A 'relic' in the EU: Czech primary schools' new report card shifts focus from grades

Czechia's new report card, primarily focusing students' strengths and progress with grades secondary, could go into use later this year.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 22.01.2024 13:00:00 (updated on 22.01.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Experts from Masaryk University's Faculty of Education in Brno have developed a new report card (vysvědčení) for Czech primary schools, emphasizing verbal evaluations by teachers based on specific criteria. Jana Kratochvílová, one of the project's authors, said in a press briefing that the primary focus lies on assessing students' strengths and progress, with grades being secondary.

The current report card, deemed incomplete by the faculty, fails to adequately represent students' skills and abilities. Michal Černý, the director of the Ministry of Education's Department of Preschool and Basic Education, stated that the ministry aims for schools to implement this new type of certificate by the end of the current school year.

The university invested three years in crafting the innovative certificate, collaborating with teachers from various elementary schools experienced in verbal assessments.

"Together with pupils, parents, and teachers, we verified it in three versions, based on mapping school needs, analyzing report cards from developed countries, and incorporating feedback from parents. We built our vision on this," said Kratochvílová.

She emphasized that the report card intends to transform the relationship between students and teachers, fostering a supportive learning environment rather than being a year-end formality.

The six-page report card dedicates one side to behavior, addressing self-conduct and interactions with others. Teachers provide comments on adherence to rules and recognition of inappropriate behavior. The report then delves into individual subjects, with a final page focused on self-evaluation.

Ten elementary schools actively participated in the report card's development. Karla Černá, director of Ivančice-Řeznovice Elementary School and Kindergarten, expressed enthusiasm for the innovative approach, stating, "This is a simplification for us." Another participating school's director, Martina Raiserová, highlighted the shift in teachers' mindset and the positive impact on their approach to student assessment.

The Faculty of Education indicates widespread interest from dozens of elementary schools and multi-year high schools in adopting the new report card format. The ministry plans to incorporate it into the official decree, enabling schools to implement this report card format in the current school year.

While schools will have a choice, the ministry envisions eliminating grades from the report cards of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades in the future, with Černý calling them a "relic" in the European Union.

According to Černý, approximately one-tenth of schools in the Czech Republic currently use verbal evaluations, with the ministry preparing changes to exempt secondary schools from requiring grades for admissions. However, elementary schools must provide grades if requested by the secondary schools.

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