Standards-Referenced Reporting

Standards Referenced Reporting System K-6
A one-page summary of Standards-Referenced Reporting: Overview

View the StandardsReferenced Reporting Parent and Student Handbook: Handbook

Would you like to learn more about standards-referenced reporting?
Here is an overview, along with Frequently Asked Questions: Standards-Referenced Reporting FAQ

View this presentation: Standards-Referenced Reporting

The fundamental principles of standards-referenced reporting:

  • Students learn in different time frames.
    • Mistakes are necessary and productive in learning.
      • Problem solving and critical thinking are integral parts of learning.
        • Students must have ownership in their learning and data.
          • Students must understand the purpose of their learning.
            • Students receive frequent and specific feedback.
              • Student scoring is based on knowledge of a learning goal, not attitude or effort.

              Nov. 17, 2011, school board meeting
              During the Nov. 17, 2011, school board meeting, board members participated in an exercise to illustrate the benefits of standards-referenced grading.

              Karen Hurst, Director of K-6 Curriculum and Assessment, showed the board a page with 24 letters arranged in a pyramid. She asked the board to look briefly at the letters. She then removed the page and asked them to write down the letters they remembered. Board members recalled from 1 to 16 of the letters. Board member Joe Anthuis said he identified which two letters were missing.

              Hurst asked board members to consider how the activity might be graded. Should someone be considered proficient if he/she remembered all of the letters, half of the letters, five letters, or one letter? After some discussion, she shared that human brains can typically recall a series of seven letters, digits or shapes. She also had board members share strategies that they used to remember the letters.

              Hurst then asked the board to look at a second series of letters, and told them to try to remember as many letters as possible in order from top to bottom of the pyramid. Most of the board members improved. Hurst said that knowing the learning target (recalling the letters in correct order) and using strategies (such as nonsense words or abbreviations) helped improve performance.

              With a standards-referenced grading system, students are told the learning target before the learning takes place. Students and teachers work together to identify strategies to assist with learning. Students may re-take assessments to show mastery. And in the example at the board meeting, someone who recalled seven letters may be considered proficient, while someone who recalled 14 letters may be considered advanced.

              Standards-referenced grading presentation at Nov. 17, 2011, School Board meeting

              School board learns about standards-referenced reporting
              The Ray-Pec School Board continues to learn about the district’s work in the area of standards-referenced report cards and grading.

              During October, the board received information about standards-referenced grading during a work session and the regular monthly board meeting on Oct. 27, 2011. A district task force began studying standards-referenced grading in 2008, and various teachers across the district have begun implementing standards-referenced grading practices in their classrooms.

              What is standards-referenced reporting?

              Standards-referenced reporting is a way of assessing and reporting a student’s progress toward specific learning standards (or targets) for their grade level. Students are informed of the learning targets, and the teacher instructs the class to help students achieve mastery.

              By referencing specific standards, teachers can share information about student learning in a way that allows students and parents to know what learning targets have been reached.

              Rather than giving a letter grade or percentage, teachers let students know their achievement level on each target. For example, instead of receiving a "B" in communication arts, a standards-referenced report card might show that a student is proficient at writing an alternate ending for a story, but is only partially proficient at comparing and contrasting two stories.

              How is standards-referenced reporting different?

              A standards-referenced system is different from the traditional grading system in many ways. Here are a few differences:

              1. The score reported is directly related to the specific standards (what a student should know and be able to do). The grade is NOT just a reflection of test and homework scores.

              2. The standards-referenced score is based on achievement of the standards. The score does NOT include points for attendance, attitude, effort and behavior. (Those work habits are reflected separately on the report card.)

              3. The standards-referenced score uses recent information, rather than everything marked during the quarter or semester. If a student requires more time for mastery, they have opportunities to re-test or use alternate methods to show proficiency.

              4. Standards-referenced reporting is based on individual mastery. It does NOT include scores for group work.

              Using standards-based reporting gives teachers information to help adjust instruction. Students are also able to see more information about their learning. If students show early mastery of skills and concepts, they can concentrate on more challenging work. Students who struggle can continue to work toward showing proficiency.

              Changes in report cards

              Currently, the school district uses standards-referenced reporting and grades at the elementary schools. The report card shows specific standards, and students are given a number on a scale of 1-4. (4 = exceeds expectations; 3 = meets expectations; 2 = approaching expectations; and 1 = not meeting expectations).

              The district plans to implement a standards-referenced reporting in grade 5 during 2012-13. The district plans to eventually implement a standards-referenced report card at all grade levels.

              Teachers share experiences

              During the Oct. 27 board meeting, four teachers shared their experiences

              with standards-referenced grading practices. The teachers who presented were: Tammy Novak, computer teacher at Peculiar Elementary; Lezlie Waltz, LEAP teacher for gifted students in fifth and sixth grade; Gina Johnson, seventh grade science teacher; and Patrick Hemmingsen, chemistry teacher at Ray-Pec High School.

              A common theme among the presentations was the improved communication between teachers and students, and teachers and parents.

              Mrs. Novak said she is able to create an environment where mistakes are okay, and where students approach obstacles as challenges.

              Mrs. Waltz talked about providing students multiple ways to demonstrate mastery and said that standards-referencing allows teachers to better see a student’s level.

              Mrs. Johnson said she sees increased student engagement, a higher quality of instruction and a higher quality of achievement. She said there are fewer grades in her gradebook, because grading occurs after learning takes place.

              Mr. Hemmingsen said that a system is being developed to allow the standards-referenced system to correspond with a grade point average that high school students need for applying to college. He said that student feedback is positive, and that communication about the change in grading system will be the key.

              These same teachers also shared information at the Professional Learning Community Fall Forum on Oct. 12. The forum included district staff and some parents and students.

              (Posted Nov. 3, 2011)