Standards Based Grading and Report Cards
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Standards-Based Grading?
Standards-based grading is used to help every student understand his or her current progress and development in meeting grade level standards so he or she can continue making adequate progress. By aligning curriculum, assessment, and student report cards to standards, teachers measure student learning against consistent, established criteria. This is different from traditional assessment and reporting, which gives a single letter or number grade for broad subject categories.
What is a Standards-Based Report Card?
A standards-based report card highlights the most important skills students should learn in each subject at a particular grade level. A standards-based report card puts the emphasis on student growth, rather than on a comparison between and among students. In grades K-5, students will not be receiving “grades” on their assignments and assessments. Instead, teachers will be providing feedback on each assignment/assessment and suggestions for how they can improve in standards’ mastery.
What are the NJ Student Learning Standards?
The New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) inform teachers, parents, and students about what skills and content students should learn at varying points in their educational experience. Developing assessments and report cards based upon these standards allows educators to measure how well students are acquiring skills and knowledge relative to those established standards.
Can I see the New Jersey Student Learning Standards to which my child’s report card is aligned? Yes. Please visit https://www.nj.gov/education/cccs/ to read the standards.
What is the purpose of a standards-based report card?
The purpose of this report card is to give a clear picture of your child’s achievement of key targets.
Whereas traditional reports measure students’ growth in general academic areas, a standards-based report card focuses on the student's progress with specific skills towards academic targets. These targets, reflecting the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, have been identified as particularly important for students’ success as they continue through school.
What are the advantages of a standards-based report card for a parent?
The standards-based report card will provide you with in-depth information about your child’s achievement in school. Through more specific feedback based on standards, both teachers and parents will be able to help students meet grade-level goals rather than simply earning grades. In addition, the standards-based report cards and the accompanying rubrics allow for more consistency in grading practices from one teacher to another.
What are proficiency levels?
Proficiency levels will indicate your child’s current progress in mastering each standard. Your child’s teacher will indicate which proficiency level your child has attained in each standard for every trimester.
Meeting Standard (MS)
The student has demonstrated an understanding of all the knowledge and skills within the standard and can apply the skill without help from the teacher; “Meeting Standards” is the goal for each student by the end of the year.
Approaching Standard (AS)
The student is beginning to grasp and apply key concepts, processes, and skills with the help of the teacher; The student is demonstrating progress toward mastery of the standard.
Needs Support (NS)
The student has demonstrated progress toward foundational skills of the standard. The student requires significant support in attaining mastery of the standard.
*Exceeding Standard (ES)
The student has not only demonstrated mastery of the knowledge and skills within the standard, but can fluently and creatively apply the knowledge and skills in a variety of performance challenges and consistently shows evidence of higher-order thinking.
*It is important to remember that “Exceeding Standards (ES)” on the standards-based report card does not equal an “A” in the traditional grading method. The proficiency levels reflect whether a child’s performance on key assignments typically exceed, meet, fall somewhat below, or fall significantly below standards. In prior reporting, an “A” may have meant that a child met all the standards for the test or assignment; in the new report card, this would be represented by “Meeting Standards.” An “ES” on the new report card means that a student is regularly able to demonstrate a level of skill and understanding beyond the proficiency standard for his or her grade level.
How do the teachers determine students’ proficiency levels?
Throughout the year, our teachers use multiple types of assessments in order to determine students’ progress toward grade-level standards. In order to determine students’ proficiency levels and the accompanying developmental progress codes, teachers use benchmark rubrics. A benchmark rubric is a scoring tool that lists the criteria for each proficiency level for each standard. These rubrics clearly delineate what a student needs to know or be able to do in order to earn an ES, MS, AS, or NS on his or her report card. These rubrics align to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards and are available for you to read on our website. You can view our rubrics here.
Does the report card give information about behavior, effort, and study skills?
Yes, information on behavior, effort, and study skills is reported separately from the academic information in a section called “Behaviors that Support Learning.” There is also a section for teachers to write additional comments.
How should I share my child’s report card with him or her?
Exactly how you share the report card with your child is up to you and your family, but we recommend that you focus on a few strengths and weaknesses with your child. Having a more focused conversation with your child about the areas where he or she excels and where he or she can continue to work will help your child set more targeted goals for his or her own learning.
Where can I get more information on standards-based grading in the district? Here is a presentation we made to the public when we first rolled over the standards-based grading.
How can I view my child's progress throughout the trimester? Parents of Grade 5 students will be able to view their child's progress through the Genesis Parent Portal starting in Trimester 2 of the 2022-2023 school year. Parents of Grades K-4 students will be able to view their child's progress through the Genesis Parent portal starting in Trimester 1 of the 2023-2024 school year. Here is a short tutorial that walks you through the process.