- Standards-Based Versus Traditional Grading
- Academic Profess Indicators
- Student Evidence to Determine Progress
- Related Arts
- Social Development, Work Habits, and Qualities of a Learner
- Grading and Growth Report Communication
- Standards-Based Reporting and Special Populations
- Promotion Guidelines
- For Additional Information
Beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, Milford School District shifted to a standards-based grading approach in kindergarten and is now making the shift as our students progress into first grade. The purpose of a standards-based student growth report is to communicate a learner’s proficiency level as they progress toward meeting the defined learning standards. Learning standards are the nationally established academic skills your child should know or be able to do by the end of the school year.
The student growth report fully aligns with the State of Delaware approved Common Core Standards in English Language Arts, Mathematics, the Delaware Social Studies State Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards. The indicators on the growth report do not reflect every standard taught and assessed throughout the school year. Rather, they reflect mastery levels of prioritized standards that are considered necessary for future academic success.
The growth report is designed to:
align with current state standards;
reflect student progress towards grade-level standards;
be unique to the grade and the standards of that grade; and
provide more objective evaluation according to consistent grade-level standards.
Research supports standards-based grading and reporting as a basis of communication that will help students learn more effectively through better feedback for teachers, students, and families. The Standards-Based Growth Report is only one component in Milford School District’s effort to improve learning outcomes for every student in every classroom.
Standards-based grading communicates how students perform on a clearly defined set of learning targets called standards. Standards-based grading aims to identify what a student knows or can do in relation to pre-established learning targets.
Unlike the traditional grading system, a standards-based grading system measures a student’s mastery of grade-level standards by prioritizing the most recent, consistent level of performance. Thus, a student who may have struggled when encountering new material at the beginning of a unit may still be able to demonstrate mastery of key content and concepts by the end of the marking period or by the end of the school year.
Standards-based grading gives students the practice they need and more than one opportunity to demonstrate success. It uses assessments based on prioritized standards and multiple scores per student, which reflect a student’s ability at a specific moment in time.
In contrast, in the traditional grading system, a student’s performance for an entire marking period is averaged together and typically involves a single overall letter or numerical grade. As an example, early quiz scores that may have been low would be averaged together with more proficient performance later in the course, resulting in a lower overall grade than the student’s current performance indicates. The traditional grading system does not always convey precise information regarding student growth.
Academic progress is reported on a scale of 1 to 4.
4 Exceeding the Standard
A “4” indicates the student has advanced understanding and exceeds grade level expectations. A student receiving a “4” demonstrates academically superior skills in that specific area. This student applies learning and concepts in new and varied ways, challenges him or herself to think deeply to make connections, and demonstrates this advanced knowledge at school.
3 Meeting the Standard
A “3” indicates the student has a proficient understanding and meets grade-level expectations. We want all of our students to reach a level “3” by the end of the school year. A student receiving a “3” is right on track with our high academic expectations. A “3” is something to be celebrated!
2 Approaching the Standard
A “2” indicates the student has basic understanding and is approaching meeting grade level expectations. A student receiving a “2” understands the basic concept or skill but has not yet reached the proficient level. A “2” should indicate that the student’s performance varies in consistency concerning the accuracy, quality, and level of support.
1 Limited Progress Toward the Standard
A “1” indicates the student has minimal understanding and does not meet grade-level expectations, and performance is inconsistent even with guidance and support. Students receiving “1” will need additional support and/or interventions to learn the materials and progress toward meeting the standard.
NA Not Assessed at This Time
NA is used when the teacher has not yet introduced the standard or skill or there is not sufficient evidence of student achievement available to determine progress.
As students work toward achieving grade-level expectations in all areas - both academic and non-academic - teachers carefully consider the following in determining progress:
A collection of work over time;
Daily written and/or oral tasks;
Application of skills; and
Periodic formative and summative assessments (quizzes, tests, project-based performance tasks).
Teachers will continue to add comments in narrative form in each of the end-of-marking period growth reports. Teachers’ comments will address student strengths, areas of growth (both academic and non-academic), and individual student goals regarding what is necessary to reach grade-level expectations.
Related Arts will be assessed using the same performance level indicators as academic content, as described above. Due to the rotating schedule, students are assessed twice per school year in related arts. This allows for a more thorough and genuine reflection of a student’s progress.
|Kindergarten Related Arts||First Grade Related Arts|
Student success depends on more than the achievement of standards. Students are also observed in other areas, such as being self-directed learners, producing quality work, working collaboratively with peers, self-regulating their emotions, and being respectful to themselves and others, all of which are traits of successful students. These Qualities of a Learner will be reflected using individual comments from your child’s teacher.
Research indicates that a student’s chance of success in school improves when there is regular and meaningful two-way communication between the family and the school. The K-1 growth report provides direct feedback to families, students, and staff regarding progress toward the end-of-grade standards.
Reporting student progress is essential to this communication process between home and school. Families should have information that accurately reflects a student’s level of performance and progress in meeting academic standards. The information included on the growth report and the accompanying documents should enable families to best support their children at home.
The growth report is one way of learning about your child’s progress in school. Conferences with your child’s teacher and work samples will improve your understanding of their performance in school.
The following communication opportunities are scheduled into the calendar every school year:
|Kindergarten Orientation - August||MP 1 - November|
|Open Houses - September||MP 2 - January|
|Conferences - October||MP 3 - April|
|Conferences - September-June by request||MP 4 - June|
Formal parent-teacher conferences are held in October. However, parents are encouraged to reach out to their child’s teacher to ask for a conference at any time. Also, schools offer additional ongoing opportunities for communication throughout the year, including:
Phone calls and emails
Samples of student work
District, school, and teacher websites
Newsletters and MSD Alerts
District and school events
Parent organization meetings
Students who have an IEP
Standards-based grading principles are equally as applicable and appropriate for students with disabilities as they are for their peers. IEP teams, including general educators, should determine what, if any, modifications are needed for students to master grade-level expectations. Some students on an IEP have accommodations that support them in making progress toward grade-level standards. These students will be instructed with these accommodations and then graded using the academic progress indicators described above. Other students may have modified grade-level standards written into their IEP. If a student has a modified grade-level expectation as part of his or her IEP, the academic progress indicator, which represents the teacher's assessment of the student’s performance on the modified standard, should be noted on the growth report. Parents should be aware that their student is working toward a modified standard. The teacher may provide additional details in the comments section or an attached document.
Students who are Multilingual Learners
Standards-based grading principles are equally as applicable and appropriate for students who are learning English as they are for their native English-speaking peers. Multilingual Learners may have modified grade-level expectations for oral language, communication, or both within various content areas. Based on language proficiency, Multilingual teachers may modify any Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening Standards and any communication standards within other content areas. Multilingual Learners and their English-speaking peers are assessed on the same academic grade-level standards. The modifications and accommodations provided support the mastery of these standards. Parents should be aware that their student is working toward a modified communication standard and is receiving accommodations to support the mastery of academic standards. An additional document, the ML Narrative, will be attached to the growth report, which includes knowledge about their student's current English language development.
Students who are in the Dual Language Spanish Immersion Program
Students in the Spanish Immersion Program will be assessed on the appropriate academic grade-level standards. They will also be assessed on oral language and communication standards for Spanish language development. An additional document, the Student Proficiency Report (SPR), will be attached to the growth report, which includes knowledge about their child’s current Spanish language development.
Student promotion is dependent upon several factors. The promotion of each student will be determined individually, and the decision to promote a student is made on the basis of multiple factors, including progress toward meeting English language arts, math, social studies, science standards, and school attendance. When a student does not meet the promotion criteria, the student will be retained or assigned remediation through interventions at the school administration’s discretion. In consultation with a student support team, the school administration may retain/place/promote a student under certain circumstances, including excessive absences.