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NEW Elementary Report Cards, 2019-20

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a standards-based progress report?

A standards-based progress report describes a child’s learning based on district curricula and end-of-year grade-level expectations aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS).  Standards-based grading focuses on progress toward mastery of essential grade-level standards in each discipline.  

What is the purpose of a standards-based progress report?

The purpose of this type of progress report is to provide parents with a clear picture of their child’s achievement toward key grade-level content and performance targets.  These targets, reflecting the student-learning standards adopted by New Jersey, have been identified as particularly important for students’ success as they continue through school.  A standards-based report provides parents with accurate, consistent, meaningful, and supportive information about their child’s current learning.

What are the benefits of standards-based reporting? 

A standards-based approach to grading . . . 

  • creates consistency across schools within a district 
  • isolates specific strengths and challenges of the learner
  • allows for more differentiated instruction and opportunities for enrichment
  • communicates academic progress more clearly to parents
  • increases instructional consistency across teachers and within grade levels

Does the new progress report give information about behavior, effort, and study skills?

Yes, information on behavior, effort, and study skills is reported in a section called 21st Century Competencies.  As students learn to be active participants in their school and classroom, they develop important skills for successfully navigating life in a global society.  There is also a place on the report for written comments where teachers may speak specifically to the student’s growth in these areas.

How often will I receive a progress report for my child?

Written progress reports will be distributed three times a year.  This is in addition to two scheduled parent-teacher conferences.  These five touch-points are intended to provide parents with information about their children’s growth over the course of the school year.  The schedule for 2019-2020 is:

October 21, 22, 29, 30            Parent-Teacher Conferences 
January 17                              Written Progress Report Card
March 4, 5, 11, 12                   Parent-Teacher Conferences
April 24                                   Written Progress Report Card
June 16 (or last day)               Written Progress Report Card
What are the advantages of a standards-based report card for a parent?

A standards-based report card provides a parent with in-depth information about key content and skills being taught in school and where their child’s achievement level is at the time of the report.  Through this more specific feedback based on standards, both teachers and parents will be better able to focus on important grade-level skills rather than simply on earning grades.  Additionally, standards-based reporting, with the accompanying rubrics, allows for consistency of reporting across teachers and schools.

What do the proficiency levels on the report card mean?

  • "E" Exceeding the Standard – Student extends key concepts, processes, and skills; student consistently works beyond the grade-level benchmark
  • "M" Meeting the Standard – Student consistently grasps and applies key concepts, processes, and skills; student consistently meets the grade-level benchmark 
  • "P" Exhibiting Progress toward the Standard – Student is beginning to grasp and apply key concepts, processes, and skills; student is positively progressing toward the grade-level benchmark
  • "ND" Needs to Develop Skills  - Student is not readily grasping key concepts, processes, and skills; student needs significant support in this area
  • "NA" Not Yet Introduced and/or Assessed at this time

It is important to remember that an “E” on a standards-based report does not equal an “A”  in the traditional grading method.  The proficiency levels reflect whether a child’s performance on key assignments and assessments typically exceeds, meets, falls somewhat below, or falls significantly below the standards for their grade at the specific time of the report. 

Because the progress report is measuring end-of-year standards, it is also important to note that appropriately achieving students may not attain a rating of “M” until the year’s end, unless the particular item represents a skill or understanding that the teacher guided to mastery and formally assessed earlier in the year.

Also, please keep in mind that while in traditional reporting, an “A” may have meant that the student is meeting grade-level expectations as measured by tests and assignments, in standards-based grading, this would be represented by a rating of “M”.   An “E” on the new progress report means that a student is readily able to demonstrate higher levels of concept and skill application beyond the proficiency level for the grade.

How do teachers determine students’ proficiency levels?

Teachers use multiple measures including formative and summative assessments to determine where students are on the grade-level journey.  Rubrics clearly delineate what a student needs to know and be able to do in order to reach each proficiency level.  The rubrics are aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) and end-of-year grade-level expectations.You can find the NJSLS here.

What is a rubric and how is it used?

A rubric is a scoring tool for teachers that lists the criteria for a piece of work or a specific task.  Progress report rubrics clearly describe levels of quality for the criteria listed.   Our progress report card rubrics identify current performance as Exceeding, Meeting, Progressing, or Needing Development related to each standard.  Multiple learning activities and assessments are used to determine a student’s placement on the rubric and progress toward the grade-level goals.  

My child is in a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) class.  Is a DLI progress report different?

The Dual Language Immersion progress report has one additional section:  Spanish Language Arts.  Students are assessed on the acquisition of immersion-appropriate receptive and expressive language as well as reading and writing in Spanish.  While Mathematics and Science are also taught in Spanish, students are assessed on grade-level NJSLS standards for those subjects.

Should I share the progress report with my child?

Exactly how you share the report card with your child is up to you and your family.  We recommend that you always focus on strengths and growth – what they’ve learned and what they haven’t learned yet.  Having focused conversations on specific skill areas may help children set more targeted goals for their learning.