Fredericton — Many parents in the Fredericton area are displeased about a new pilot project introduced this fall by the Anglophone West School District.
The parents are saying that they were confused by their kids’ first report cards of the school year issued late last week. Instead of percentages or letter grades, children are assessed with meaningless acronyms. For example, “His Reading Is Okay But His Math Needs Some Work” is shown as “HRIOBHMNSW” on the report card. Kids who are struggling with gym but are excellent in academics have received a grade of “R4MBA,” for “Ready For Major League Baseball,” not to be confused with “R4MBA” for the “Ready For a Masters in Business Administration” being given to more academically inclined children.
Parents Jim and Grace Peters are among those outraged by the new system. Their 3 children used to be straight-A students, which used to mean they could boast of averages of 90 percent or higher in every subject. “We put a lot of pressure on the kids,” whined Jim. “Grace and me were never great in school and I didn’t even graduate high school. We were counting on living out all our unrealized life expectations through our our kids. Now we have to peel off the ‘honour student’ bumper sticker we had on the Corolla to make sure other parents knew our kids were better than theirs,” he went on. “No one’s an honour student anymore — they’re just a ‘WBTATOG4NITC’.” The Manatee got in touch with the school district and learned that this means the student is “Way Better Than All the Other Good-For-Nothings In The Class.”
Anna Springer, the dean of the faculty of education at the University of New Brunswick, said on Wednesday the new report cards are actually better at showing the progress of students. “Teachers were concerned that they couldn’t truly express how a student is progressing with a single letter or number,” she explained. “They’d prefer to be able to express their like or dislike of the student in full, coherent sentences, then simply condense these thoughts into compact and efficient acronyms.”
Some parents have expressed relief that the school system is using acronyms rather than old-fashioned letters or percentages. “My son’s terrible in school,” said Kim Harris, mother of an underachieving 10-year-old. “Now I love it when my friends text to ask me how he’s doing, because instead of lying, I can just mash my fingers against my phone’s keyboard and send a jumble of letters,” she explained. “My friends are bound to get confused and just drop it.”