Standards Based Report Cards

Discussion in 'General Education' started by kellzy, May 11, 2018.

  1. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    May 11, 2018

    Our district is moving to these. Seems like a lot of bonus work for the teacher without much extra effort required on part of many, many students.
    Does your district use these? How have they worked? Do you like them? Do you lump them? Would you go back to regular report cards if you could?
    I'm a little lotta bit worried about this.
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    My district had used them the last two years. I hate it. For example, the reading standards are hard to assess in isolation as you have to use all of them to comprehend text, yet we have to report a score for each standard.
     
  4. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    It seems like there would need to be a rubric aligned with the standards that teachers can use to derive scores for report cards. The most diligent teachers would likely need to spend several weeks working on report card scores/grades. Those like me would simply use our grade books to estimate the scores/grades for the new reporting scheme - this fast and easy approach would probably take just a few days and would be significantly less stressful.
     
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  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Yes, we have always had standards based report cards. We 'grade' on a scale of 1-4. 1 = limited understanding, 4=very good understanding.

    I think it gives more information than reporting that a student has 75% in math or a C in math. The standards at least give parents information on which specific concepts a student understands within each subject.
     
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  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    A major problem in my district is that parents don’t understand the rating scale (we have 1-3). A 3 means the student is performing on grade level, a 2 is with support, and a 1 is no understanding. He issue is parents equate 2s to Bs, no matter how many times it is explained that it is not the same. I see students who are behind, have had 2s on all standards on their report cards for years, and the parents are surprised when I tell them the child is performing below grade level. I don’t care how you report student performance, if parents don’t understand it, it’s worthless.
     
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  7. heatherberm

    heatherberm Comrade

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    Our report cards currently include letter grades and standards scored on a scale of 1-4. I forget how exactly they're worded but 4 is something like exceeding grade level expectation, 3 is meeting expectations, 2 is approaching expectations, and 1 is not having the skill at all. Parents struggled to get a handle on it at first, but we've been using this report card for a few years now and everyone is getting more comfortable with it. I personally like. One thing that has genuinely surprised me as a teacher is how arbitrary letter grades can be. Some teachers grade a lot, some only grade a few things; some teachers are tough graders, some are easy graders; some grade homework, some don't; some are open to students redoing work/tests, some aren't, etc. This feels at least a little more objective. I wouldn't be surprised if in the next few years we drop the letter grades.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 12, 2018

    This.
    I was on the committee which created our SB report cards. There is a rubric attached to each line item. Definitely paints a more detailed picture of student progress.
     
  9. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    We assess each assessment using a rubric which is based on curriculum standards. The overall grade in the report is an aggregate of all the grades a student achieved for a particular standard throughout the semester. For example if a student achieved a 3 Cs and a B for a particular standard, then the overall grade for that standard is a C.
    When we transitioned from giving percentages to using rubrics it was a lot of work transforming assessments and writing rubrics to make sure they adequately address the standards with room for students to excel above the standards. But now, i wouldn’t have it any other way.
     
  10. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

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    I love standards based grading as a teacher; partly because it's easier and clearer for me to see who understands a concept/standard and who doesn't. However, there has been quite a bit of confusion on it as my district has moved over to a 1-4 scale (partly because for a bit we used these ridiculous symbols instead of just numbers and no one could figure out what it meant!) because they expect to see letter grades.

    The thing I don't like is that the goal was to make it more objective, but what really happens is that unless you have a scale or rubric for each standard that describes what constitutes each level of mastery or understanding, you're still just arbitrarily assigning numbers for most standards. That's a personal project I'm working on, but it's frustrating that it's still so subjective most of the time.
     
  11. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I completely agree. Parents understand the traditional A-F scale. A D or F (and sometimes even a C) immediately lets the parent know their kid is struggling. The 1-4 scale often doesn't have the same effect.
     
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  12. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I worked at a school that had standards based grading. It was so much extra work, and I think parents paid less attention to the grades because there was so much more information on the report card. Students received a 1-4 on each and every standard. The system confused everyone; parents, students, teachers (who suddenly needed to input way more grades).
     
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    I see what you are saying, but I’ve always thought: F = failing/doesn’t understand, D = approaching the benchmark/standard and barely understands, C = average/understands enough to get by, B = proficient/understands pretty well with some exceptions, and A = excellent/understands very well with rare exception. So, as long as students are grades accurately, their letter grade should reflect their individual level of understanding and performance.
     
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  14. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    I like the idea, but it also seems like a lot of extra work for teachers. In some standards based grading systems, students are allowed to retake assessments to meet standards. This sounds great, but it's a lot of extra work for teachers. You have to make a new assessment, find a time to meet with students so they can retake it, and grade redos.
     
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  15. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    I used them when I still taught Primary. We moved back to standard grades after a few years of it. Parents were not fans.
     
  16. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Much, much preferred for me. We have all sorts of leveling guides and honestly, it's far easier and I think better reflects student understanding (at elem level). A level '4' is truly being able to apply the learning in new contexts that haven't been pre-taught. It's not simply being able to do a procedure perfectly.

    If it's an understanding issue for parents - sounds like there needs to be learning at a classroom/school/community/district level to help guide them to that. Given all I've heard about different grading systems, I don't think the A-F system is quite as clear as many think in sharing student understanding accurately across the board.

    If it's an issue of retesting - shouldn't a student's grade (at least at elem) reflect their current understanding? I've had kids struggle earlier in the year, but make tons of growth...I'll put a '3' in the gradebook if they're at level understanding, even if they struggled 80% of the year until near the end. I work hard to teach students that grades aren't the most vital thing, it's how one grows from that point that truly matters.

    Though it's important to note that standards-based is probably a better fit for elementary/middle school, whereas perhaps not so much for high school.
     
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  17. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Ideally, there should be many opportunities to show what one knows -- not necessarily a retake, but future spiraling opportunities (cumulative tests, reviews, etc...) and constant formative assessment. I never do retakes, but do ensure there are opportunities for students to show they've gained skills that they were lacking before. If done right (and of course, I'm not even there yet - I'm still working on crafting the year for these ideals), it takes no extra work on the teacher's part outside of needing to help reteach them.
     
  18. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    how does this work at the high school level?

    We have a middle school (charter) locally that is very loosey-goosey with grades. So much emphasis on effort and not much on mastery. The teachers write evaluations on student ability instead of assigning grades. So we get things like "Johnny is great at debate but struggles with analysis." Analysis of what?

    Many of my course standards overlap chapters/units. I would have a very hard time assessing 112 students on individual standards four times a semester.
     
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  19. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

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    See, this would be a pain. Our system has the option to go by domain (clusters of standards) or to add assignments with standards attached. The grade we put in for one domain or assignment automatically puts the grade for all the standards covered. It makes it much easier.
     
  20. heatherberm

    heatherberm Comrade

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    I'd agree with a previous poster who said that it might not work as well at the high school level. I'm in an elementary school so I've never really considered how it works at higher levels.

    On our report cards we do have the option of also putting N/A for a standard that we either didn't work on as intensely that marking period or just didn't get to yet. I teach self-contained special ed so there's almost always a couple of N/A's just because we spent time really zeroing in on 2-3 of the most essential standards.

    It's definitely a big shift. In our district it's involved each grade level identifying standards it considers essential, creating common formative assessments, designing rubrics, educating parents and students (and teachers), etc. It has NOT been a smooth, easy process by any means and sometimes it is more work and it's definitely more work on the front end. I do agree with those who have said that, if done well, however, standards-based grading really gives a better measure of where the child is, provides a better break down of specific strengths and needs (instead of strengths getting drowned out by needs in a straight letter grade), and I think it does a better job of showing growth in skills which is really important for my students and their families.
     
  21. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Sure, that works. But if someone's math mark is a B, which areas in math are they doing well in and which areas are they struggling? Standards based report cards allows for success and failures in the same subject. Students can be great at skip counting, but need more work on measurement. How does that turn into a B in math? I've never had to calculate marks - I've only done the 1-4 using standards based reporting, so I genuinely don't know what I would do otherwise.

    Yes, in early years we are constantly spiraling and building. So much of my assessment is done anecdotally. While students are playing a math game, I'm circulating with a checklist, having conversations with students and making notes about what they understand or don't understand. Then, we'll review a skill in guided math and again, I'll note who understands now and who doesn't. The 1-4 comes into play while I write the report card. What can they do currently? That's what goes onto the report card - it should reflect their current skill level, not what they were struggling with 2 months ago. Otherwise what's the point - we're at school to learn and that should be celebrated and rewarded.
     
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