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Friday, January 20, 2017

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Standards Based Report Cards

What is a Standard-Based Report Card?

A standards-based report card lists the most important skills students should learn in each subject at a particular grade level.  On many traditional report cards, students receive one grade for reading, one for math, one for science and so on.  On a standards-based report card, each of these subject areas is divided into a list of skills and knowledge that students are responsible for learning.  Instead of letter grades, students receive marks that show how well they have mastered each standard.

The marks on a standards-based report card show only how well the child has mastered the grade-level standards, and do not include effort, attitude or work habits, which are usually marked separately.  Parents can see exactly which skills and knowledge their children have learned.

One of the biggest adjustments for students and parents is that many standards-based report cards focus on end-of-the-year goals.  This means that in the first or second grading period, instead of getting A’s for trying hard and doing well on tests, a high-achieving student might have several marks indicating that she is not yet proficient in some skills.  Although this is normal since most students will not meet all of the year’s goals in the first quarter, it can be hard for parents and students used to seeing all A’s and B’s.

Another difference between traditional report cards and standards-based report cards is that Exceeding the Standard is not necessarily the same as an A on a traditional report card.  For example, if a fifth grader received A’s on every math test during the trimester, she would probably receive an A on a traditional report card.  If those math tests measured only the concepts fifth graders are expected to master, those A’s would be the equivalent of “proficient” on a standards-based report card; the student is doing what he should be doing, but not necessarily more.

Standards-based report cards help the teachers and parents stay focused on student learning goals from the very beginning of the year.

Standards-Based Reporting

Marks (1-4) on the report card indicate the progress a student is making towards end of the year learning.

  • A “1” indicates a student is not making sufficient progress towards reaching the standard by the end of the school year.
  • A “2” indicates a student is making adequate progress towards reaching the standard by the end of the year.
  •  A “3” indicates a student has reached or mastered the grade-level expectations for that standard.
  • A “4” indicates a student has exceeded the grade-level expectations for that standard.