All Rockdale County public elementary schools will see the year’s first report cards go home Oct. 13, but parents of kindergarten through third graders won’t be seeing any As, Bs or Cs.
Instead, those students will be issued standards-based report cards - a detailed form of scoring that breaks down the assessment of a student’s performance on curriculum priorities and skills and allows parents and instructors to pinpoint where a child might need help.
The students are given a performance score of 1 through 4 on an array of areas, with 4 meaning the student exceeds the level they are expected to perform for that grade level and 1 meaning the student has shown "little or no progress toward the standard."
"This is not a modified GPA scale," said Rich Autry, RCPS chief academic officer. "Just because a student receives a 4, that does not mean an A. That means the child needs to be enriched, extended." Materials outlining the performance expectations for each grade and scoring guides on the new standards-based format will go home with each report card as well.
"It requires some education on the part of our teachers and parents alike," said Autry. "Standards-based reporting is different than what most of our teachers were trained in and what most of our parents are used to. As they get through the first year, they start to understand the whys and it gives much more information how to help my child at home and how to ask questions to my child’s teacher."
He explained that school systems across the state and country were moving to standards-based learning to ensure students were mastering the skills and knowledge they needed to learn rather than simply completing class work.
This is the second year the standards-based report cards have been issued. Last year, the program was started for grades kindergarten through second grade, and the program was rolled up to include third grade this year.
The school system is looking at possibly expanding the standards-based system to fourth and fifth grades next year and reach middle school grades for the 2011-2012 school year.
"We’re going to try and take it in small bites so our parents and teachers can acclimate to the subsystem, but we can’t afford to take 12 years to roll it out through the k-12 system."
Report cards for grades K through 3 are available online at www.rockdale.k12.ga.us/CI/Instruction/default.aspx
Report cards are issued once a quarter and will also be coming out Jan. 8, March 23 and May 28.