Assigning report card grades has ling been a time-consuming part of a teachers job. To produce a grade, teachers design and grade assignments, tests, homework, and other tasks that they deem are important. This age old practice raises some new questions in a standards-driven educational system.
What relationship do the grades have to the standards students are asked to achieve?
Can you tell by the grade which standards students have and have not achieved proficiency?
What information do grades give that would help parents (and students) understand what a student knows and can do in relation to a standard?
Are the assignments and tests used to create grades designed to elicit information about where the student is in achieving a standard?
Is the time spent creating grades in alignment with the teachers responsibility to teach the content standards?
If, instead, the teachers time was spent trying to assess and report where the student was in relationship to the standard, would it be better aligned?
How do you transition from traditional report card grades which the school system dictates to a progress report that provides information about what standards a student has achieved proficiency on and which standards students are still working toward proficiency? Some schools have started to use their monitoring data as the basis for a parent progress report. Some teachers have set up their grade book to monitor the content standards indicators/objectives.
Teachers, schools and districts will continue to wrestle with this dilemma until they find a better alignment between the focus of student learning on the content standards and the communication via a report card of how students are performing on the content standards.