LETTERS: Report-writing for individuals

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The Independent Online
From Mr Jeremy Hodges

Sir: As a teacher who hates writing reports, I read with interest Hilary Wilce's article, "Teachers, you could try harder" (27 July).

She was correct to assume that teachers spend hours and hours writing reports and dream about the "good old days" when good/satisfactory/poor was all that was written on a report. These words, however, make a comparison to some norm. What norm do we compare the child to? The rest of his peers in the country? If this is the case, in all likelihood the child will be considered average or poor. Is this how we wish to brand the next generation?

The original ethos of the National Curriculum was to take education away from norm referencing and bring in criterion referencing or, in simpler terms, celebrate the positive. Each and every child is an individual and this is what he or she can do. Who cares about the rest?

Of course it would be lovely to bathe in the reflected glory of a son/daughter who achieves "excellent" throughout, but what about the majority?

Ms Wilce tells of her son who achieved 70 per cent in a physics test and was chastised for not competing. In most people's book 70 per cent is very good but, if the child is capable of better, who is she fooling?

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Hodges