The Ontario curriculum outlines what students are expected to know and be able to do in all subjects and courses. Each student is assessed and evaluated against the same provincial standards.

Our policy on how teachers should assess, evaluate and report on student achievement is outlined in Growing Success. This document also outlines best practices and techniques that teachers can use to collect and share information with parents and students.

Fundamental principles

Ontario's teachers use assessment and evaluation practices and procedures that:

  • are fair, transparent and equitable
  • support all students
  • are carefully planned
  • are clearly explained to students and parents at the beginning of the school year or course
  • are ongoing and varied, and provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning
  • include descriptive feedback that is clear, meaningful and timely
  • help students to become independent learners who can assess their own learning

Report cards

Ontario report cards and fall progress report cards outline six learning skills and work habits throughout Grades 1 to 12:

  • responsibility
  • organization
  • independent work
  • collaboration
  • initiative
  • self-regulation

The emphasis on these skills and habits reflect that students need to learn more than just facts if they want to succeed in postsecondary education and the world of work. At school students are learning to take initiative, think critically, solve problems, work independently, be self-reliant and work in a team.

All report cards include space for teachers to add comments about what your child knows and can do. Teachers can describe strengths and next steps for improvement as well as add their own observations and personalized comments.

An “I” in a report card for a student from Grade 1 to 10 means the teacher did not have enough information to assign a grade or mark. This may happen, for example, if your child recently moved schools or has had an extended illness.

Elementary students

Elementary students in Grades 1 to 8 will bring home a fall progress report card and two provincial report cards, one in winter and one at the end of the school year.

The fall progress report card:

  • encourages early and ongoing communication between you and your child’s teacher
  • tells you how well your child is developing the six learning skills and work habits
  • reports on all academic subjects — such as language, math, social studies, science and technology — but instead of assigning a grade or mark, it will tell you how well your child is progressing: “very well”, “well” or “with difficulty”
  • highlights strengths and next steps in learning
  • includes comments from your child's teacher that are personalized, clear and meaningful

The elementary provincial report card will also:

  • emphasize and give examples of how your child is progressing in the six learning skills and work habits
  • include meaningful, clear and personalized comments
  • use letter grades for Grades 1 to 6 and percentage marks for Grades 7 to 8
  • provide suggestions on how you can support your child's learning at home

An “R” on your child's elementary report card means your child has not met the required skills and knowledge of the subject and extensive remediation is needed. It is important to work with your child's teacher to develop strategies to support your child in gaining the required knowledge and skills.

There are three formal and required reporting periods for elementary grades:

  • The fall progress report card is issued between October 20 and November 20.
  • The first provincial report card is issued between January 20 and February 20.
  • The second provincial report card is issued at the end of the school year, in June.

Please note that exact dates are set by individual school boards.

Secondary students

Secondary provincial report cards include:

  • an emphasis and examples on how the student is progressing in the six learning skills and work habits
  • information about different levels of achievement and how this corresponds to percentage marks
  • teachers' comments that are personalized, clear and meaningful

Schools with semesters

Secondary students in schools with semesters will receive report cards twice per semester.

Schools without semesters

Students who go to non-semestered schools will get a report card three times per year.

Exact dates are set by individual school boards, according to the reporting periods outlined within Growing Success.

How teachers assess students

Teachers look at many demonstrations of learning throughout the reporting period for evidence that your child is learning the curriculum. These may include:

  • assignments
  • conversations
  • presentations
  • performances
  • demonstrations
  • projects
  • tests
  • exams

This means that teachers assess students on more than just knowing facts. Students must show an understanding of what they are studying by communicating and applying what they have learned. They must also demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Teachers review all student work with special attention to the quality of work at the end of a unit of study, term or semester as they consider a student’s most recent and most consistent demonstration of learning. Teachers do not simply calculate averages.

Teachers also talk with and observe your child in the classroom to gather as much information as possible before making a decision on the final grade.

Teachers might assign ongoing homework to help your child develop study and organizational skills, consolidate knowledge and prepare for the next class. It also may help to develop strong learning skills and work habits, which are reflected in the provincial report card. However homework is not part of the calculation of the grade or mark.

Cheating or plagiarizing

Students are responsible for their own work. There will be consequences, which could include receiving a mark of zero, for cheating, plagiarism and not completing work.

Ask your school board about its policy on cheating or plagiarizing.

Not completing work or submitting work late

Your child is responsible for showing what they have learned or accomplished in the time frame allowed by their teacher.

Teachers can use a variety of strategies to prevent and address late and missed assignments. Options range from peer tutoring and offering time-management lessons to school-wide planning of major assignments.

In all grades, if your child consistently misses assignments or hands in work late, this may be reflected in the learning skills and work habits section of their report card. Students in Grades 7 to 12 may also have marks deducted for submitting work late.

Ask your school about its policy on late or missed assignments.

Standardized testing

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) runs assessment testing for:

  • reading, writing and mathematics in Grades 3 and 6
  • mathematics in Grade 9
  • Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in Grade 10

Contact with your child's teacher

Parents and guardians play an important part in your child's education. Children do better at school when their parents are involved.

Your child’s teacher should contact you regularly throughout the school year. Besides report cards, other types of communication may include parent-teacher or parent-student-teacher conferences, interviews, phone calls, checklists and informal reports.


Elementary and secondary report templates

Growing success: assessment, evaluation, and reporting in Ontario's schools, first edition, covering grades 1 to 12

Growing success: the kindergarten addendum. Assessment, evaluation and reporting in Ontario schools 2016