Teachers have until April 27 to complete and file second-term report cards, with the expectation the documents will be delivered to the province by month’s end, the Labour Relations Board has ruled.
The board also ruled Friday that teachers will complete a final report at the end of June.
The ruling says April reports can be abridged forms of what parents would typically get. For Grades 4 to 12 students, teachers will provide comments if there has been a significant change in student progress since the last term.
With students in kindergarten to Grade 3, reports must cover achievement in six subjects such as language arts, arithmetic and social studies but school districts could develop a checklist instead, the ruling says.
Kamloops-Thompson School District Supt. Terry Sullivan said the ruling puts a lot of pressure on teachers to complete report cards in a mere seven days, but is in line with administrators’ expectations.
In March, Sullivan asked teachers to start working on report cards with the expectation the assessments would be completed at the end of the second reporting period, which is late April, he said.
“However, I know they’ve been receiving different advice from the BCTF (B.C. Teachers’ Federation) in respect to that,” said Sullivan.
Some teachers might have started work on the report cards to avoid a last-minute time crunch, he said. But many more likely haven’t.
“It certainly compresses the time frame they have to get them completed,” he said.
Sullivan said the pressure will also be on principals to sign off on the assessments by April 30.
BCTF president Susan Lambert pledged teachers will comply with the ruling, but the union is disappointed by the decision. She said allegations that parents aren’t being kept up to date on their sons’ or daughters’ progress are false.
“Struggling students have been identified far before this. You don’t wait until the end of April to identify struggling students,” said Lambert.
In that light, the province’s push to have teachers complete report cards is nothing more than a display of power, she said.
But school board chair Denise Harper said some parents have felt like they’ve been kept out of the loop on their child’s progress. For that reason alone, the LRB’s decision is a sound one.
“It’s a good thing,” said Harper.
Education Minister George Abbott said he’s pleased with the labour board ruling and that some school districts, including North Vancouver, have already issued the abridged report cards.
“In many cases districts had reached agreements with their teachers’ associations about the issuance of report cards until the BCTF mothership moved in and said that can’t be done,” he said.