Out with the Old, In with the New: Burrell Primary and Secondary Report Cards Are Getting a Makeover
Burrell primary and secondary students will no longer be receiving traditional report cards, and that’s a big step in the right direction, according to Dr. Gregory Egnor, Director of Special Education/LEA. “Schools that aren’t making the transition toward standards-based report cards are behind the times,” says Egnor.
Rather than merely assigning a student a percentage that correlates to a letter grade, the new standards-based report cards provide specific information about how that student is progressing.
A pure standards-based report card, which is currently in place at Bon Air Elementary, breaks down a student’s grade into three categories: commendable, successful, and experiencing difficulty. “Commendable,” meaning that student has a deep understanding of the material; “successful,” that he or she is making progress toward expectations; and “experiencing difficulty,” that a student is struggling toward expectations.
At Stewart Elementary, the new reports cards are a hybrid that blends together a list of standards and an overall grade. While students will still receive a traditional grade percentage for each assignment, they will also be assessed using five standards-based general descriptors based on core content for each class.
“Standards-based report cards allow for much stronger communication with parents and students,” says Bon Air Principal Amy Lenart, “so they know exactly what they are being graded on and what their strengths and weaknesses are.”
Along with new report cards, the district has also implemented Skyward, an online portal where parents can access their child’s grades, among many other useful tools. With Skyward, “parents won’t be surprised,” Egnor says, “as they now have access to the grade book online.”
To inform and educate parents about Skyward and changes to the grading system, one meeting, Project Discover, was held this past summer to discuss what standards-based reporting means. There is also an upcoming joint PTA meeting scheduled to take place in October to make sure parents are well-informed of these exciting changes.
With standards-based reporting in place, Burrell primary and secondary faculty will have much more collaboration and flexibility to adapt and refine core curriculum and common assessments. “Curriculum is living and breathing,” says Egnor. With a framework in place, teachers can adjust curriculum to reflect the fluctuating needs of students.
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