Report Cards and Progress Reports

Today’s topic for Throwback Thursday is report cards and progress reports. I am going to write mostly about traditional report cards in school, not the many psychological reports I had written about me during my childhood and adolescence.

Looking back, I was a good student academically, but it didn’t show on my report cards during elementary school. I attended special education and my teachers didn’t really believe I was more than just average intellectually. In fact, when I had a nationally standardized test in the sixth grade, the school’s principal called my parents in utter disbelief to tell them I had gotten a very high score. My father was like, duh, I told you so.

My behavior did get reported on. Though I had severe social and emotional challenges, I always got average ratings on those things that mattered to the teachers. I remember one day feeling disappointed when my rating on “correct behavior” had been lowered from the previous report card even though as far as I knew I hadn’t made mistakes about addressing the teachers formally.

In high school, I did get actual grades. Not letters here in the Netherlands, but numbers between one (worst) and ten (perfect). In my first year at grammar school, I got a lot of tens. These did get my classmates envious, so sometimes I’d argue for a lower grade. For instance, I had a ten on a drawing theory test and I hadn’t done any of the other drawing assignments because, well, I’m blind. Initially, I got a ten on my report card because that was the only grade I had. My classmates protested and my father and I agreed. Then the grade got lowered to an eight, reflecting the fact that I’d gotten a ten on that test and a six (barely passing) on drawing in general just for participating in the class.

Once in my third year, I was rebelling and hardly studying at all, so I did earn a few ones. One time, in my fifth year in high school (eleventh grade), I got a one in French for not doing an assignment because I’d had to do it with a partner and I hadn’t been able to find a partner, because I’d felt too anxious to ask anyone.

I wasn’t really punished harshly for failing grades or rewarded for good grades, but I did know I was expected to excel. Often, my parents made me do extra work, particularly before I was mainstreamed at grammar school.

My best subjects in elementary school were math and geography. In high school, those changed to languages, because high school math requires much more non-verbal intelligence and insight, something I don’t have. My best grade on my final high school exam was in English.

Now, as an adult, I do have an English-language blog, but I don’t think I learned to blog in high school. After all, despite the fact that grammar school is the highest level high school, I really wasn’t all that good at English after graduation. Other than English, I don’t use anything I learned in school really. I mean, during my year in special ed secondary school, textile arts was my worst subject and now I like to do macrame. Go figure.

21 thoughts on “Report Cards and Progress Reports

    1. Thank you so much. To be honest, most of it is self-taught via the Internet. Like I said in my post, I could hardly write a proper blog post when graduating from high school and that’s after at least six years of education. I think ESL education is improving, but it wasn’t up to where it should be back in my day.

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  1. Astrid, I agree with John. Your English is exceptional. I cannot speak another language, but I wish I could. I studied Latin in school. I appreciate you taking the time to respond today. It was very interesting to read your post.

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    1. I studied Latin (and ancient Greek for a while) in school too. That’s what sets grammar schools apart from the other type of highest level high school here. I originally loved Latin, but the longer I studied it (I took it for six years), the less enthusiastic I became about it. In the end, I agree with my father, who worked at my grammar school but himself went to the other type of highest level high school, that learning Latin and Greek is only good to prove that you have the determination to learn something completely useless.

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  2. I always did well on english too. I enjoyed creative writing, and writing essays and poetry. I hate my own language, irish. I hated learning it in school and I have always been terrible at it. X

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    1. Oh, you still learned Irish in school? I had no idea. I thought the Irish language had pretty much gone extinct in the early 20th century. As for creative writing, I enjoyed it too, but we didn’t do that much in school. I don’t particularly like my own native language, Dutch, either, especially for writing.

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  3. Astrid, please excuse my not already knowing that English is not your first language. You write beautifully. I am pleased that you chose to join us again. I am a little confused at your being expected to draw if you could not see. It sounds like you and your dad found a way to make some sense out of it though.

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    1. I had no idea it wasn’t obvious English was my second language. I mean, my vocabulary isn’t great and as a result, I use a lot of the same words. I am trying to change that by using a thesaurus or dictionary.

      Oh yes, I forgot to explain about the drawing. I did have a tiny bit of vision at the time, so for my first few lessons, I drew with giant felt tips. Then, my teacher got me special paper that was raised when I drew on it. I still couldn’t draw anything other than like a child’s stick figures or houses or whatever, so I got a six for participating.

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