Saturday, November 30, 2013

2013-14 Changes in K-5 Grading within our PBE System

The 2013-14 School year will mark the first year that we will be using our new grading system for students in grades K-5 within RSU 3.  Elementary teachers within RSU 3 have been using the EDUCATE software system to track student learning since the first day of school and now for our first trimester reporting, we will be reporting using our new grading system.  Although we have used a 1-4 scale in the past for reporting to parents about their student learning at this age level, our new 1-4 scale is very different and therefore requires some emphasis to ensure understanding.

In our "old" 1-4 grading system, a four meant that a student was exceeding the standard, a three meant that they were meeting the standard, a 2 meant that a student was partially meeting a standard and a one meant that the student was not meeting the standard.  THAT WAS OUR OLD SYSTEM.  In our new system we expect that every student will meet proficiency on the learning targets.  It is no longer "ok" to simply not meet a learning target and move on, although that doesn't mean students will be forced into a "lock-step" approach to learning either - but more on that one in another post.  In our new system a four still means that a student has demonstrated an understanding of a learning target that goes "above and beyond" expectations.  A three means that a student has met proficiency of knowledge for that learning target.  NOW HERE'S WHERE THINGS CHANGE A BIT . . . a two no longer indicates that a student is partially proficient and is therefore somehow "bad".  In our new system a two indicates that a student has demonstrated a solid understanding of the foundational knowledge required to become proficient at the learning target.  In laymen's terms then, a two means that the student is doing just fine at the foundational knowledge level, they just haven't met proficiency on the learning target yet (and the key word there is yet).  A one then means that a student needs help with the foundational knowledge and if a student hasn't started a learning target yet not score will appear.

When parents of students in grades K-5 see their child's learning report for the first trimester, you will see reports under each content area that the student has worked and met learning targets in.  For each content area (we're focusing on Math and ELA for the first trimester reporting) you will see the scope level that your child is working on for each measurement topic.  These scope levels start with the first thing a student would learn for that particular measurement topic.  Each measurement topic has any number of scope levels.  These scopes represent the learning progression for that topic.  They do not represent grade levels.  These scopes always start with the first level (level 1) simply because that is where the student is expected to enter their learning on the measurement topic.  There are then as many learning scopes (levels) listed as is required to demonstrate proficiency of the measurement topic.  A student would demonstrate proficiency (3) at one scope level and then move to the next where they may be a (1) or a (2).  They will remain at that scope level until they've reached proficiency (a 3) and then move on to the next scope level until the scopes are completed and they've demonstrated proficiency in that learning target.

This may be slightly confusing to parents initially.  I would encourage any parent who has questions to contact their child's teacher to talk about what your child's report means in order to open up a dialogue that will help you to better understand.  Additionally, it might help you to know that what you see reported here in the first trimester is not what the total "package" will look like.  We are trying to slowly phase in this new reporting system so we're not throwing everything out there at once.  Over the course of the next few trimester reporting cycles we'll also be adding in reporting on "Habits of Mind" for your child, and adding a "status" column that indicates whether the student is "on pace" in their learning or "not on pace" in their learning according to their teacher.  Additionally, we will be asking for parent volunteers to pilot access to their child's EDUCATE account online with the intent of opening up all student accounts to parents for the beginning of next year (2014-15).

Ultimately, we believe that this new reporting system will be more clear and more targeted to assist parents in having conversations about their child's learning with teachers and with their children in ways that will help build up true partnerships between the school and home.  Parents will ultimately have full access to their child's EDUCATE accounts and will be able to track their student's progress daily.  Again, I would encourage any parent who receives these new report cards and is unclear about what they might mean to contact your child's teacher immediately to open up lines of communication that will help everyone to better understand what our new system of Proficiency Based Education means for your child's learning.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to have access to my son's account. I think it would be a great way for us to see what areas we could help him with at home.