The Report Card

by Andrew Clements (Author)

The Report Card
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
True or False?
Fifth grader Nora Rose Rowley is really a genius.
But don't tell anyone.
Nora always gets average grades so she can forgo the pressure-cooker gifted program or Brainiac Academy.
But when Nora gets one hundred percent fed up over testing and the fuss everyone makes about grades, she brings home a terrible report card just to prove a point.
Pretty soon her teachers, parents, and the principal are launching a massive effort to find out what's wrong. But can Nora convince them that tests alone are a stupid way to measure intelligence?

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School Library Journal

Gr 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 2004 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review
With subtlety and authority, Clements (A Week in the Woods) explores the plight of extraordinarily intelligent Nora, who, determined to avoid being singled out, has from an early age strategically hidden her genius from her parents, peers and teachers. But this young narrator attracts ample attention when she purposefully earns D's on her fifth-grade report card, the inaugural step in her plan to protest the school's focus on grades and testing. The catalyst for Nora's scheme is the dramatic change she observes in her best friend, Stephen, whose self-confidence plummets and anxiety soars after he scores poorly on his first standardized state test. After that test, Nora observes, "All the kids started keeping track of test scores and homework grades. School was suddenly all about the competition, and grades were how you could tell the winners from the losers." Appreciating the ramifications of test results on teachers, administrators, a school's reputation and even a town's real estate values, Nora perceptively remarks, "A bad grade for a kid is a bad grade for everybody." After strutting her intellectual stuff and wowing her teachers, the girl goes on to botch three consecutive tests and, with Stephen, convinces most of their classmates to likewise land intentional zeroes. Realistically, the two pals do not effect a revamping of the curriculum, but make their voices heard clearly. Solid characters, convincing dialogue and a topic certain to spark dialogue earn Clements high marks. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

Review quotes

Kirkus Review Grabs hold of your heart and never lets go
Andrew Clements
Andrew Clements (1949-2019) was the author of the enormously popular Frindle. More than 10 million copies of his books have been sold, and he was nominated for a multitude of state awards, including a Christopher Award and an Edgar Award. His popular works include About Average, Troublemaker, Extra Credit, Lost and Found, No Talking, Room One, Lunch Money, and more. He was also the author of the Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series. Find out more at

Adam Stower has a rich imagination and loves fantasy and adventure stories. He studied illustration at the Norwich School of Art and Design and at the University of Brighton, and lives with his daughter in Brighton, England.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date
April 20, 2004
Parents Choice Award (Spring) (1998-2007)
Winner 2004 - 2004
Charlotte Award
Nominee 2006 - 2006
Kentucky Bluegrass Award
Winner 2006 - 2006
Land of Enchantment Book Award
Nominee 2006 - 2007
Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award
Winner 2006 - 2007
South Carolina Childrens, Junior and Young Adult Book Award
Nominee 2006 - 2007
Georgia Children's Book Award
Nominee 2008 - 2008
William Allen White Childens Book Award
Winner 2007 - 2007

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