Standards-Based Reporting


By comparing one child's performance to a clear standard, everyone knows exactly what is expected. When a student attempts a task, the performance is compared to the standard, not other performances, not other children's performances. Standards-based reporting provides clarity & improved learning.

A standards-based system:

  1. defines what students should master at each grade
  2. defines learning goals for the school year
  3. enhances communication
  4. uses consistent language across grades
  5. identifies learning patterns over a child's educational career

How will teachers evaluate student achievement over the course of a trimester?

Student performance is evaluated on a continual basis - minimally every third week. Teachers collect evidence of learning from a variety of sources:

  • observations
  • examinations of class work
  • discussions
  • projects
  • quizzes & tests

Is standards-based reporting motivating for students?

Learning is developmental. While in the process of learning how to learn, students will gain insight into their unique learning styles & needs. The older the students get, the more prepared they are to succeed.

Click here to see a video about Assessment FOR Learning.

Are letter grades motivating for students?

Research has shown that letter grades do not motivate students to learn.

  1. Grades reduce students' interest in learning. The more people are rewarded for a task, the more they lose interest (Kohn, 1993). Therefore when students are told learning counts for a grade, they are likely to view learning as a chore.
  2. Grades reduce students' desire for challenge. Students of all ages who concentrate on getting a good grade tend to pick the easiest possible assignment when given a choice (arter, 1978; harter & Guzman, 1986; Kage, 1991; Milton et al., 1986) Children pressured to get an A are less inclined to challenge themselves. Thus students who cut corners may not be lazy, but may be adapting to an environment where good grades are what count instead of intellectual exploration.
  3. Grades reduce the quality of students' thinking. A series of studies found that students given numerical grades were less creative than those who received qualitative feedback without grades. Highest achievement occurred when comments were given instead of letter grades (Buller, 1987; Butler, 1988; Butler & Nisan, 1986)

What reports can a parent/guardian expect to see?

  • Usual tests, quizzes, or feedback on assignments
  • MAP scores
  • SRI scores
  • Achieve 3000 Lexile levels
  • Rubrics
  • Indicators (scores) derived from observations, projects & tests (products)

Report cards communicate levels of mastery. Click here to see more information

How do teachers assess mastery?

Standards require understanding and demonstration of that understanding. Teachers determine when a student achieves mastery by that student's performance on multiple assignments & assessments.

Do standards convey behavioral progress together with achievement of standards?

Learning behaviors such as effort, risk-taking, attitude, and perseverance are documented separately from academic learning. Work habits may also be characterized in narrative form through teacher comments.

What do students need to do in order to achieve "Meeting Standards"?

Teachers rely on multiple sources of evidence to determine their mastery of standards. Learning is a process. "Working toward" shows a student is making progress to meeting a standard. Once s/he demonstrates understanding, the measure of the standard will change. "Needs Improvement" shows more practice is needed to make progress. Some concepts & skills are more difficult to grasp, but given time and effort, students can continually grow.

Why can't a student "exceed" mastery?

It is important that adults convey that learning is a process. A score of "M" for meeting a standard demonstrates master and is to be celebrated. This means a student's demonstration of skill and understanding is met for the grade level and can be moved past to the next standard.

Can progress toward standards go down?

Yes. Student skills are expected to develop in sophistication over the year. As concepts grow in complexity, expectations & evaluations also increase.

Does standards-based teaching, learning & assessing challenge advanced learners?

Teachers are required to challenge students who are achieving grade level standards. This is not different with new reporting. Teachers will have a clear picture of who has mastered the standard and be able to provide specific instruction toward the next standard through enrichment or extensions. Students will move up the learning progression.