The Report Card

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The Report Card
Author Andrew Clements
Cover artist Brian Selznick
Country United States
Language English
Genre Children's novel
Publisher Aladdin Paperbacks
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 173

The Report Card is a children's novel by Andrew Clements,[1] first published in 2004. The story is narrated by a 5th-grade girl, Nora Rose Rowley. Nora is secretly a genius but does not tell anyone for fear that she will be thought of as "different".

Plot summary[edit]

Eleven-year-old Nora has been secretly hiding her extraordinary intelligence from her parents and teachers, and still trying her best to do badly in school to prove to herself as "nothing more than average." To disguise her intellect, Nora observes and emulates her classmates so she doesn't stand out. She becomes interested in one of her classmates, Stephen, and they become friends. When their CMT scores come out, Stephen's low scores convince him that he is stupid as students start treating the scores as a competition reflecting their intelligence. To encourage Stephen and prove the CMT scores are meaningless, Nora deliberately gets a bad report card: all Ds except for a C in spelling.

When Nora forgets to log out of her computing account at the school library one day, the librarian Mrs. Bryne notices that Nora has been looking Connecticut Mastery Testing. Intrigued, Mrs. Bryne checks Nora's browser history, which has topics sophisticated enough to contradict Nora's academic prowess. When she confronts Nora regarding the discrepancy, Nora confesses that she has been hiding her intellect. Mrs. Bryne admits that she is unhappy when how she is expected to grade Library skills and decides to help Nora with her plan to prove grades are not a true reflection of a student's intelligence.

Nora admits to Stephen that she is actually a genius and he comes up with a plan to prove grades don't reflect everyone about a student. He intentionally tells the school's gossip, Jennie Springs, that Nora is a genius. As word spreads, Nora begins to act like a snob and challenges teachers by bringing up topics that have not been taught in class yet. When she is confronted by the principal, Ms. Hackney, the next day for scoring a zero on her last three tests, Nora explains that she dislikes grades because they cause too much competition. She stays home the next day, pretending to be sick, but gives up her ploy when she discovers that Stephen has started a campaign for all students to rebel by scoring zeros on their next tests.

During a school meeting, Stephen and Nora apologize on behalf of the involved students before the whole school. Nora expresses that she thinks grades cause too much competition, it causes the extra smart kids to be all snobbish and stuck-up, and the normal kids to think they're dumb. Mrs. Byrne supports Nora, saying that she did think grades were getting too much attention. Nora tells her mother and Ms. Hackney that she does not want to be promoted to special classes, as she prefers to stay normal. After the meeting, Nora says goodbye to Stephen for the day and tells him she's glad that she treated him normally.


Nora Rose RowleyThe main character of the story and secretive genius. Her appearance is described as being short with reddish-blond hair. Researching is her favorite hobby. She was so intelligent by kindergarten that she taught herself to understand Spanish by watching the Univision channel and also to read National Geographic at 2 and a half. Nora loves astronomy, Latin, archaeology, soccer, etc. Her mother describes Nora as thoughtful, kind and caring. She has two siblings: Ann (6 years older) and Todd (3 years older). Her best friend is Stephen, who has average intelligence but still gets better grades than Nora.

  • Stephen: Nora's best friend. His self-confidence is poor due to low CMT. His favorite subject is English. He has never said one mean or angry thing. He got a higher grade than Nora in everything because Nora purposely had failed in everything. He was said to be a good friend, but forgot about her when some of his other friends come by.
  • Ms. Hackney: The principal at Nora's school. She is one of the people in the meeting to explain her low grades, and was deeply upset by her getting three 0s in a row.
  • Mrs. Byrne: The librarian at Philbrook Elementary School. She was one of the first to find out about Nora's unusually high intelligence and played a large role in carrying out her plan. She was equally unhappy about the competition for grades.
  • Dr. Trindler: The guidance counselor who gave her an IQ test.
  • Ms. Noyes: Nora's Social Studies and English teacher
  • Mrs. Zhang: Nora's science and math teacher.
  • Mrs. Curtis: Stephan's Mother
  • Mr. Curtis: Stephan's Father
  • Mr. Rowley: Nora's dad.
  • Mrs. Rowley: Nora's mom who expects great grades for all her children.
  • Todd Rowley: Nora's older brother. He is said to get low grades and show little concern. He is 3 years older than Nora.
  • Ann Rowley: Nora's older sister. She was said to get perfect grades, and is in band. She is 6 years older than Nora.


  1. ^ Webber, Carlie (April 6, 2004). "Review: The Report Card". Retrieved May 30, 2016.