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This Dad Made a ‘Report Card’ for His Autistic Daughter to Prove Grades Aren’t Everything

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When Shane Jackson’s 10-year-old daughter, who is on the autism spectrum, came home with low-grades on her report card, he decided to make a new report card for her. Instead of grading her on academic subjects, Jackson’s report card was about his daughter’s personality and interests.

Jackson said his daughter, Sophie, was upset over the grades and felt she had let everyone down. Shane showed her that there are other things he loves about her. He gave her A’s for being funny, having a good imagination, drawing and more.

Report cards generally show a grade for each class and rarely share details about a student’s non-academic strengths. For students who don’t test well or learn differently, standard report cards can miss the things they do excel in.

Mighty contributor Rachel Zook shared these sentiments in a piece about what her daughter’s report card doesn’t show.

Report cards do not tell about the many afternoons she spends at the kitchen table working on writing her letters, sight words and numbers. That piece of paper leaves out that last year she barely spoke and now she speaks in small sentences and can repeat most words and sounds she hears when she is able to focus and hear clearly.

In 2016, a teacher in England, Mrs. Clarkson, wrote a letter to a student on the spectrum after he did not pass a high school placement exam.

“A very important piece of information I want you to understand is that these tests only measure a little bit of you and your abilities,” Clarkson wrote in the letter. “They are important and you have done so well, but Ben Twist is made up of many other skills and talents that we at Lansbury Bridge see and measure in other ways.”

Report cards only show one type of progress. They don’t, and shouldn’t, define students. As for Sophie, her father’s report card led her to make one for her dad, though he clearly has some room for improvement. Shane tweeted that the “B” in funny was meant to be encouraging.

Originally published: June 29, 2018
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