Character Evaluation for Students

Image by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

In this post, Arlene responds to a question from a reader:

“I am curious if you all or anyone in the Dock for Learning Community has ideas on how to do good character evaluation on report cards… I’m curious how other schools do this and would be open for any input as we evaluate our process. We want to make it as helpful and objective for our students and parents as possible.”

Our report cards had a listing of character traits and we would evaluate them each quarter. I did not mark every line, but put + on the areas in which a student was doing very well and – on areas in need of improvement. There were three sections in this list: Work Habits, Social-Personal Growth, and Spiritual Growth. I was taught to balance pluses and minuses so if a child had two minuses, I would find areas to give two pluses. This would tend to be subjective, but I did consider each child separately and noted areas of strength and weakness to help give a whole picture of the child.

We switched to a school information system and all our grading is done within this system. We still had a place for the character grading and now it was “Attribute Evaluation.” We worked together to develop our list of attributes (see list at end). We entered grades for the attributes. These were not letter grades, but S (Satisfactory), S+ (Exceptional), S- (Needs Improvement), and I (Improving). I needed to enter a grade in every row with this system and would consider each child and try to put S+ and S- to help present a complete picture of the child. (We have stopped doing the attribute evaluation now, and a parent told me she missed that part of it. She thought it was helpful to know of this side of her child along with the academic grades.)

Some of the character grading is different for secondary students. Here are some ideas:

  1. Secondary teachers meet and review each student. Each teacher contributes suggetions for character grades for the students they teach. They use a list and put grades with it or they could write a evaluating paragraph for each student.
  2. Students evaluate their character, working from a checklist or rubric. Teachers add their input.
  3. Teachers hold a conference with students and go over their character grading together, gathering input and finding areas of strength and areas to work on.
  4. Using a rubric rather than a checklist might be helpful.

Attribute Grading

Work Habits
  • Uses time to good advantage
  • Shows interest and enthusiasm
  • Shows an inquiring mind
  • Does neat work
  • Does accurate work
  • Thinks and works independently
  • Is conscientious in completing classroom work
  • Hands in homework on time
  • Applies study skills
  • Is organized
Social- Personal Growth
  • Follows classroom procedures
  • Gives prompt and cheerful obedience
  • Is courteous and helpful
  • Works and plays harmoniously
  • Shows sufficient self-control
  • Respects authority
  • Accepts criticism/correction
  • Takes responsibility
  • Avoids distractions
  • Puts forth effort
  • Demonstrates positive attitude
Spiritual Growth
  • Is reverent toward God and the Word of God
  • Shows Christian love and understanding
  • Demonstrates spiritual leadership
  • Is truthful

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