Last year the District introduced the concept of standards-based report cards to the Elementary community. K-6 students began receiving report cards that looked quite different from the traditional ones. Gone were the A-F grades, and in their place were multiple academic standards and numbers! This is, in fact, fairly common transition for many schools, including Middletown, RI. The reasoning behind it is simple: we need to evaluate our students not based on their completion of materials, but based on their demonstrating understanding or mastery of the knowledge and skills they are expected to learn. Standards-based grades give students and parents a much more detailed, richer picture of the students’ learning across all core subjects.
In the schools, transitioning from traditional grade reports to standards-based reports is no small task – teachers need to be trained on how to apply the standards, student systems need to be changed to accommodate the new evaluation structure, and the community needs to be educated as to how to read and interpret these new “grades.” Warwick’s new Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Wendy Amelotte conducted a wide-ranging survey among the parent and teacher community around our standards-based report cards and found that many people needed clarification on how to use and read the standards and grades. She came away convinced that our new elementary report cards were good, but could be better, and that their content should be better explained to the community.
Below is a slide show given during the May 15, 2018 School Committee meeting on the community survey results and the resulting plans to improve the report cards based on that feedback. We are confident that these improvements will help everyone who touches these report cards – teachers, parents, and most importantly students. Look for more news on this project as the planning continues.