A report card that’s more than just grades

by TAN WEIZHEN

Parents will soon be privy to a lot more information about their children, beyond grades and generic comments by teachers on their school report cards.

In the report cards of the future, teachers will also provide parents with a detailed assessment of the non-academic aspects of the student’s development – the child’s personal qualities, or how he reacts in situations, for instance.

Already piloted at 16 primary schools with Primary 1 and 2 students since last year, such holistic development profiles (HDP) will be rolled out in all primary schools in phases, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat highlighted the HDP at the ministry’s work plan seminar last week, as he signalled a new focus on holistic development beyond academic results.

Under the pilot, each school is free to come up with different non-academic areas in which to teach and evaluate their pupils.

According to principals and teachers, most have a focus on “softer” areas like character and moral development, usually integrated into the curriculum or CCAs, or during “teachable moments”, rather than setting extra time aside for it.

Keming Primary – one of the 16 schools – has six categories: Moral, emotional, social, aesthetic, physical and intellectual.

Principal Kelvin Tay said a student is assessed through a portfolio of work, a personal journal, as well as a report book containing the observations of teachers.

“The school will create opportunities for the pupils to live out these values. It is also about exposing children to an array of experiences at a young age, letting them find out where their strengths lie in,” he said. For example, students have to adopt and upkeep a nearby park.

Meanwhile, at Pasir Ris Primary, the focus is on personal qualities, such as integrity and being resilient.

Head of department for character and citizen education Adila Ong said that building up qualities like self-discipline will help pupils excel in their academic work.

Parents Today spoke to approved of the move, saying it allows them to understand their children better. Ms Regina Wee, 38, parent of a Primary 2 student at Keming Primary, said the school has taught “survival skills”, such as learning how to handle a budget on school trips. “At such a young age, I feel it is important to develop character as a good foundation, over academic,” she said.

– Today Online