What do you think of when you hear those words? When I hear them, my mind travels back to my Catholic elementary-school days, when our pastor came into our classrooms to hand out report cards. I remember him calling us up to him one at a time and going over our grades and teachers’ comments before handing us those trifold report cards.
Those long-forgotten memories came flooding back to me today when I read an e-mail from my daughter’s Catholic elementary school, which said report cards would be available online after 3 p.m. At 3:05 I dutifully pulled up the school’s website, went through the usual routine of resetting my forgotten password and accessed her report card.
It’s a glowing report card, and I am very pleased to know my daughter is excelling in preschool and that she is, as her teacher wrote, "a hard worker and a kind friend." As I read over the assessment, however, I couldn’t help but think about the physical differences between this digital-only report card and the paper ones I received in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I actually texted my siblings and two close friends to make sure my memories of Report Card Day were correct, and after confirming my recollections, one friend wondered why the pastor went over the report cards with us.
I don’t know, but my best guess is this distribution method encouraged a certain accountability in students when they knew the pastor would be looking over their grades. Since my daughter is only in her first year of preschool, I don’t know if Catholic schools still distribute report cards to older students this way. It seems almost quaint in this digital age, but a little bit of accountability probably is not a bad thing.