The report cards for Watertown elementary school students will look at lot different next year as the district brings in standards-based report cards.
Not only will they have different grades, but will have a lot more subsections within a subject where children will be assessed, said Allison Donovan, the district’s K-8 Literacy/Title I Coordinator.
The new report cards will be a welcomed change, said Olivia Cifrino, a second grade teacher at Cunniff Elementary School who served on the Standards Based Report Card Team.
“I was very excited to be part of this Report Card Team because as a teacher I was frustrated with the report card before,” Cifrino said.
Donovan said parents had a similar response when they heard about the new report cards.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Donovan said. “Both teachers and parents felt frustrated with the current report cards. When we went around to the PTOs people were ready for a new report card.”
The goal of the report cards is to more accurately and effectively communicate student progress to parents and students, and to be clear about the academic standards and pro-social learning they need to meet by the end of the term, Cifrino said. They are based on the State Frameworks and the the Common Core Standards.
“It is not arbitrary, it assesses student performances against specific and measurable goals,” Cifrino said. “It measures students against identified end-of-the-year, grade-level standards … It does not measure how the student performs compared the performance of other students.”
Pro-social skills include classroom and communication skills, as well as approaches to learning, said Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning and Assessment Theresa McGuinness.
“It is very important to us to include social and emotional learning in the report cards,” McGuinness said. “It’s different from the old report cards. It has more of an assessment on pro-social skills as well as approaches to learning.”
Report cards will come out twice a year — in the middle of the year and at the end of the year.
The new report cards will not have grades, but instead four levels showing how much progress a student has made toward mastering a standard. There will also be assessment for social learning in class.
The indicators for academic standards are:
M – Mastery – The students consistently, accurately and independently demonstrates proficiency in the grade level
A – Approaching – The student is progressing toward mastery and demonstrates basic concepts and skills, may vary in consistency, accuracy, and/or independence in the grade level
D – Developing – The student is beginning to demonstrate basic concepts and skills; may lack consistency, accuracy, and/or independence in the grade level
N – Not Yet Demonstrating the grade level standard
For the Pro-Social learning indicators numbers will be used:
3 – Demonstrates most of the time
2 – Demonstrates some of the time
1 – Requires ongoing intervention to develop skill
Teachers will have a set of standards to measure a student’s progress.
“The draft rubrics will show the difference between Approaching and Mastery,” Donovan said. “We will make sure there will be the same standards for all schools with common assessments and common rubrics, and it is a high standard.”
The district will be developing rubrics as well as how to provide enrichment or more challenging material for students who have mastered the subject, Donovan said.