Teachers have clarified what they really mean when they use terms like ‘chatty’, ‘enthusiastic’ and ‘has potential’ on students’ end-of-term report cards.
Now two teachers have explained it all exclusively for MailOnline, detailing the subtle meanings behind the chosen phrases that are sent home to parents.
One of the professors says that these terms give an even greater idea of performance, because the traditional A through E grades can be “meaningless” when each professor views the grading system differently.
What teachers REALLY mean when they use terms like ‘has potential’ and ‘creative’
Today, it can also be more difficult for parents to really understand what report cards mean, as comments like “could try harder,” “needs to try harder,” or “talks too much” are now graded with a number or a small mark
These guidelines may be too vague for parents and their children to understand what they need to do to improve their work, performance, or behavior at school.
A teacher, who became a TikTok star, posted a video on the social media platform explaining what teachers mean when they write letters like KCSIE, WWW and EBI on their child’s homework or schoolbook.
Miss Frankie explained that LO stands for learning objectives, as he later moved on to the words PP/FSM, saying this stands for ‘pupil bonus’ and ‘free school meals’.
She continued: “If I honor a child’s work when I’m grading it, I’ll put an EBI and a WWW.”
The teacher explained that EBI means “even better if” and WWW means “what went well”. He then he explains what WT, WA and GD mean.
He went on to debunk the words, saying: ‘So WT stands for ‘work towards’. WA means “work at an expected level” and GD means “greater depth”.
The latest code is KCSIE, which it explains stands for ‘keeping children safe in education’.
Teacher Debunks What Phrases on Report Cards REALLY Mean
The teachers on the Estia Tuition team have revealed to MailOnline exactly what the terminology means in the end of year reports.
Has potential: He would be a good student if he showed more effort
very social: Talkative, but are often really good students for discussion tasks.
Enthusiastic: You can trust these students to always raise their hands and put in a good effort in the lesson. Sometimes it can mean they are likely to yell rather than wait to be asked.
Independent: You don’t work well with your partner and don’t ask for help when you’re stuck. Learning to ask for help is a very important skill for students and not a sign of weakness.
The student works hard: This is usually sincere: while the topic may not come naturally to them, they are still hard at work and focused. In my experience, these are the students who do well on tests because they show consistent effort.
Charlatan: This is usually a restricted way of saying “really irritating and disrupting others’ learning/wasting time.” They have probably been moved around in class several times because they prefer to talk about anything other than the lesson.
You need to try harder: The teacher can see that they are not without hope, but they are usually looking out the window or doing the absolute minimum – not a lost cause, but support/attitude change needed.
emerging skills: These students are normally in the process of changing it after a period of struggle; this is a good thing as long as they continue to strive to improve.
Creative: For students who really think outside the box, although this can sometimes come at the price of doing what they were asked to do.
Useful: This depends on the context: it can refer to students who arrive early for lessons and want to help pass out books or participate in demonstrations. Other times it may be them helping another student who is struggling. The latter is actually a very powerful learning tool for the helping and struggling learner, but if this is combined with “chatty” they may be being “helpful” at the wrong time.
Not everything should be ‘perceived as negative’
Wendy Watts (pictured above), director of group education and teacher at Estia Tuition, explained why you see specific terminology on report cards
Speaking to MailOnline, Wendy Watts, director of education and group teachers at Estia Tuition, says that most schools use report writing software, and this may come as a surprise to many parents.
But it can also explain why all of your kids come back with similar phrases on their reports, or have similar comments each year.
While all schools “will have their own framework in which they report to students,” most of them will use report writing software,” he said.
Ms. Watts explained why you see specific terminology on report cards such as “need to check work”, “need to make sure he is trying hard”, “student trying hard”, “student finding it hard XYZ” .
She says that many schools use assessment trackers or online report boxes to auto-fill the report; which can be slightly interchanged between each individual learner.
To shed more light on the terms, Ms. Watts says that “language is used to help develop student performance.”
She said: ‘A school will provide ongoing feedback to parents and students to give them an idea of how they are doing.
‘All feedback is constructive, designed to support student development, and should be used as a reference point for considering how they can further adapt or progress.
‘In addition to this, students will be encouraged to develop a growth mindset, therefore this is not an independent comment, and your comments are used to promote growth and development.
‘It is recognized that students will grow and develop over time, so feedback is not static and can be used to support a child’s development.’
But the teacher said that while parents may view unfavorable wording, not all of it should be “perceived as negative.”
She said: ‘If a parent isn’t happy then I would say make an appointment to see the teacher or principal to clarify anything that is perceived as negative.
‘Everything must be written in a positive or constructive way. Reports are always verified before they are sent so that they do not lead to any misunderstandings. Reports are usually individualized and usually very carefully thought out so as not to cause any problems and are usually followed by a parenting evening, giving the family an opportunity to discuss any pertinent issues.’
You should use that wording in ‘to nurture students’
Award winning teacher Adam Speight graduated as a teacher in 2011. He has worked in both Wales and England in both the state and independent sectors in a mid-leadership role. He is always willing to share his ideas and is a frequent educational writer and speaker.
Speaking to MailOnline, Adam Speight, a Wales-based teacher and content writer for Access Education GCSEPod, says he doesn’t “understand why some schoolteachers use negative terms” in reports.
Breaking down why teachers use specific terminology that can sometimes be viewed negatively by parents, Mr Speight said this is done “to nurture students”.
But he said the main thing teachers need to consider when writing a report is the “audience for which it is written and the language to be learned.”
He went on to say that to be a constructive teacher, you shouldn’t focus on the negatives and identify strengths in a child’s weaknesses, adding: ‘A good report is a summary of what you have been learning, identifying strengths and what they need to improve.
‘You need to use words like ‘chatty’ and ‘energetic’ to nurture students.
‘If you have a child who is talkative, that is not a criticism. If that is something that is a problem then it needs to be addressed before a report goes out. You cannot tell a parent that this is a problem on the year-end report.
“If they’re talkative, that means they should also be student leaders in the classroom because they’re enthusiastic.”
The teacher went on to say that ‘wrong language used is a barrier to learning.
“School attendance is already on its knees to get students back in, so you need to think about wording to encourage students to get in.”
He said the way reporting can sometimes be a training issue, but Speight admitted he doesn’t “understand why negative terms are used in reporting.”
Teachers, he says, need to think “about the language to learn and what they are writing and saying.”
“If you have a talkative student, it’s about writing and emphasizing when they’re focused and giving feedback for improvement to follow up, for example, they’re talkative but they’re also a brilliant student in other ways.”
Therefore, to be constructive, teachers need to “make the point and explain the point to show the student what they need to do to get over the barrier.”
‘And if the report uses all the negative terminology, the parents will be upset and no one will win here. Therefore, serious problems need to be addressed.’
He went on to say that some schools using numbers or the alphabet to grade children on their report cards is wrong, as it “doesn’t make sense.”
“Written comments are nicer and you can say more things, while numbers are too generic.
“You can’t get consistency with teachers, as all teachers have different standards and expectations, so writing it down can clarify those expectations.”
The Wales-based teacher went on to say that all schoolteachers should look at pupils’ strengths and focus on that rather than highlight the negativity of something.
Mr Speight explained: “If there is a problem with a student’s behavior and they need to listen to instructions or follow class routines, for example, you need to explain in detail why they have written that and what they need to do to implement their action. “. ‘
He went on to say that in terms of end-of-school-year report cards as a whole, older faculty and teachers need to check it “and negative feedback doesn’t have to come out like that,” adding: “Reports shouldn’t be calling the children, it should be a summary and then how to get to the next steps in their learning journey.’