Standards Based Grading K-5
Standards-Based Grading Fall 2018 Parent Letter
Posted by Western School District on 9/23/2018
Dear Western School District families,
This fall, our elementary schools will be using a standards-based grading report card in all of their classrooms. This report card is different from the traditional report card in that students will be assessed against grade level standards and expectations after instruction and practice have been given.
Perhaps the most significant change is with the key itself. The new key shown below will be applied to each skill on the report card to provide you with a consistent and clear sense of your child’s progress and achievement.
It is most important to note that “MS” is the grade level target. This indicates that a student has mastered the skill or concept. A score of “AS” indicates the student is close to mastery but needs some additional work and practice. A score of “IPS” in a skill indicates the need for more intensive support in the classroom to make adequate progress. A score of “NA” indicates that this standard was not assessed during this particular marking period.
Student has mastered the skill
Student is close to mastery of the skill
Insufficient Progress to the Standard
Student has limited understanding of the skill and needs additional support
On the next page of this letter, you find some frequently asked questions and answers regarding standards-based grading. We hope you find the report cards meaningful and useful to you and your child. As a district, this standardized system will allow us to better serve our students through consistent, personalized learning opportunities. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions to your child’s teacher or building principal.
Western School District
Standards-Based Grading FAQs
Posted by Western School District on 9/23/2018
What is the purpose of the standards-based report card?
The purpose of this report card is to give a clear picture of the child’s achievement on key academic targets. These targets, reflecting the learning standards of the State of Michigan, have been identified as particularly important for students’ success as they continue through school.
How is the report card different from previous report cards?
In traditional grading, letter grades included evidence from class work, homework, class participations, and sometimes effort. Grades on the standards-based report card are based on key assignments, tests, observations, and individuals conferences, all of which are completed after instruction. Most assignments and much of the work done by student in the process of learning new material are not reflected in report card grades. Instead, this “practice” work will be used to help students and teachers know what to focus on in the learning.
Does the report card give information about behavior, effort, and study skills?
Yes. Information on behavior, effort and study skills is reported separately from the academic information in a section called “Social Skills and Work Habits.” There is also a place for teacher comments.
What is the advantage of the standards-based report card for a parent?
You learn more about how your child is actually achieving school. Clearer reporting allows better communication among teachers, parent, and students. This helps teachers, students, and parents focus on skill development and standards of proficiency rather than on grades. You will experience more consistency in the marking processes across the district.
My child usually gets excellent marks. Does this mean my child will get MSs across the new report card?
No. An “MS” on the new card does not equal an A. The scores (MS, AS, IPS, NA) are based on whether a child’s performances on key assignments meet standards, are approaching standards, or is making insufficient progress toward standards. In prior reporting, an A may have meant that a child met all of the standards for the test or assignment. In the new report card, this would be represented by an “MS.”
Standards Based Grading Brings New K-5 Report Cards in 2018-2019
Posted by Craig Raehtz, Curriculum Director on 5/30/2018
The Western School District K-2 report card has always reflected a standards-based grading approach. The skills identified on the report card as critical for students to master in kindergarten, first and second grade have been noted on the report card and a code was used to identify whether mastery had been achieved. However, in grades 3-5 a traditional letter grade approach was used.
We have waited for the most current curriculum changes from the state to be released in order to update report cards. In an effort to standardize our grading and reporting system to parents across all elementary grade levels K-5, we will be moving to a standards-based report card this coming fall. Instead of seeing an overall grade, you now will be able to more clearly see student mastery by specific critical learning targets.
Purpose of Standards-Based Report Cards at WSD
In an effort to provide parents a report card which gives specific information concerning what a child should know, understand and be able to do, the elementary report card is linked to the Michigan state standards. As we integrate 21st-century learning standards into instruction, it is imperative that effective methods be used to measure and report what students are learning. The standards-based report card is a tool to help accomplish these goals.
- Successful education depends on effective communication between students, teachers, and parents.
- Standards-Based Reporting reflects 21st century best practices in instruction and is research-based.
- Feedback is critical to the academic growth of our children and that Standards-Based Reporting provides specific feedback on each student's ability. Research shows that when students have a clear understanding of what the learning target is then student achievement increases.
- Standards-Based Reporting provides direction to eliminate gaps in learning and instruction.
- Measuring our children against the standard is preferable to measure them against one another.
- Standards-Based Reporting encourages learning environments that lead to effective differentiated instructional practices.
- Standards-Based Reporting encourages individualized instruction that embraces customized learning for all students.
- Standards-Based Reporting empowers student learning by increasing student accountability and self-motivation
- Standards-Based Reporting prepares students for the future.
Over the past four years, a team of teachers, administrators, curriculum coordinators, and technology specialists have been engaged in redesigning the elementary report card. Through our research and exploration of best practice across Michigan and the United States, we have created a new reporting document that we believe will serve our families better and is consistent across all grades K-5.
- The new report card is fully aligned to new State standards for English language arts and mathematics, with work continuing in the content areas of science and math
- Perhaps the most significant change is with the key itself. The new 3-point key shown below will be applied to each skill on the report card to provide you with a consistent and clear sense of your child’s progress and achievement.
|Student has mastered the skill
|Student is close to mastery of the skill
|Insufficient Progress to the Standard
|Student has limited understanding of the skill and needs additional support
- It is most important to note that “MS” is the grade level target. This indicates that a student has mastered the skill or concept. A score of “AS” indicates the student is close to mastery but needs some additional work and practice. A score of “IPS” in a skill indicates the need for more intensive support in the classroom to make adequate progress.
- Each marking period, the complexity required for mastery of that skill builds. Therefore, it is possible for a child to fluctuate in his/her level of mastery as the year and complexity progress.
- We are currently engaged in the redesign of the social studies and science report card areas. Our team has completed important alignment work to new standards this year. Some changes have been made to the report card in these areas, but you can expect a full redesign of the report cards for both social studies and science in the 2019-2020 school year.
We hope you find the report cards meaningful and useful to you. As a district, this standardized system will allow us to better serve our students through consistent, personalized learning opportunities. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions to your teacher or principal.
Here is a link to a video from the Mehlville School District that does a good job of explaining Standards-Based Grading:
Below are additional links that can help to explain Standards-Based grading: