When report cards come home next week in the backpacks of Battle Ground Public School's K-4 students, parents will notice not only a new look, but also a new scoring system. The district has created one report card for all K-4 students that shows how students are doing in the classroom on state learning standards and that is simple for parents to read.
This type of report card uses a method called standards based grading. Standards based grading means that grades mean the same thing from class to class and school to school, and that they measure a student's progress on known and established milestones--in this case, specific learning standards for each grade and successful learning habits--and not on a bell curve that compares students to how well their classmates are doing.
"Because it is aligned with the state's new learning standards, our report card is on the cutting edge of what is important for our students to learn to be successful in high school and beyond," said David Cresap, Battle Ground Public Schools' director of assessment.
Academic subjects are graded on a 4-point scale. A grade of 3, or proficient, indicates that a student understands the content presented to this point in the year and is on track to move to the next level of learning. A grade of 4 reflects exemplary work that shows a considerable depth of knowledge for the grade level. A grade of 1 or 2 means that your student is not at grade level, and might need additional support to become proficient in the classroom material.
Our goal for students is to achieve a 3 in all subject areas. "A student who gets all 3s and no 4s is definitely on track to be career and college ready by high school graduation," Cresap said.
Simply put, the report card uses a scoring system that allows teachers to provide a more accurate report of what each student has learned. For example, a math learning standard for first grade is that the student can count to 120, starting at any number less than 120. A score of 3 or proficient on this learning standard would indicate the student can do this.
Habits for Successful Learners
In addition to grades on academic subjects, students will receive grades based on their demonstration of successful learning habits. Habits for Successful Learners are behaviors that impact a student's ability to learn. They are graded on a scale that includes "T" for typically demonstrated, "S" for sometimes demonstrated and "R" for rarely demonstrated.
Parents will also notice that the new K-4 report card is split into two semesters. Grades for each semester provide a measure of how well your child understands the standards for that subject area at that point in the year. It is possible that a student's first-semester grade could go down at the end of the year. Comparing it to a 1-mile fitness run with an expectation of completing the run in 10 minutes, for example; a student could run the first half in under five minutes, but then slow down in the second half of the run and not meet the 10-minute expectation at the end of the run.
"We developed the report card to bring consistency across the district in how teachers report students' progress on learning standards," said Allison Tuchardt, Battle Ground Public Schools' assistant director of assessment. "We created a report card that would accurately report how well students are doing on learning new standards so that teachers and parents can make informed decisions about where efforts are needed to improve education."
More information, including a Parent Guide in an e-book format and videos that introduce the new report card and explain standards based grading, are on the BGPS website.