From Chapter 2 of Good Habits, Good Students:
Hereâ€™s a good way to find out where you need the most improvement: check your report card. Donâ€™t just look at the grades, though. Check the comments your teachers write about each subject.
Far too often when students receive report cards, they check their marks and then stop reading. However, if your reports include comments from each teacher, these can be more useful than the grades when it comes to figuring out what you need to do to improve.
Not all comments by teachers are useful in this way. Some consist mostly of a standard description of what the class has studied in the previous term. There may be only a brief comment on your own work, and sometimes such comments emphasize what is most positiveâ€”which is nice, but not helpful if youâ€™re trying to identify your weaknesses.
Sometimes, too, teachersâ€™ comments are written in a kind of secret code I call â€œreport-speakâ€. â€œGeorge has a good understanding of blah blah blahâ€, you read. Sounds good. Actually, however, a â€œgoodâ€ understanding may be the thirdâ€“ or fourthâ€“best level, below other possibilities like â€œexcellentâ€ and â€œvery goodâ€. Once you realize this, â€œgood understandingâ€ doesnâ€™t sound so good anymore.
Because comments on reports donâ€™t always include the information youâ€™re looking for, and because they are sometimes written in report-speak, any attempt to use your report card to discover where you most need to improve must include this vital step: asking your teachers, in person.
Before you speak with them, however, do a bit of preparatory work. Continue reading “Where do you need to improve?”