Our focus group for Standard Based Assessment and Reporting had another meeting today. We looked at five of the current report cards our school uses (apparently there are 23 on file!) between elementary and secondary schools. It was astounding how much inconsistency there is and how meaningless the report cards appear to be when stacked up next to each other like that. It is clear we need to rework the method of reporting at our school.
We additionally followed up on our faculty meetings in the secondary and elementary schools. Clearly the elementary school teachers were more receptive than our divided (or should I say divisive) secondary teachers.
I also shared with the focus group my experience in showing one of the teachers from the “include behaviors in the grade” camp how I manage reporting learning behaviors in my grade book without processing them in the final grade. Upon seeing my reporting system this teacher responded very positively, “Oh yes, I could totally go for that.” We concluded, in our focus group, that the secondary teachers might be more open to the SBG if they could be assured that behaviors would, indeed, be assessed and reported on, even if the behaviors did not affect the actual grade of the student.
We have decided that we will divide our focus group into two teams. One team will create a streamlined report card that will work throughout the elementary school. A distinct feature will be a column for achievements (based on the standards) and a column for learning behaviors. The other team will create a reporting system for the secondary school that also separates achievements from learning behaviors (or, as I prefer to call it, “Employability Skills”). Armed with more effective reporting systems, we will once again approach the staff in an effort to move in the direction of standard based assessment and reporting.