New Standards-Based Grading
Plans have been finalized to implement standards-based grading for students in all of Lake Orion’s elementary schools for the 2015-16 school year.
This approach enables teachers to report on student progress in relation to the state of Michigan’s standards and learning targets for a specific grade level. Each content area – reading, writing, math, social studies, science, art, physical education – is broken down with benchmarks regarding what students should know at certain points of the year.
The new grading system uses a common language across of the schools and helps parents better understand what is expected of their children and what steps may be need to achieve grade level. Once a student completes assignments and/or assessments in a content area, teachers will know if the child has mastered a standard or if the material needs to be covered again. Beginning next school year, students will be evaluated based on a four-point scale: 4 = met the end-of-the-year standard; 3 = consistent progress toward meeting the standard; 2 = inconsistent progress toward meeting the standard; and 1 = area of concern.
A common misconception around standards-based grading is that a student may not receive a “4” until the end of the school year. Actually, he or she may receive this standard at any point during the year, if they consistently apply their knowledge related to a standard to new and unique circumstances. Teachers will work with their students throughout the year to obtain the level “4” status for a standard.
Students will have multiple opportunities throughout the year to show their progress toward meeting each content area standard. The final mark for a student will not be an average of assignments or assessments but, rather, their overall performance over time.
Reporting on student progress is changing, as well, with formal report cards for all elementary students being sent home twice a year, in January and June. All parents are invited to participate in parent-teacher conferences in the fall and spring in lieu of the formal report cards.