Elementary level educators are reporting the progress of their students by way of a new grading system.
Students in kindergarten through sixth grade in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District are now being evaluated with the Standards Referenced Scoring Scale, said Director of Elementary Education Christine Ermold.
Improvement is now rated on a 0-4 scale, and that scale is applied to specified areas of learning, Ermold said. Including fourth- through sixth-graders in the new system began at the start of the 2015 school year, Ermold said.
There are two versions of the new report cards that schools and teachers can choose to use. One option summarizes six different categories or “strands” of language arts, five categories or “domains” of mathematics, and general summaries of science, social studies and health units, which the scale is not applied to.
The second option extends the “strands” and “domains” even further providing examples in the areas of “measurement and data,” for example, to what degree the student is demonstrating understanding. Behavior is not included in the academic scores.
“It is a great level of information than has been given to them in the past,” Ermold said.
The system is just another step in the evolution of report cards used in the school district, Ermold said. Administration has been revising evaluations for 15 years, she said.
Students in kindergarten through third grade have been evaluated on the scale in various subjects since 2011, Ermold said. In 2012 some schools started using the number system in all areas of the report card.
Starting in 2013, the scale was used in all kindergarten through third grade classes, plus at a handful of pilot schools in fourth through sixth grades across the district, she said.
“After the pilot project was completed last year, and additional adjustments were made based on input from teachers and parents, the new reporting system was rolled out district-wide in the elementary programs this fall,” Ermold said.
The scale was developed by a group of school district teachers.
The school district based the final version on work done by Robert Marzano, a researcher in education evaluation.
At first Ermold said there was some frustration about the system from parents and teachers.
“Initially teachers were really frustrated because they didn’t understand it,” Ermold said.
The school district assisted in developing ways educators could implement the new system into how they taught, Ermold said. Now that they understand the standards they like how much clearer and specific it is, she said.
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