Standards-Based Assessment & Reporting for Elementary
An Introduction to SBRC for Parents in Athens City Schools
What is a standards-based report card?
It’s all about student understanding and mastering a learning goal - and less about grades. A standards-based report card lists the most important skills students should learn in each subject at a particular grade level. Instead of letter grades, students receive marks or a code that show how well they have mastered the skills.
What marks/symbols will the Athens Academies use to represent student progress instead of letter grades?
M = Meets the Standards
W = Working Toward the Standards
E = Experiencing Difficulty
N/A = Not Assessed
What are standards, and who determines them?
The standards are basically the learning goals and expectations for each grade level, and they are set by the State of Alabama. How we teach them is up to us. Every state, including Alabama, has educational standards that are determined at the state level. The standards are a list of the skills that students should learn at each grade level. Teachers are responsible for teaching the skills for their students’ grade level, although the standards do not specify how teachers should teach.
How do Athens City Schools elementary academies teach the standards?
In a variety of ways, but with a primary focus on learning by doing (PBL).The Athens Academies use a student-centered, project-based learning approach to teach the standards.
Why are the academies changing to standards-based report cards?
Because our students are more than a score. A new way of teaching requires a new way of measure. Our teaching approach has changed, so it only makes sense that the way we measure progress should change to match it. The new grading system helps us answer the new question presented by project-based learning - how does a teacher measure real understanding? By reading the signs of progress. Because the Athens Academies focus on teaching content based core standards using a project-based learning approach, student report cards - the way we report student progress - is changing to reflect this. The standards-based report card is a more logical and complementary grading system to measure student progress and success in a project-based learning environment. The teaching model has shifted, so the reporting of progress is shifting to better assess and monitor student progress. ACS is committed to a system of teaching and assessment that develops and prepares students to begin to manage their own learning; therefore, the performance measurements with standards-based report cards will be more reflective of the learning that is happening in our classrooms.
Will student daily and weekly work also be graded differently (without letter grades or percentages)?
Students will experience more feedback than “grading”.
How often will we receive progress reports using the new grading system?
Student progress will be shared weekly through SeeSaw. Teachers are beginning their work on indicating standards with student work and providing feedback.
Is there a letter grade to standards-based grade conversion or equivalency to help me understand my student’s progress?
No, there is no equivalency. This new assessment and reporting system requires a new way of thinking for parents as well. Yes, It will be a shift in understanding student progress for parents who are used to seeing a grade and understanding what that letter or percentage meant. And parents feel good when they see an “A” on a test or report card. We understand. The new standards-based report cards will provide greater understanding for parents because they will be able to see exactly which specific skills and knowledge their child has acquired. And remember, these report cards will give parents and students specific information about how a student is doing and pinpoint where the student needs to improve.
What will be the greatest challenge for parents with regard to understanding the new report cards?
It is about the journey toward understanding and mastery- and that happens over the course of the whole school year, with the final goal being “M” - Meets the Standards. One of the biggest adjustments for students and parents will be that 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 they are not yet proficient in some skills. Although this is normal - most students will not meet all of the year’s goals in the first quarter - it can be disconcerting to parents and kids used to seeing all “A’s” or “B’s.” Parents should expect to see lots of “W” (Working Toward Standards) throughout the school year. “M” (Meets the Standards) is the goal toward which all students and teachers are working.