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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a Standards-Based Report Card?
What are the “Standards?”
Why is Oregon City School District changing to a Standards Based Report Card?
The “Academic Marks” used on the new report card are “Descriptors of Proficiency.” What does this mean?
What does each Academic Mark, or Descriptor of Proficiency mean?
My child got an “NA” for a grade. What does that mean?
It looks like there are different grades for behaviors. How does my child's teacher grade behaviors like working well with others and completing tasks?
Will our secondary schools (middle/high school) be the same as elementary?
Isn’t a “3” just another way of saying the student earned a “B”?
What does a student need to do in order to achieve a “3” at elementary or a B at secondary?
My child is academically strong. How will standards‐based teaching, learning and grading challenge my child?
How will English Language Learners or students on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) be graded on a standards-based report card?
What does the research say about grading?
Are Standards-Based Report Cards mandated from the State or Federal Government? 
If I have additional questions, where can I find more information?

 

What is a Standards-Based Report Card?

On a Standards-Based Report Card (SBRC), teachers grade students based on their progress toward meeting important end of year skills. Rather than receiving a single grade for a class or a subject (for example, “Reading”), teachers will give grades for several important standards that are taught in reading. The purpose of the report card is to describe students’ current progress toward end of year standards to parents/guardians. This type of report card gives much more specific information about what students are doing in class and how quickly they are making progress toward meeting the goals for the end of the year.

What are the “Standards?”

The state of Oregon has “standards” in each of the core subject areas taught in our elementary schools and teachers use these standards to determine what to teach over the course of the school year. A standard tells teachers and parents what we want students to know by the time they have completed a school year. In each subject area (for example, reading or math), there are several standards that describe exactly what a student will know and be able to do as a result of learning. These standards are specific to the grade level that students are in. Children in kindergarten who are learning to read have very different reading standards than 5th grade students. For more information about Oregon Standards, please check out the Oregon Department of Education site.

Why is Oregon City School District changing to a Standards Based Report Card?

Our new report card is part of our system of “Best Practices” in education. For many years, our teachers have been using standards to organize their teaching. Now, they will be able to grade students using these same standards. The report cards will provide parents and teachers with more clear information about what we want students to learn (standards) and what students should be able to do as a result of what they have learned (proficiency). Our new report card also meets new state requirements about what should be reported to parents.

The “Academic Marks” used on the new report card are “Descriptors of Proficiency.” What does this mean?

Teachers will be grading students based on how consistently they are able to demonstrate end of grade level expectations for each standard reported on the report card. At the beginning of the school year, or when a standard is just being taught, most students in a classroom will not be “proficient” on the skill or concept. As they are taught, students will more easily and more often show what they know. Our goal is that by the end of the school year, students will be proficient at their grade level

What does each Academic Mark, or Descriptor of Proficiency mean?

At each reporting period, students will be given one of 4 possible “marks” for each standard that is taught during the reporting period. The marks are as follows:

4 = Exceeding Grade Level Standards
The student who receives this mark is demonstrating performance that is above the end of year grade level expectation. Students who are exceeding are able to apply learning to new situations and independently use strategies and skills. They are able to do work that is expected of a student in a higher grade. Some foundational skills may not have an “Exceeds.” For example, once a student knows all the letters of the alphabet, or when a student understands the concept of "Area" in math there are no other ways to demonstrate “exceeding” this standard.

3= Meeting Grade Level Standards
This mark indicates the student has met the end-of-year target for the skill or concept. The goal is for all students to receive this mark (or above) by the end of the year. If the teacher has taught to end of year content standards by the time of the reporting period and your child has shown proficiency, he/she may receive a “3” (there may be some foundational standards and math standards that are completed in December).

2 = Progressing towards or Partial Mastery of Grade Level Standards
The student receiving this grade is progressing and demonstrates basic application of end of year concepts and skills. This mark would be appropriate for a “grade level” student in the Fall and even into the Winter for many of the standards. The student is making expected progress but is not yet at end-of-year standards. It is important to communicate to your child that a 2 indicates that he or she is “on track” to achieving a “3” by the end of the school year. This is not a “bad” mark at the beginning of the year! 
Your child’s teacher will be assessing your child’s strengths and areas of need throughout the year. The evidence collected will help the teacher know when your child is no longer on track for grade level mastery of the standards. Additional support will be discussed for school and home to help him or her catch up.

1 = Little to No Progress towards Grade Level Standards
The student receiving this grade shows limited understanding of end of year concepts and skills. Student performance is “well below” grade level and will need additional support at school and home to catch up. Your child’s teacher may share ideas for helping him or her grow closer to grade level work.

My child got an “NA” for a grade. What does that mean?

Teachers will use the NA grade, meaning, “Not Addressed or Assessed” when there is a standard on the report card that has not been taught yet. Some subjects and standards are taught only during certain times of the school year. For example, some math standards or units of poetry or mythology are taught only in lessons that may be used in the spring

It looks like there are different grades for behaviors. How does my child's teacher grade behaviors like working well with others and completing tasks?

On our new report card, teachers will be providing different marks for "characteristics of successful learners” than for academic subjects. These characteristics include managing personal responsibilities, participating in class, and working well with others. Teachers will use the scale Consistently, Frequently, Occasionally and Rarely to communicate with parents how often their child shows the characteristics of successful learners while in the classroom. We decided to use a different scale for these characteristics, because we expect students to show these positive behaviors throughout the entire school year.

Will our secondary schools (middle/high school) be the same as elementary?

All Oregon City K-12 schools are standards-based. All K-12 teachers will teach the standards and assess the essential standards. Elementary will use a 4-1 rubric scale for mastery and Secondary will continue to use grades A-F to report mastery of the standards. 
At elementary, a 2 means the student is learning the required skills along the continuum at the expected rate to achieve the year-end benchmark by June.

At the secondary level, a C is the rating for demonstrating proficiency to the standard.

Behaviors such as extra credit, homework or bonus points will not be a part of the academic grade.

Isn’t a “3” just another way of saying the student earned a “B”?

One of the biggest differences between a traditional report card and a standards-based report card is assessing what students have “learned” not “earned” based on very clear and specific expectations defined by the Common Core and other state standards. A traditional “B” is an average of the points earned on tests, quizzes, assignments and homework along with effort and participation points, but does not tell us clearly state what the student has really learned and achieved in terms of standards-based expectations for a specific grade level.

Our grades at the secondary level will represent mastery of the grade level standards.

What does a student need to do in order to achieve a “3” at elementary or a B at secondary?

This requires a shift in how we look at and measure student progress and achievement. Instead of asking, “What do students need to know or do in order to earn a 3 or a B?” We need to ask, “What do students need to learn in order to achieve the standards for their grade level?” This also requires a change in how we assess or measure student progress and achievement of the standards. Instead of asking how much do tests and quizzes count towards a student’s final grade average, teachers are rethinking the role and purpose of assessment by asking what assessment evidence will I use to determine student growth towards and mastery of the standards.

My child is academically strong. How will standards‐based teaching, learning and grading challenge my child?

Through standards-based instructional methods of pre-assessment, teachers will know if students have already mastered concepts prior to a lesson or unit. It will give teachers an early opportunity to provide meaningful and challenging work for these students. Teachers differentiate instruction so that students continue to grow and progress. This will be no different with the new reporting tool. In fact, more than ever, teachers will be able to see who really has mastered the standard and who needs additional instruction or intervention.

How will English Language Learners or students on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) be graded on a standards-based report card?

The learning outcome standards for all students are the same; however, students with IEPs have specific accommodations and/or modifications that enable a student to meet the standards. An accommodation does not change the standard, but provides the scaffolding and support necessary for that student to access and demonstrate knowledge of a standard.

What does the research say about grading?

Ken O’ Connor, author for How to Grade for Learning K-12 states, “To be standards based in grading, teachers plan each assessment to provide direct evidence of student proficiency on specific learning outcomes/goals and then record this evidence by goal.” Students perform best when they are informed about the learning targets and the expectations of the standards. Students should be graded according to their performance in a standard not on a curve compared to others because such practice is non-motivational for all but the top students and is difficult to decide which group is the proper reference group—students in this class, all students who have taken the class, or all students in all classes (O’Connor).

Bellon, Bellon, and Blank note, “Academic feedback is more strongly and consistently related to achievement than any other teaching behavior. This relationship is consistent regardless of grade, socioeconomic status, race, or school setting. When feedback and corrective procedures are used, most students can attain the same level of achievement as the top 20% of students.”

Black and William cite three essential elements of what they term enhanced feedback: recognition of the desired goal, 
evidence about present position, and some understanding of a way to close the gap between the two. Wiggins agrees that it is only through this cycle of feedback that excellence results: “Students must have routine access to the criteria and standards for the task they need to master; they must have feedback in their attempts to master those tasks; and they must have opportunities to use the feedback to revise work and resubmit it for evaluation against the standard. Excellence is attained by such cycles of model-practice-perform-feedback-perform.”

Are Standards-Based Report Cards mandated from the State or Federal Government?

K-12 teachers are mandated to teach and assess the Oregon State Standards. House Bill 2220 mandates reporting of that progress to parents. Download the FAQ document to learn more information about HB 2220.  To be effective and efficient, Oregon City School District has chosen to use the report card system to report student mastery of the standards.

If I have additional questions, where can I find more information?

Since this is a new system of reporting learning progress, please feel free to ask questions as we learn together. Your child’s teacher is the best source of information about your child’s learning and your school’s principal can also help you. For general information about standards-based grading, you can visit parent information websites such as Oregon Department of Education or the National PTA guide to Student Success. We will have links to this information on the Oregon City School District web site.

Last Update: 11/19/13