Report Cards and Pupils' Progress Reports

New standardized report cards were introduced for elementary school pupils by the Department of Education during the 1938-39 school year. The report cards were accompanied by explanatory letters addressed to parents. Both the report cards and the explanatory letters were couched in the language of progressivism.

Letter to Parents

"Progress in the fundamental subjects are of great importance, but each child has his own rate of growth. His progress, therefore, should be considered in relation to his own ability. This report, accordingly, avoids the making of comparisons between one pupil and another. It stresses rather the development of the child’s own personality and his progress in school subjects and skills. Stress is laid upon growth in such matters as health habits, the ability to work and play with others, the ability to think for oneself and stay with a task, and the ability to distinguish between right and wrong....

If the report is a good one, please give your child a word of praise; if the report is not good, please confer with the teacher or principal and help to find the remedy for whatever is unsatisfactory in work or conduct."

[Annual Report of the Public Schools, 1938/39, p. H32.]

Revised report cards for junior and senior high school students were introduced by the Department of Education in the 1939-40 school year. The department's Note to Parents of high school students also resonates with a "progressive" tone:

"The aim of education is to provide the child with an opportunity to acquire knowledge, habits, and skills, and to develop traits, attitudes, and ideals that will enable him to live usefully and happily. Your co-operation with the school in fostering such growth will aid your child’s progress."

[Annual Report of the Public Schools, 1939/40, p. B30.]