The city’s public school district has created a new detailed report card format for students in elementary schools, said Anna Adams, a district administrator, during a presentation before the school board on Wednesday evening.
The new report card (sample of the new 5th grade report card) has been in the works since October 2013, when school administrators formed a committee of 12 parents and 17 district administrators to search out a report card template.
“We researched very typical districts like our own to see which report card would suit our needs for our staff, students and parents,” said Adams. “We took the seven different report cards that are currently in our district, and we combined them all to create one.”
The committee then randomly selected ten schools — School 5, 7, 9, 10, 19, 25, Martin Luther King school, Alexander Hamilton Academy, Norman S. Weir, and Roberto Clemente — to review the new format.
Feedback from school administrators, teachers, and guidance counselors were collated and adjustments were made to the report card.
Packed with dizzying amount of information, the new format is aligned with Common Core standards, said Adams.
She mentioned snippets of texts under the final classroom grades that define where a student stands academically. For example, under English it displays the traditional letter grade, as well as whether the student is able to read fluently, comprehend the read passage, understand the meaning of a text, and have enough understanding to compare and contrast the read text. Each item is assigned a number: 4 as exceeding standards, 1 as in need of dire help.
“So for example, if it was an average student, they were receiving ones and twos or twos and threes, intervention would be needed at that point, and parents would know that by the scores,” explained Adams.
The new format also incorporates standardized test scores like Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading (STAR) assessment scores.
“One that they all agreed on was the assessment scores for stars and PARCC be placed on the report card,” said Adams of the new report card committee.
By integrating a variety of performance indicator into the new report card some school board member feel it will allow for the correction of an imbalance in the classroom grading system that has left parents scratching their heads when a student fails on state exams but manages to obtain high marks in the classroom.
“If you’re getting “A” performance in the classroom and you’re getting “B” performance on the testing then that’s a problem,” said Jonathan Hodges, school board member. Hodges cited a parent that was before the school board who bemoaned the excessive number of exams her child has been subject to; the parent said her child receives excellent letter grades, but obtains low scores on state exams.
“The new report card hopes to address that [disparity between classroom grades and standardized exam grades],” said Christopher Irving, school board member.
“That thing looks very confusing,” complained a parent.
Terry Corallo, spokesperson for the district, said the new report card will look less complex and less confusing and less perplexing once it is imported into Infinite Campus, a web-based student data management system. Parents will be expected to read the report cards online, but for those who are unable to do so paper copies will be provided.
The district will provide training to teachers and parent coordinators to demystify the complexity of the report card. “There will be ongoing training,” said Adams, “for parent coordinators to assist parents in each building.”
Plans are in place to import the new report card into the web-based system by July 15th, 2014 and have it fully implemented by September.