It's the end of the second quarter for us. That makes it my least favorite time each quarter. Most elementary school teachers in my district will tell you that report card time stinks because it requires bubbling grades in eight content areas (an academic grade and an effort grade) and ten word study areas. Then comments also have to be bubbled in. It is very time consuming and mind numbing.
I, however, hate it with an even greater passion. I can't figure out why I'm doing it (aside from the fact that I'm required to as a part of my job). What is the purpose of these grades? My husband, a college professor, firmly believes that grades are what motivates his students to do the work. He's probably right. But, I think it's true because we've trained kids with that motivation. I want my fifth graders to work because they want to learn, not because I'm going to judge them.
Another argument is that we use report cards to communicate with parents. Again, probably true. But, does a report card really communicate effectively? Telling a parent that their child earned a B in math with a G (good) for effort doesn't really say much. It doesn't let them know that the student excelled in geometry that quarter, but is still struggling to understand how to multiply and divide with decimals. It does a much better job of ranking students and making it easy to compare them to one another.
I would much rather spend two or three times as long on a more effective mode of communication for parents than to use a report card. I'd rather have to work even harder to make my lessons engaging and relevant to my students than to expect them to do the work in the hope of earning an A. One of my goals as a teacher is that my students love to learn. I think grades are in conflict with that goal.
(I think I'm in the minority in this area and I'd love to hear others' thoughts.)