As part of the new Common Core State Standards initiative, the DeKalb County School System is introducing a new standards-based report card this year for kindergarten and first grade students.
(CLICK PDF LINK BELOW TO VIEW DRAFT OF NEW STANDARDS BASED REPORT CARD)
0230_001.pdf (212.93 KB)
The purpose of the new reporting system is to provide parents and teachers with more accurate information about students' progress toward meeting the specific content standards for the various subjects taught at each grade level.
Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K through 6th grade, informed the Board of Education Thursday night that the new report card is still in draft form and may be subject to further revisions before its implemented. "We have had kindergarten teachers working on this report card for a period of time and they have done an excellent job but it is still in draft form because we want to make some changes before it goes to print," said Burklow.
Once implemented, educators will know whether all students are learning what they should in each grade by monitoring the skills listed on the report card. " This report card highlights the standards and important skills that a child should learn while in Kindergarten or first grade," said Burklow. " This is one step in a sequence of steps that we have taken to reach a goal. Teachers have worked diligently on creating pacing guides so they will know exactly what will be taught each nine weeks. At the end of that nine week period, there will be common assessments so that every kindergarten and first grade teacher in DeKalb County will be assessing the same skills at the same time every nine weeks. If a child moves from one school to another, he or she will still be at the same point in his or her academic career as students in the other schools," said Burklow.
Traditional report cards usually assign one grade for reading, one for math, one for science and so on. On a standards-based report card, each of these subject areas is divided into a list of skills and knowledge that students are responsible for learning. Students receive a separate mark for each standard.
The achievement marks indicate a child’s progress toward meeting specific grade-level standards. "Teachers will determine proficiency levels of students by using a report card benchmark," said Burklow. "At the end of the nine weeks, the teachers will make an assessment and use that to guide the report card. They will assess specific standards and that will be part of the report card," she said.
According to Burklow, the new report card will be a better tool for parents in identifying subject areas and skills where their children are excelling or might need help. "Standards are given a number. On the test that the students will be taking, there will also be a number correlating to the standard. So when a parent looks at the test, they will also see on the report card if that skill was mastered or not. It can be used as a tool, as a guide to give examples to the parents on how to help their child to master those skills. So not only are they going to receive this report card or something similar to it, but they're also going to receive the assessment that helped guide that report card and use that as a tool to work with the teacher on helping the students master the skills," she said.
Instead of letter grades, the standards based report card will grade students by numbers 1-4. " Category 4 would mean students are advanced," said Burklow. " That means they have an understanding of the standards, the skills. It exceeds the grade level expectations. Earning a 3 would mean that students are proficient in understanding the skills and meet grade level expectations. We want all students to be at that proficient level. So a 3 would mean that they are right on target for gaining all their academic information for the school year. A 3 would be something to celebrate. A 2 would mean that the student has a basic understanding of the skill/skills being tested. This child is progressing toward mastery but needs a little polishing on a specific skill. A 1 would mean that the student has minimal understanding. Here again, teachers and parents would work together, intervene with that student so that they would progress up to mastery," said Burklow.
The new report card, when implemented, will be just for kindergarten and first grade students this year but could be used for higher grade levels later. "As we move to next year, we would like to implement it on up to second grade and then progress up to third grade. We're not sure where we might stop. We feel like this tool will be very beneficial for parents and teachers and that it will really build that strong partnership in a child's education," said Burklow.
"Once we have finalized the report card and it has gone to print my goal is to hold parent workshops during the day and evenings to share with parents a copy of the new report card and clarify terminology being used," she concluded.