The Report Card

What if being normal is my big goal in life? What if I just want to be happy and read books and hang out with my friends and play soccer and listen to music?


Seems like an outcry of all children, right?


The Report Card by Andrew Clements is the story of Nora who is a genius. But if you look closely it is the story of every child. Subject to relentless pressure to perform and excel, the fifth-grader hatches a plan to defy all grades. As expected her ‘D’s in the report card create an uproar at home.


Nora firmly believes a report card is nothing but another arena of competition, a method to create a divide between children, a trophy for the school and the parents. In order to prove that a report card can never prove a child’s intelligence, she hides her ‘intelligence’.


But in no time, her gift is discovered and when she reveals the reason behind the plan everybody has to sit up and listen. The little girl’s plan makes other children question why they allow this piece of paper to run their life. Not only that, she makes the teachers, parents, the principal and the state education minister reflect on the grading system and the testing that forms the core of their education system. Pretty dramatic!


Well, it is a much-needed drama in the education system in India as well. What surprises me that the scenario was not very different in USA back in 2004.If children are vying for IIT and IIM here, there they are reeling under pressure to get into Yale, Princeton, and Harvard. But over the years I would like to believe that Americans have learnt from their mistakes and brought necessary changes. Till the time we here in India learn and change, I hope kids pick up this book and begin to understand that the real aim of education is to learn and not to get grades.


More than that, I pray they get the message that the ‘A’ and ‘C’ in their report card certainly doesn’t define their intelligence.