How is my student doing?

The number of standards on our report card can be overwhelming. Some important terminology you need to know is:

  • Formative assessments are practice. These might include assignments, homework, quizzes, etc. The grades or marks are not calculated into the student's report card or Progress Period marks.
  • Summative assessments are a final demonstration of a student's meeting the standard. These grades or marks calculate to create a student's academic grade.
  • Power Law is a mathematical formula that calculates progress over time. It predicts an upward slope and puts more weight on the last summative assessment in each standard. For example, if a student is assessed on a standard with these marks: 2, 3, 3 then the final standard mark would be a 3. However, if a student is assessed on a standard and earns these marks: 3, 2, 1, then the final mark would be a 1-the last measurement carries more weight for the standard.
  • Course Grade. The course grade is an average of the grades or marks your student earned on the standards within the course.

Many schools using standards-based grading also allow quiz retakes and late homework, which can feel strange to parents, but the goal is for students to master the grade level standards. In District 9 your student is also encouraged to retake any summative assessments to demonstrate proficiency. We work on a semester system so re-takes and make-ups need to be completed right away. As well, students may be asked to complete some additional formative work to demonstrate they are prepared for another attempt at the summative assessment. Students can re-take a summative assessment up to 3 weeks from the date the teacher posted it in the electronic gradebook.

This may be confusing at first but keep in mind that a 3 or "proficient" isn't the same as a B. It means your student has met state standards, and that's good. The new State Standards have raised the academic bar. Even students who have previously received A's, B's and C's can earn a 2 or "developing proficiency" mark, which can be a shock for some families. It is more important to know if your student is struggling with a concept rather than not knowing because of stellar work habits. On the upside, early low scores aren't averaged into the final grade and her final grade shows improved progress over time.

A score of a 4 may be difficult to understand at first. If your student earned A's on traditional report cards, they may have received them for meeting the teacher's requirements, not necessarily for excelling at or going beyond grade level expectations of the state standard. With our proficiency system, 4's may be harder to earn (and 3's should be celebrated). However, earning 4's is achievable in each class, teachers' lessons offer opportunities for students to excel and reach a score of a 4. As the grading system becomes more familiar, you'll get more comfortable. The important thing is that your student is learning and making progress. Celebrate learning, and the grades or marks will follow.