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The Report Card Paperback – January 1, 2006

147 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7--Fifth-grader Nora Rowley has a problem with grades, and her latest report card, with five D's and one C, proves it. What nobody knows because she's kept it a secret is that she is really a genius and has earned those low marks on purpose because of her friend Stephen. She doesn't like the way tests make him feel about himself (dumb); plus, she can do without the stress as teachers prepare students for the state achievement test. The plan she hatches to sabotage test scores eventually begins to backfire, and the plot develops steadily around that crisis. Narrated by a very bright protagonist, the story has moments of engaging tension: Will the librarian disclose that Nora has been accessing college-level courses online? Will the school psychologist discover her high IQ and place her in the gifted program? Will she and Stephen be suspended for inciting a rebellion? This novel highlights the controversial issues of testing and grades from a child's point of view, but it also reveals the pressure that everyone, including teachers, administrators, and parents, feels. Clements's style, the large print, and the appealing cover illustration will easily capture the attention of even the most reluctant readers.--Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-7. With the federal law placing increased importance on test scores, this timely novel gives both kids and adults plenty to think and talk about. Fifth-grader Nora Rowley is a genius masquerading as an average student to avoid the pressures that come with her gift. When her best friend, Stephen, a nice, hard-working child who really is average, scores low on the state mastery tests and starts to think of himself as "dumb," Nora decides it's time to do something. Feeling she has nothing to lose, she brings home a terrible report card, setting off a whole chain of events that affect not only Stephen but also her family, her other classmates, her teachers, and herself. Veteran author Clements has once again built a solid story around a controversial issue for which there is no easy answer, and to his credit, he never tries to offer one. There are no good guys or bad guys in the mix; everyone simply manages with the hand he or she is dealt. A novel sure to generate strong feelings and discussion. Lauren Peterson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689845243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689845246
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Most of my characters are fairly normal people who are dealing with the basics of everyday life--getting along with others, finding a place in the world, discovering talents, overcoming challenges, trying to have some wholesome fun along the way, and getting into some scrapes and a little mischief now and then, too. I guess I hope my readers will be able to see bits and pieces of themselves in the stories, particularly the novels that take place in and around school. School is a rich setting because schools and education are at the heart of every community. The stories that are set in school seem to resonate with kids, teachers, parents, librarians--readers of all ages. Everyone's life has been touched by school experiences. And I also hope, of course, that kids and others will enjoy reading, enjoy the use of language, enjoy my storytelling.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Lisa G. Scott on April 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am a teacher who adores Andrew Clements' books. I use them for class reading and for literature circles. Clements never talks down to kids-- he writes both kids and adults as people rather than caricatures or puppets to advance a plot-- and his stories are engaging and interesting.
I enjoyed reading The Report Card, although it was a bit preachier than his other books, and some characters, especially Nora's parents, are not as well developed or realistic as I expect from Andrew Clements. The debate about standardized tests is highlighted, and as a teacher it was nice to see it pointed out to kids that most teachers are not test fans either. The fact that standardized test numbers can't really tell you much about a child seems to be Clements' main point, and it's one I agree with.
My main concern about The Report Card is the mixed message it sends about being smart, especially being a smart girl. Nora, the highly gifted heroine, has been hiding her intelligence for years, in large part so she won't make her best friend, a boy, feel bad. I had expected Nora to come to a realization that her intelligence was a gift to be celebrated and shared. However, the resolution leaves Nora content to be "normal," which by Nora's definition means not to pursue any opportunities available to learn about and expand her gifts, and essentially to continue masking her intelligence so that other people won't be made to feel bad.
My worry is that girls in the target age group will read <i>The Report Card and conclude that "normalcy" does not include intelligence. While I don't believe that this was Clements' intention, the message is there. Girls have hidden or downplayed their academic abilities far too long-- we should be teaching them to embrace their talents.
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30 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Nora brings home a report card full of D's on purpose to protest grades and how kids label themselves based on grades. This act of rebellion upsets her parents and starts an investigation which uncovers the secret Nora has been keeping since she was a toddler and learned to read. She is actually a profoundly gifted girl masquerading as a "normal" one.
Both editorial reviews mention this secrecy in a neutral/positive way; it being a reasonable method to avoid the "pressures" associated with high intelligence.
What disturbed me greatly about this book is that the author evidently agrees. This report card is not the first one that Nora has manipulated, just the first one that was caught. Nora has been manipulating report cards since she started school, maintaining a nondescript C+ average. Imagine how much pressure that takes, to never ever let it slip to the teacher or classmates that you really understand the material in a significantly deeper way? Every day in class discussions, homework, written assignments, tests... constantly being on guard not to get too many answers right or answer something too thoughtfully and blow your cover. Doesn't that put a lot of pressure on a child? Not for Nora.
The author gives Nora a compelling reason for this behavior: hide your talents so you can have friends. Nora has found wonderfully caring, honest and brave friends, especially Stephen, and believes that to keep her friends she must act normal - just like they are. To maintain her special friendship with an honest, trustworthy, wonderful boy, Nora has to maintain a life of deceit. In a world where teen age girls often feel pressured into dumbing themselves down to attract boyfriends, Nora wins the prize by starting in kindergarten.
What a role model!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By baltimore book love on December 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
Like some of the other reviewers here, I would have to say that this is not Andrew Clements best. The premise of looking at the negative consequences of all the testing and emphasis on grades in our schools is a good one that needs to be examined, but it doesn't quite work here. The main problem is Nora. Now maybe kids will buy into the fact that this 10-year-old girl is a super genius who has been hiding her talents all her life. Any adult - even an observant teenager - would say "That doesn't sound right." No child would be able to hide that kind of talent. Clements who have done far better to make her very smart, not super smart. I think more kids might be able to identify with that. As it is, there really isn't any pressure on Nora at all. She could ace all the tests easily - even the ones in the gifted and talented program. While there's also some concern about Nora wanting to be "normal" and maybe thinking girls aren't supposed to be smart, I didn't get that sense. Nora knows she can be pretty much whatever she wants to be. Despite the drawbacks, there could still be some interesting discussions as a result of reading this book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lane Young on May 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Fifth Grader Nora Rowley is a genius. However, she decided in kindergarten that she wished to be best friends with Stephen, a middle of the road kid, and that meant being a normal kid. Now she is in 5th Grade and dislikes what seems like many peoples obsessions over grades, and especially the way tests make Stephen feel, and so she hatches a plan to make people think twice about what they mean. This enjoyable novel carries not only Clements typical theme of the power of what kids can achieve but also a thoughtful discussion of grades and standardized testing. The ending sees Nora's opinions evolve and will leave readers with some things to think about.
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