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Report Card Update 2014-15
As the grading period marches on we will soon be preparing for Quarter 1 Report Cards as well as parent and teacher conferences. Before the grading period ends I wanted to provide you with a brief update, sharing with you what information we will be providing to our parents in the way of report cards.
Report Cards are generated four times a year and intended to formally communicate how your child is doing in school. However, most parents have a pretty good sense of how their child is doing through the many informal ways that teachers communicate progress. Through stapled papers, returned tests, email messages, phone calls, conduct cards, and access to the Jupiter parent portal online, the grades reported on the Report Card rarely come as a surprise. Report Cards are truly just one component of a much broader communication effort.
Last year our school introduced a different type of Report Card in grades K-5 based upon the standards our teachers are required to teach. (The standards are developed by the State of Indiana and are assessed at the State level each Spring when our students complete the ISTEP+ assessment.) This type of Standards-based report is intended to offer more detailed and specific information relating your child's achievement and the standards they are working to meet. Rather than relying on a traditional letter grade to indicate strengths and weaknesses, a standards-based report incorporates the actual standards into the report. Parents and teachers can more clearly see the strengths and weaknesses of individual students.
We learned a great deal last year. Many of the changes that have been put in place this year are a direct result of parent feedback. I appreciate the many conversations and suggestions that have been brought forward. With the reintroduction of Jupiter Grades, I am much more confident that we will be able to communicate much more effectively your child's achievement.
WHY A DIFFERENT REPORT CARD?
At St. Jude, our teachers and staff believe that a Standards-based report accomplishes the following:
Improves our ability to share with parents more detailed, specific and accurate information related to student achievement.
Places greater emphasis on quality assessments directly linked to standards allowing us to communicate how we know your child is learning.
Offers parents a better opportunity to know and understand grade level standards and expectations.
Makes the "report card" a more valuable tool which helps ensure that standards are taught, assessed and mastered.
Helps parents and teachers and even students know exactly what skills and concepts need additional attention.
We believe at St. Jude that a Standards-based report card is an improvement over a traditional report card. We believe it allows us to better communicate information to our parents which is of great importance and certainly our primary goal.
LOOKING AHEAD - The Plan for Quarter 1 Report Cards
Our teachers plan to take extra time explaining the following reports during parent and teacher conferences. Here is what to expect when the first grading period ends in a few weeks:
Grades K-1 will be utilizing a Standards-based report with a four point achievement scale. Students may receive an "E" for exceeding a standard, an "M" for meeting a standard, a "P" for showing the expected progress toward a standard and an "N" for not meeting a standard. Kindergarten and first grade teachers will be reviewing these reports in detail during parent and teacher conferences. Click for Sample
Grades 2-5 will be generating both a traditional report card as well as a standards-based report card. The Archdiocesan percentage grading scale will be used in grades 2-5 for both reports. Parents will have the opportunity to compare these reports side by side. Click for Sample
Traditional report cards using the Archdiocesan percentage grading scale will be generated. Plans are in place to also offer a standards-based report in the future but there are no plans to eliminate the traditional report card. Click for Sample
IMPACT ON TEACHING
By moving to a Standards-based report, our teachers have taken time to reflect upon their own teaching and grading practices. This style of report has forced our staff to evaluate their own assessments/activities and has created an overall sense of growth. Our teachers have worked extremely hard, trying to align their instruction to the new Indiana standards and our new method of reporting. Our teachers have been extremely impressive, working to provide you with better and more accurate information. Please keep in mind that these efforts are directly connected to making St. Jude a better school.
While we are excited that Jupiter Grades will produce a better report for our teachers and parents, please be patient as our teacher learn yet another grading system. It does take time to learn exactly how the system operates and be used most efficiently.
Again, report cards are just one way that we communicate student achievement with our parents. I encourage all of you to contact the classroom teacher if ever you have questions or concerns regarding your student.