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Understanding your child's school report

School Reports

Understanding your child’s school report

It’s almost that time of year again! You are only weeks, maybe days away from receiving your child’s semester one school report! But what does A-E grading really mean? How can you really tell what level your child is achieving?

School Report A-E

The following information about School Reports Grade A-E has been taken from the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW  website and it explains how to read your child’s report:

What are standards?

Achievement standards have two important components. These can be thought of in terms of what and how well

  • what students are expected to learn
  • how well they have achieved.

The NSW syllabuses state what students at each stage are expected to learn. The A to E grade scale describes how well students achieve this.

What is the A to E grade scale?

The A to E grade scale summarises the standard (or quality) of achievement associated with each grade. The scale describes:

  • the depth of knowledge and understanding and
  • the range of skills that students working at that standard typically show.

Grades are given for individual achievement. Students will get the grade that best matches the standard of their achievement. Teachers are not limited to set numbers of each grade within their class or school.

Grades are one aspect of school reporting to parents. Other important tools include:

  • teacher comments
  • parent-teacher interviews and
  • information about student effort and application.


About the Common Grade Scale

The Common Grade Scale shown below can be used to report student achievement in both primary and junior secondary years in all NSW schools.

The Common Grade Scale describes performance at each of five grade levels.

A The student has an extensive knowledge and understanding of the content and can readily apply this knowledge. In addition, the student has achieved a very high level of competence in the processes and skills and can apply these skills to new situations.
B The student has a thorough knowledge and understanding of the content and a high level of competence in the processes and skills. In addition, the student is able to apply this knowledge and these skills to most situations.
C The student has a sound knowledge and understanding of the main areas of content and has achieved an adequate level of competence in the processes and skills.
D The student has a basic knowledge and understanding of the content and has achieved a limited level of competence in the processes and skills.
E The student has an elementary knowledge and understanding in few areas of the content and has achieved very limited competence in some of the processes and skills.

Choosing the right grade

Reporting with grades requires that the teacher uses their on-balance judgement in relation to standards. This is a key professional skill.

An on-balance judgement does not just focus on a single piece of work.

They weigh up the assessment information they have collected for a student up to that point in time. This information will come from both formal assessment activities and informal observations and will be built up over time and in different situations.


Reporting to parents

The grades that students receive are only one aspect of the report to parents and students.

Grades need to be supported by:

  • teacher comments both written and verbal
  • other information the school provides on the students achievements, activities, effort and application.


View sample class activities and graded work samples across Early Stage 1 to Stage 3 in the following link http://arc.bostes.nsw.edu.au/go/k-6

The activities and work samples are provided to support assessment and reporting in the primary years: Kindergarten through to Year 6. The work samples show an example of work typical for a grade (A to E or equivalent), assisting primary teachers when allocating grades to their students.

The work samples are all authentic pieces of work from real students. The activities and work samples on the site have come from Board of Studies publications, and from practising teachers in New South Wales.

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