Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a condensed version of the FAQs found in the Educator Section of this website. The information in these FAQs is intended to assist School Administrators in supporting their staff in implementing the policies in Growing Success (2010) and Growing Success the Kindergarten Addendum (2016).

Elementary Report Card (Grades 1-8)
  1. On the Elementary Provincial Report Card, how many strands must teachers report on for Language in January/February and June?

For Language, four strands are reported on in January/February and four strands in June.

  1. If students receive Core French in Grades 1-3, do teachers have to report on all four strands?

The Core French program is mandatory from Grades 4 to 8 for all students in English-language elementary schools. Some school boards have chosen to offer the Core French program in early grades based on local demand and resources. The decision on which strands and expectations to address, assess and report on in Grades 1, 2, 3 Core French is a local decision. If a board makes a decision to only assess and report on the listening and speaking strands in Grades 1, 2, 3, the teacher should leave the mark box beside the other two strands blank. An explanatory comment should be provided.

  1. With Growing Success, are we to follow the six week rule for all three report periods, or just for report period 1 and 2?

As stated on page 49 of Growing Success, both the elementary Progress Report Card and the elementary Provincial Report Card are placed in the student’s OSR. Also, on page 53, policy states that there are three formal reporting periods for elementary schools. Therefore, the six week rule applies for all three reporting periods. Guidelines regarding the six week rule can be found in Section 3.2 of the Ontario Student Record (OSR) Guideline, 2000.

  1. What information is permitted in the unlabelled space on the Elementary Provincial Report Card?

t is required that for Mathematics for Grades 1 to 8, at least four of the five strands are to be reported in Report 1; at least four of the five strands are to be reported on Report 2. Each of the five strands for Mathematics must be reported on at least once.

Some District School Boards may provide additional direction as to which strands are reported for each reporting period.

  1. What is the reporting policy for Mathematics on the Elementary Provincial Report Cards for
    Grades 1 to 8?

It is required that for the Arts for Grades 1 to 8, at least three of the four strands must be reported in Report 1; at least three of the four strands must be reported in Report 2. Each of the four strands must be reported on at least once each year.

English Language Learners (ELL)
  1. If modifications are made for an ESL/ELD learner, is there a required statement that must appear on the Report Card?

No specific statement is required in the comments section when the ESL/ELD box is checked. The statement quoted on p. 61 of Growing Success refers only to the modifications of curriculum expectations related to the IEP for students with special education needs. This is a change in policy from the past and has been made because modifications for students with language learning needs are usually made on a more temporary basis.

However, for an English language learner, both the ESL/ELD and IEP boxes can be checked to indicate that modifications have been made to address both English language learning needs and special education needs. In this situation, the relevant parts of this statement would be included in the comments: “This (letter grade/percentage mark) is based on achievement of expectations in the IEP that vary from the Grade X expectations (and/or) are an (increase/decrease) in the (number and/or complexity) of curriculum expectation.”

  1. Can teachers assign a mark of “zero”?

Our priority is to help students succeed and learn in Ontario classrooms. The ministry does not have a policy against providing a grade of ‘0’. We emphasize the importance of providing grades that accurately reflect student achievement. Students are responsible for submitting work on time; there are to be consequences for work not submitted or for cheating and plagiarizing. If in their professional judgment it is appropriate to do so, teachers may deduct marks, up to the full value of the assignment, which may include a grade of ’0’.

However, the goal must be to motivate and facilitate completion of work and improve learning. Mark deduction should not result in a percentage mark at the completion of a unit, term, semester or year that, in the professional judgement of the teacher, misrepresents the student’s actual achievement.

It is expected that teachers and school teams will use a variety of strategies to ensure that students submit their assignments for evaluation and meet timelines. Boards must work with their schools and communities to develop specific policies to deal with late or non-submitted work, but those policies must align with ministry policy as described in Growing Success.

Individual Education Plan (IEP)
  1. Under what conditions can a teacher check the “progressing with difficulty” box on the Progress Report Card for students with IEPs?

There is no rule in Growing Success restricting the use of “progressing with difficulty” for students with IEPs. The purpose of both the Progress Report and the Provincial Report Card is to ensure that students and parents receive clear information about student’s performance based on the program outlined in the IEP. However, if “progressing with difficulty” is selected for a student with an IEP, it may indicate a need to revisit the accommodations on the IEP itself. Strategies regarding adjustments to IEPs can be found on page 74 of Growing Success under the section titled, “Ongoing Assessment and Program Adjustment.”

  1. How can educators share concerns they may have about a child’s progress, on the Communication of Learning report?

The Kindergarten Program (2016) acknowledges that young children grow and develop at different rates; children enter the Kindergarten program at different stages of development and with diverse backgrounds and experiences – and they will leave it at different stages and at different points in their growth in relation to the program expectations (page 43). When developing comments, educators should communicate their observations of key learning and growth in learning, and identify next steps in learning, in relation to the overall expectations of The Kindergarten Program.
More information about communicating enduring, evidence-based concerns can be found in the revised draft guide for Kindergarten Educators, Communicating with Parents about Children’s Learning.

  1. What is the role of the educators (teachers and ECEs) in communicating information about children’s learning?

All educators work together, as part of the educator team, to plan and implement the program and to maintain a healthy physical, emotional, and social learning environment. All educators contribute to the observation, monitoring and assessment of each child’s learning, that is, the process of communicating information about learning.

  1. Do we have to report on math and literacy every reporting period?

Growing Success - the Kindergarten Addendum (2016) states, "Educators will use their professional judgement, supported by information provided in The Kindergarten Program, to determine which specific expectations will be used to evaluate growth and learning in relation to the overall expectations within each frame, and which ones will be accounted for in instruction and assessment but not necessarily evaluated." (page 10)

Growing Success - the Kindergarten Addendum also states that, "Communication with parents about a child's learning should be ongoing throughout the school year and should include a variety of formal and informal means, ranging from formal written reports to informal notes, conversations, and discussions." (page 12)

Educators have the opportunity to provide a comprehensive picture of a child's learning related to demonstrating literacy and mathematics behaviours during the reporting period without relying solely on the Communication of Learning, which is only one piece of the communication process in Kindergarten. For example, using professional judgment, a teacher may wish to report on growth and next steps in mathematical behaviours, and a key learning in literacy behaviours. A teacher might also decide, using professional judgment, that for a particular reporting period, for example, comments will focus on mathematical behaviours. Information about learning related to literacy behaviours may have already been communicated to parents by other means during the reporting period.

  1. How many expectations need to be reported on in each frame, for each reporting period?

Growing Success - The Kindergarten Addendum (2016)focuses on the communication of key learning, growth in learning and possible next steps.

Educators are encouraged to work as a team to analyse the pedagogical documentation they have collected for each child to determine which program expectations best reflect the learning of that child during a particular reporting period. This information will inform what is reported on in each frame for each child, for each reporting period.

Educators communicate key learning, growth in learning and next steps with families in a variety of ways -- both formal and informal -- over the course of the school year.

By the end of the two year program, children should have demonstrated growth in learning in all of the overall expectations.

Median Reporting
  1. How should the course median be calculated? Should the medians of semestered courses be separated from non-semestered courses? What about different course types, such as early completion, credit recovery, e-learning, and co-op?

The course median is calculated for all students taking the course. Semestered and non-semestered courses should have separate medians since students are at different points in the course when Report Cards are issued. Students taking the course through e-learning are included in the calculation of the median. The Ministry is currently giving further consideration to this issue and how marks and medians for students in e-learning courses are entered on Report Cards and the Ontario Student Transcripts. A cooperative education course and the related course are listed as separate entries on the Report Card and OST, using the name of the related course and its course code for both courses. The cooperative education course is identified by the inclusion of “co-op” after the course name and, on the OST, by the notation “C” in the “Note” column. A median is calculated for the related course. A median should not be calculated for the co-op course and the space for the median on the Report Card for the student taking co-op should be left blank.

A student taking credit recovery should have the final mark recorded on the final secondary Report Card (semestered or non-semestered). That student’s credit recovery mark should not be included in the calculation of the median for the other students taking the course. The space for the median for the credit recovery student on the final Report Card should be left blank. The marks of students doing early completion of a course should be included in the calculation of the median, even though they may complete their work earlier.

Progress Report Card (Grades 1-8)
  1. For the Progress Report Card, can teachers provide the same comment to more than one student?

The guidelines for writing comments are set out in Growing Success, page 64. It is expected that teachers, with the support of their principal, ensure that “personalized comments” are clear, meaningful and precise for each student. Students with similar learning profiles may have comments that are the same or similar, however teachers are required to have evidence to support their comments and assessments.

  1. Can a principal or a board require teachers to comment on all subjects on the Progress Report Card?

In Growing Success, page 2, it states: “Recognizing that the needs and circumstances of individual boards may vary widely, the policy outlined in this document provides flexibility for boards to develop some locally focused guidelines and implementation strategies within parameters for consistency set by the Ministry.”

The parameters for comments on pages 64 and 66 of Growing Success establish that it is expected that principals will support effective practice in writing comments in language that parents will understand, and will ensure that parents have the information they require to interpret their child’s Report Card. While Ministry policy does not require teachers to comment on all subjects/strands, it does not prohibit boards or schools from doing so if the established parameters are being met.

  1. On the Progress Report Card, are “Progressing Very Well, Progressing Well and Progressing with Difficulty” directly aligned with the achievement chart?

The phrases “Progressing Very Well, Progressing Well and Progressing with Difficulty” are new terms and are not meant to be directly aligned with the four levels of the achievement chart, letter grades or percentage marks. The Progress Report Card uses these terms to indicate early on in the school year areas of strength and possible areas for improvement in student learning or in achieving expectations by January/February or June.

The comments section provides teachers, through the use of personalized and meaningful comments, with an opportunity to clarify for students and parents how a student is progressing towards meeting the expectations of the subjects, identify significant strengths, areas of difficulty, next steps for improvement and help parents understand how they can support this progress at home.

Reporting General
  1. What does the code “I” on a student’s Report Card mean?

As stated in Growing Success, page 42, the code “I” indicates that insufficient evidence is available to determine a letter grade or percentage mark on a student’s Report Card.

  1. If a principal feels a particular Report Card does not meet the policy and criteria outlined in Growing Success, can the Report Card be sent out without the principal’s signature?

According to Growing Success, reports must be signed by the principal or his or her representative (usually the vice-principal) before they are sent out to parents. The requirement that the principal sign the Report Card does not mean that the principal must sign every Report Card irrespective of its quality. This practice would be inconsistent with the tone and objective of Growing Success which states that school leaders are to coordinate, support and guide the work of teachers. This particular situation must be resolved between the principal and the teacher. It may also be helpful to refer to the Education Act, Section 265 (1) and Section 264(3) for more information regarding the duties of the principal.

  1. In non-semestered schools, what mark is given to the universities and colleges in February for early admissions?

According to Ministry policy, non-semestered schools are obligated to provide three formal Report Cards to their students. Growing Success stipulates the first Report Card is to be issued in October/November, and the second in March/April. The marks which go to OUAC and OCAS in February are not mandated by the Ministry. They may be taken from the fall Report Card or they may be updated marks submitted by teachers in January. In some cases, non-semestered schools have an additional reporting period in January/February in order to provide the most up to date marks to OUAC and OCAS.

Secondary Report Card (Grades 9-12)
  1. If a student fails the OSSLC grade 12 literacy course, can he/she earn the credit through credit recovery?

The student may be permitted to take the grade 12 literacy course (OSSLC) if they have failed the OSSLT. They cannot take credit recovery as a first response to failing the test.

If the student fails the OSSLC grade 12 literacy course and then requests credit recovery and if the School Credit Recovery Team in their professional judgement believes that the credit recovery program is the most appropriate and educationally sound method for that student to recover the credit then they can give permission for the student to be admitted into the program.

For additional FAQs, please visit this section of our site or feel free to contact us.