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After an exercise of creating fictional scenarios of students with different personalities, strengths, weaknesses and family backgrounds, I created fictional report cards using the sample CCE report card for each of them which would reflect their yearly performance. This helped me in identifying the issues, both in filling the report card as well as the perception it creates about the student’s performance. Based on this experience, I have highlighted problems within the current report card system.

Report Card Analysis-01 Report Card Analysis-02 Report Card Analysis-03 Report Card Analysis-04Apart from the key critical questions being raised about the representation and perception of student performance in the CCE system, these visual design observations would help design a report card that informs students and parents about student performance clearly, without any miscommunication. The focus of the report card should be on aiding the student learning process, therefore there can be no room for any kind of ambiguity in the message that is being sent from the school to the parents. Students also need to take ownership of their learning, and the report card could be a useful tool in that process as well.

 

In a meeting with my guide, Tarun mentioned that it would be a good idea to fill the report card for each of the students from my scenarios based on their profile that I had created. While doing this, I realized for the first time that even putting a few alphabets in a printed file out of excel can be highly confusing, and frustrating. I only had to fill the report cards for five students–I can’t even begin to imagine the effort it takes (out of school) to fill report cards of a minimum of 40 students for every teacher.

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While filling the report card, a few problems became very obvious. I began to see how there really need not be any connection between the student’s performance and what is being shown on the report card. If the report card were an abstract representation of student performance, the amount of abstraction is extremely high, leaving out necessary details which show an incomplete picture.

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What this represents is a generic picture of the student as per his / her personality.

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One of the things that gave me a hard time while filling the report card was the three different kinds of grading systems being used for different indicators. The non-uniformity makes it hard to perceive the actual value of what is being represented.

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After a brief meeting with my guide, Tarun, he suggested that it would be a good idea to build some scenarios to identify the different archetypes of students we would be designing for, their family background and personality traits.

Scenario 1: Nandan Sharma

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Family Background: Lives with parents & grandmother in Dehradun. Nandan has no siblings. His father is a bank manager and mother is a house wife.

Personality: Nandan loves football & playing outside. He is not inclined towards technology. He is generally shy of girls in his school. He attends Bal Bharti sessions in the local Sai Baba ashram with his grandmother.

Academic Performance: Gets an overall average grade of B, standing about 8th to 10th in his class. Scores in sciences & maths but loses marks in social studies and languages. Finds it hard to remember lengthy answers, as his attention span is less. More inclined towards sports, and other hands on work.

Parents’ Perspective: Given his performance, parents think that he would end up doing commerce or arts although he shows more interest and scores higher in the science subjects. Tuition for social studies is not common in the city. Most parents send their children for science tuitions so Nandan’s parents are unsure what to do.

Teachers’ Perspective: Teachers in his school do not take much interest in his learning process. They say that he could do better if he worked harder, but nothing in specific that could help him. Monthly parent-teacher meetings do not take place.

Scenario 2: Aarti Duggal

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Family Background: Aarti’s father is an electrical engineer working with BHEL. Her mother is an income tax officer. Both of them come back home from the office only after 6/7 PM. Her elder brother just finished Mechanical Engineering from Bangalore, so he’s never at home either.

Personality: She is heavily influenced by Punk Rock. Loves writing lyrics and singing. Maintains an online blog where she writes about her feelings and anecdotes from her daily life. Feels different from her peers, especially girls. Portrays a loner image to the world. Reads Japanese Manga and is an ardent lover of cats.

Academic Performance: Shuffles between C+ & B grades. Gets average marks in all subjects, but she hates maths. Highly distracted in the classroom. Wants to do something in music but is not very talented nor have any opportunities come her way.

Parents’ Perspective: Mother is worried that Aarti is not traditional enough & does not help out in household activities. Since she works, she comes back home very tired and has little time for Aarti. Father also likes music so Aarti feels much closer to him. The family does not have much time for each other. Hence, things go on as they are.

Teachers’ Perspective: Teachers don’t have much to say about Aarti as she has never been the center of any attention and keeps her distance from everyone in school.

Scenario 3: Karan Garg

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Family Background: Father is a businessman—has a garment store franchise. Mother is a housewife who runs a home creche for children. Younger brother is 10 years old and in the same school.

Personality: Loves studying and reading. Has won two National Olympiads already. Introvert but has his own group of friends who he is close to. Finds it easy enough to excel in the class and is highly competitive in nature. Plays computer games in his free time.

Academic Performance: Consistently gets A and above. He is very particular about school work and is usually engrossed in it all the time. No extra-curricular or physical activities.

Parents’ Perspective: Parents are satisfied by Karan’s performance. Father wants him to become a doctor. Mother wants him to do a MBA. They have enrolled him into olympiad classes, coaching for medical entrances as well as MBA entrance tests.

Teachers’ Perspective: Teachers are very proud of Karan, and they insist that he should do either medicine or an MBA as well.

Scenario 4: Neha Singhal

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Family Background: Father has a small electrical store in East Delhi. Mother is a teacher in the same school where Neha studies. Lives with 2 sisters & grandparents from father’s side. She is the eldest.

Personality: Very homely, loves being with family. Takes care of the house, grandparents & sisters with all her heart. Loves to cook. She is very respectful of her family. Hardly goes out with her friends.

Academic Performance: She doesn’t perform well in school. Gets C/D grades. Wants to do home science. Interested in SUPW / knitting. Intimidated by others in the class who have fancy gadgets and cars, and they also seem to be better than her in class.

Parents’ Perspective: Mother concerned with Neha’s performance as other teachers ask her consistently about her daughter’s performance. They say that she is a lovable and an affectionate child but her priorities are misplaced. Father is burdened as he will have to take responsibility for 3 daughters and his parents. It is hard to manage at home. They are not sure of career options for Neha.

Teachers’ Perspective: Teachers complain to Neha’s mother about her performance. She’s quiet and shy in class and respectful of teachers but does not study hard enough.

 

Scenario 5: Ankur Tewari

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Family Background: Father is a Major in the Army and is mostly out of town. Mother is a house wife who takes English tuitions on a part time basis. He has no siblings. They have two servants at home.

Personality: Ankur is a brat—spoilt at home, disrespectful and bossy. He always has all the latest gadgets and toys. He is the “cool” kid of the class.

Academic Performance: Scores B and above in all subjects. Studies right before the exams, mugs up the answers and manages to get enough marks.

Parents’ Perspective: Both parents expect more out of Ankur as they feel they are putting in a lot for him. Mother is very protective of her child and does not listen to the teachers’ complaints about his bad behaviour in class. He is never let out of his comfort zone. They pamper him at home. All his demands are met with ease.

Teachers’ Perspective: Teachers constantly complain about bad behaviour and that Ankur disrupts class proceedings all the time. They can’t do much because the parents don’t seem to care.