On October 16th Tri-C Elementary School made student report cards available online for parents and guardians to view. On the surface, this may have seemed routine and just another “report card day.” However, this was the culmination of a multi-year process to improve our grading practices.
Rewind to 2018 and one would have seen slight differences from year to year in a student’s report card. Although these slight differences reported student progress, they failed to provide school-wide consistency in relation to the learning targets set for our students.
Our current system of proficiency provides 3 levels of understanding for both academic and behavioral standards. Parents and students are provided a rating on specific standards and not just a summary of points accumulated (traditional grading). There is an emphasis placed on learning and a commitment to reassessment and use of most recent evidence of learning.
In our conversations we often used the analogy of riding a bike or tying your shoes. "Riding" and "tying" are the standard. If that has not been mastered, learning and assessment will continue to take place. Once mastered, there is no penalty (or reduction in points) for learning that takes place during the journey. Our students need to hear they are "not there YET" and develop a growth mindset toward their defined learning standards.
Our teachers and staff had countless hours of conversations, questions, professional development and final decisions to make. They should all be commended for their efforts and flexibility during this process. The journey will never be “over” as the needs of students are ever evolving. For many report card day was just another day, but this one was extra special for our school this time around!