Reporting Plan Puts New Lens on Learning

Standards-Based Reporting Requires Standards-Aligned Learning
Posted on 06/29/2017
Stephanie Smith Quote

Report at Board of Education meeting summarizes pilot project

The 2016-17 school year was the pilot year of standards-based reporting for elementary grades and junior high electives. It is a work in progress as teachers continue to refine how they present content, provide feedback and measure mastery, Director of Learning Stephanie Smith said.

“We want the (progress reports) to be more valid and fair for students to break down what standards they are working toward,” she said.

The core of standards-based reporting is developing aligned practice assignments and assessments, giving students responsibility for their learning and providing specific feedback. Student behaviors, such as turning homework in on time, are separated from student understanding of academic content. Grades are replaced with number ratings.

Smith said this past year teachers began creating specific learning targets for student work, which helps students – even kindergarteners – have a better understanding of what is expected and the purpose of the work. These are often created with “I Can” statements that clearly state what a student should be able to do after the practice work.

Work will continue next school year as all elementary teachers adopt the system and the pilot expands to sixth through eighth grade. Junior high teachers will continue with the traditional letter grade system but will begin to give students feedback in the classroom based on standards and separate behavior from understanding in grading.

The standards-based reporting approach is based on nationally recognized research, but is a knotty process with several factors to consider, including determining what is appropriate ‘evidence’ for students to demonstrate what they know.

Another aspect that teachers will continue to study is better defining the rating system of 1 through 4. Particularly, teachers will work to more clearly define what comprises a ‘4’ so students can better understand what exceeding proficiency means.

The Standards-Based Reporting Committee, which includes teachers and administrators, is also developing a process to allow students to revisit and reassess areas in which they are not successful the first time.

Additional meetings with parents will be held next school year, Smith said.

“We’re going to continue to push the envelope to see what is the best system for our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Larry Hewitt.