Jay Gupta ('20)
On September 24th, 2018, progress reports, a representation of a student’s academic standing a quarter of the way through the semester, cast a shadow upon the Webb community. For different people around the school, progress reports represent different things.
So, what exactly are progress reports? Other than the obvious academic and effort indicators that they communicate to students and parents, progress reports break down a student’s conduct in a class. The teacher rates a student’s conduct based on two general categories: class preparation/study habits and in-class performance. Within those categories are a number of subcategories, where teachers can rate a student as “always” doing what is outlined in the subcategory, “usually”, “sometimes”, or never completing what is outlined.
For me specifically, progress reports are an important snapshot of how well a student is doing academically. However, progress reports can invoke discouragement, especially for students who are working hard in a class and end up with a grade that they were not expecting. Still, progress reports are a crucial reminder for students, giving them perspective on what classes they need help with early in the semester.
For some, such as advisors, progress reports serve as an early indication of a student’s academic performance in their classes, as well as their effort. However, progress reports can decrease a student’s motivation; for some, low grades in their progress reports decrease their confidence throughout the year.
Andrew Hamilton, Lead Class Advisor for the WSC Freshman class said, “I have been worried that a student would get discouraged seeing low grades, but I think that it is important to get a check-in to see that they have struggled in a class, and acknowledge it. But, I do think that it is a very important check-in, but I don’t see any reason why the benefits would be outweighed by any possible negatives.”
Health counsellors at Webb believe in the positive nature of progress reports. Daniel Rios, a health counsellor and WSC advisor, said, “Progress reports are important for students because they help students resolve problems that they might have with classes early on, rather than students stressing later in the quarter.”
Administrators at Webb, such as Sarah Lantz, the VWS Dean of Students, express that progress reports are an important indicator of a student’s academic standing in conjunction with their effort in their courses. Moreover, she argues that progress reports are an important step in communicating with a student’s parents about their progress at Webb. Though Ms. Lantz acknowledges the potential stress and discouragement caused by progress reports, she argues that progress reports are a crucial indicator of one’s academic standing, prior to quarter reports, which significantly factor into a student’s semester grade, while progress reports are just meant to give parents and students a snapshot into the student’s academic performance one-fourth of the way through the semester.
All in all, progress reports serve as a positive representation of a student’s work ethic, grade, and in-class habits a quarter of the way through the semester. Though they may cause anxiety, progress reports prevent stress in the future by giving students who may be struggling in a class an early reminder to “shape-up.” In short, their positives outweigh any potential negatives.