Frequently Asked Questions Elementary Report Card
1 – What is a Standards-Based Report Card?
A standards-based report card is designed to clearly communicate student progress on district standards and benchmarks. The standards-based report card:
- Highlights most important student skills in each subject area and grade level
- Assesses “how well a child has mastered each skill”
- Identifies areas of strength and weakness to better inform instruction
2 – What are standards and benchmarks?
Standards and benchmarks are statements that identify the essential knowledge and skills that are taught and define what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. They are written for each grade level and developed in such a way that they build upon each other from grade to grade.
3 – What do Exceeds, Meets, Progressing and Beginning really mean?
The elementary report card describes a student’s progress toward mastery on grade level standards. A lack of proficiency on any standard does not imply failure; it means the student needs to continue to develop in that area. The following performance levels are used to report student progress:
E: Exceeds grade level expectations
M: Meets grade level expectations
P: Progressing toward grade level expectations
B: Beginning foundations for grade level expectations
4 – Why use Exceeds, Meets, Progressing and Beginning rather than the letter grade system?
The standards-based report card gives more information than traditional letter grades and reports how well the student is progressing towards achieving the standards expected for his/her grade level.
Letter grades are often calculated by combining how well the student met a teacher’s expectations, how the student performed on assignments and tests, how much effort the teacher believes the student put in and how the student is doing in comparison to classmates. Letter grades do not tell parents which skills their child has mastered or whether he or she is working at grade level. The Standards-Based report card measures how well an individual student is doing in relation to the grade level standards, not the work of other students. This will give parents a better understanding of their child’s strengths and weaknesses and encourage all students to do their best.
5 – Why is a focus on “process learning” so important?
Let’s use the example of learning how to ride a bike. You typically don’t teach the hardest skill (balance – the actual independent riding of a bike) first or separate from other skills. You teach how to get on the bike, how to pedal, how to stop or use the brakes, how to steer, where to ride, how to put on a helmet, etc. All those skills are important to master before the actual skill of balance and truly riding the bike can be effectively learned. Process learning focuses on the skills needed to learn the more challenging concept. Before students learn how to read (the more challenging concept), they learn how to recognize letters and then words, learn patterns, learn that writing moves left to right in our culture, and so on. The more effectively you master these basic skills, the more effective you’ll be in learning to read.
6 – How does “Exceeds, Meets, Needs, Progressing and Beginning” equate with letter grades?
Simple answer is that it doesn’t. The two systems are not based on the same criteria and are not interchangeable.
7 – Does the “Exceeds, Meets, Needs, Progressing and Beginning” system affect grades on daily work or daily assignments?
There will not be traditional letter grades or percentages to assess proficiency in meeting standards and benchmarks. Daily assignments will be assessed with rubrics and rating scales developed by teachers, as well as the class together.
8 – Will there still be academic achievement honors at the end of the school year?
We understand that students need and want motivation to do their best. We will work with our schools to find meaningful ways to celebrate achievement for all students. Our goal is to make sure that students receive the on-going feedback and support they need to be successful.
9 – How is progress reported for exceptional education students?
Progress by exceptional education students will be reported on grade level standard and benchmarks. A lack of proficiency on any standard does not imply failure; it means the student needs to continue to develop in that area. It will be especially important for teachers to define individual student progress through the teacher’s comments section of the report card. Conferences and ongoing one-on-one communication among teachers, students, and parents will be necessary to accurately report individual student progress and to help all students achieve success.
10 – What can I do to help my child?
- Read to and with your child daily
- Collaborate with the teacher and school
- Read the report card and ask questions
- Help your child work on standards needing improvement
- Challenge your child on areas of strength
- Ask your child questions including lots of “why” and “how”
- Provide many opportunities for writing
- Encourage your child to succeed