Grand Canyon Elementary students in grades K-3 will be receiving more detailed progress reports in the future to give parents a better idea of how they are doing when it comes to state standards.
Cyndi Moreno, second-grade teacher, has been working on development assessment reports for kindergartners and state standards reports for students in grades 1-3. At last week’s school board meeting, Moreno said the detailed reports are needed to explain to parents if their children are meeting standards, instead of just giving out the traditional A through F grades.
"We got together before school started and took a compilation of report cards and took what we liked and tried to put this together," Moreno said, adding that what board members were seeing was something only half completed. "It’s a report with more individual skills listed, instead of just the A grade, B grade ... it gets away from the pressures of those grades."
The school’s Becky Crumbo said changes made over the past decade with standards has made the A through F grades inaccurate.
"We’ll require parents to come in and have a meeting with the teacher during parent-teacher conferences and it will give the teacher an opportunity to explain what the child needs to learn," Crumbo said. "We’ve been gearing toward this for a long time."
During the first week of school, most teachers do send home with children a list of standards. Therefore, the information is available. But the new reports will bring those standards to the forefront to give parents a true measure of the child’s progress.
When asked if the progress reports would be produced for students in higher grades, Crumbo said it was a goal of the school’s Proposition 301 committee to proceed with state standards reports for grades 4-6 next. She added that the committee wasn’t sure what to do with middle-school reports yet and high-school reports can’t really change because it’s difficult to know where to make the transition.
"There really is a difference between an A in high school and an A in the first grade," Vernon said. "In high school, you have a course outline, course curriculum. An A means the student has met that course outline and has met the requirements of that course at the A level."
In lower elementary, however, Vernon said students often work below their grade level and teachers challenge them appropriately at their level. If they excel, an A may be rewarded, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the student is doing work at grade level and meeting state standards.
Richard Dodson, principal, said many progressive schools are going to these types of state standard reports and commended Moreno and other teachers who have worked on the project.
Because of the reports, the parent-teacher conferences will take on an even more important purpose. The reports will differ from report cards today’s parents received when they were children.
Moreno said she’d like to get away from the A through F mentality and awards associated with those letter grades.
"One of things that’s difficult for me is this A, B system and the awards assembly," Moreno said. "Kids go home crying because they don’t understand why they’re not on it (receiving awards, on honor roll). I’ve always gotten negative feedback from whatever I’ve tried or done. I’m looking at the children’s successes here, and maybe not all succeed in all areas. I don’t know if we can move away from awards assemblies, but I’d like to."