Parent Resources forStandards-Based Report Cards K-6
FAQs Performance Levels
The purpose of the standards-based report card is to clearly communicate student performance toward grade level standards and expectations to families.
The change to a Standards-Based reporting system comes from the belief that our previous report card and reporting system did not fully communicate what students are expected to know and be able to do as set forth in the state and national standards. This new reporting system will benefit students, teachers and families. It will allow students to be more aware of what is expected of them. It will provide families with a more detailed outline of the expectations in each of the major academic areas. We believe that your understanding of what is expected of your child and how well he or she is progressing towards the goals at his or her grade level is very important and that the standards-based reporting system will assist in this endeavor.
Elementary school families will receive trimesterly (12 week) report cards. Some teachers will opt to send additional progress reports home with students more frequently. In addition, parents that have set up their Aeries Parent Portal will be able to track progress via that site.
What is the difference between the traditional "A-F" grading system and a standards-based reporting system?
- A, B, C, D, F represent percentage of points accumulated
- Non-academic factors affect grades, such as participation, attendance, late work, etc.
- Everything is graded and averaged together
- Early assignments can skew the final grade
- Reports a single grade for each class
- 4, 3, 2, 1 represent student performance in relation to specific standards
- Based on common core national, state, and district standards
- A report of what students know and are able to do
- Reflect academic performance only
- Behavioral information (called Habits of Success) reported separately
My child received all As in the previous system, so should I expect him to receive all 4s in this new grading system?
If your child received all A’s in the past you can most likely expect them to receive 3’s or 4’s in the new reporting system. However, you may see some occasional 2’s in the gradebook along the way, especially when new concepts are being introduced and learned. Learning in many instances is cumulative and understanding grows and develops. As we align our grading practices, and at the same time implement more rigorous national standards, we may see that the obtainment of 4’s is more rare. This is not an indication that your child has changed or is struggling, it is an indication of higher and more aligned standards across our system, state, and even nation.
A four means that a student is significantly exceeding the standard. Our goal for all learners is to earn the grade mark of 3, to show that they are meeting our challenging grade level standards and expectations. In the new system, a 3 is to be celebrated! Within this goal of all learners earning 3’s, we also need to continue to recognize individual student performance, goals and achievements. For some students the goal of a 4 is the correct reach and the system should challenge and motivate them to demonstrate their understanding in ways to earn the score of 4, significantly exceeding the standard.
It is difficult to compare letter grades with the number system because the marks stand for completely different things. In a standards based system the score represents what is learned – where the student is in relation to the expectation or standard. In a letter grade system the grade mark indicates how many points a student has accumulated, through assignments, extra credit, participation, etc. In that system, the goal of the student was to gather as many points as possible to get to an A. Now we are looking at where student work is in relation to a standard (performance expectation), rather than an accumulation of points.
It is important that parents and teachers have honest conversations with students. Some concepts and skills are more difficult to grasp than others, but given time, motivation, instruction, and support students can continually challenge themselves. Attitudes are contagious and it is important that adults involved convey to the child that learning is a process that needs to be respected. A score of 2 while learning a new skill or concept is appropriate. A score of 3 demonstrating mastery is to be celebrated. A score of 4 indicates a strength being recognized that is above and beyond the grade level expectations.
Another change for students is understanding the concept of extending the Standard. Extending is not the equivalent of an A on a traditional report card. For example, if a fifth-grader received A’s on every math test during the marking period, he or 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 meeting the standard on a Standards-Based report card; the student is doing what he or she should be doing very well, but not necessarily more. Standards-Based report cards encourage students to demonstrate their ability to apply skills and knowledge beyond grade level expectations. Performance is characterized by self-motivation and the ability to apply skills with consistent accuracy, independence, and a high level of quality.
We understand this change to standards-based reporting is a major shift in thinking, but it would be a mistake to try to convert the rubric scores of 1,2,3,4 to letter grades of A,B,C,D,F. The rubric scores represent a measure of learning completely different from the "points earned" system of letter grades. Performance Levels indicate what a student has learned or needs to learn. Please do not be tempted to provide an analogy or equivalent measure - the two systems are quite different and there is no correlation.
Research has shown that letter grades do not motivate students to learn. On the contrary, research has found three consistent effects of using - and especially, emphasizing the importance of - letter or number grades:
- Grades tend to reduce students' interest in the learning itself. One of the most well-researched findings in the field of motivational psychology is that the more people are rewarded for doing something, the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward (Kohn, 1993). Thus, it shouldn't be surprising that when students are told they'll need to know something for a test - or, more generally, that something they're about to do will count for a grade - they are likely to come to view that task (or book or idea) as a chore.
- Grades tend to reduce students' preference for challenging tasks. Students of all ages who have been led to concentrate on getting a good grade are likely to pick the easiest possible assignment if given a choice (Harter, 1978; Harter and Guzman, 1986; Kage, 1991; Milton et al., 1986). The more pressure to get an A, the less inclination to truly challenge oneself. Thus, students who cut corners may not be lazy as much as rational; they are adapting to an environment where good grades, not intellectual exploration, are what count.
- Grades tend to reduce the quality of students' thinking. Given that students may lose interest in what they're learning as a result of grades, it makes sense that they're also apt to think less deeply. One series of studies, for example, found that students given numerical grades were significantly less creative than those who received qualitative feedback but no grades. The more the task required creative thinking, in fact, the worse the performance of students who knew they were going to be graded. Providing students with comments in addition to a grade didn't help: the highest achievement occurred only when comments were given instead of numerical scores (Butler, 1987; Butler, 1988; Butler and Nisan, 1986).
Intrinsic motivation is the most powerful kind of motivation - when a student is involved in the learning process by knowing their strengths and where they need to improve, the student can work with teachers and parents to set meaningful goals of excellence, strive to achieve the goals, and experience success.
I see standards listed on the sample report cards for ELA and Math, but what about Science and Social Studies?
Currently, the state of California has adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA and Math, and they were fully implemented in 2014-15. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were adopted in 2013, but will not be fully implemented until the 2018-2019 school year. For more information about these standards, visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ca/sc/ngssstandards.asp
As for social studies standards, ... stay tuned.
What are Rubrics?A rubric defines, in writing, what is expected of a student to demonstrate mastery of standard(s). It typically describes levels of quality for each of the criteria.