
  • Be as realistic as possible on students’ report cards, but take care to phrase comments in an appropriate and professional manner.
  • Comment on particular skills or achievements for each student, so that parents have more specific information than “Jefferson is doing well in math.”
  • Failure notices or not-meeting-standards notices should be sent home a few weeks before the reporting period ends.
  • Check to see what the policy is for your school. Check with your office about important dates related to report cards and grading, such as the following:
    • Reporting periods
    • Days in the reporting period
    • Warning notice deadline
    • Submission date
    • Conference dates
    • Conference schedule

Grading Methodologies

Anecdotal Notes

Notes and observations about a student’s progress can be kept as anecdotal notes.


  • Make anecdotal notes each day about several of your students.
  • Use Post-it Notes for anecdotal notes, and place these notes in students’ individual folders or transfer them to the student log.
  • Refer to anecdotal notes when conferencing with parents and/or assigning grades.

Student Portfolios

Collections of a student’s best work, chosen by the student, are collected in student portfolios.


  • Have students select their best work from among their writing, math, science, social studies, and art activities for inclusion in either subject portfolios or a single comprehensive portfolio.
  • Share student portfolios at conferences and/or referral meetings.
  • Refer to student portfolios when assigning grades, both for the reporting period and for progress reports.

Variety of Assessments

Both formal and informal assessments demonstrate mastery of grade-level standards.


  • Work with different types of assessments to provide multiple samples of mastery to evaluate. Limiting assessment to just one type isn’t fair to the student.
  • Remember that most curricular programs have assessments embedded in them as a resource.
  • Check with the school office to learn how your district handles periodic assessments.
  • Find out how other teachers at your grade level handle assessments.
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself or your students with too many assessments.
  • Plan ahead. Don’t try to cram several assessments into the week just before your reporting period ends.
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