This school year, DeSoto County Schools opted to use a standards-based report card in Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade. There are two main reasons for this change: to help prepare our students for the requirements set forth by the Literacy-Based Promotion Act (Senate Bill No. 2347/ MS Code 37-177-1) and to give them the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of their grade-level standards by the end of the school year.
With the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, students must pass a state assessment to be promoted to fourth grade. Rather than waiting until the end of third grade, we want to identify students early who may be struggling readers. Early reading intervention is key, and the standards-based report card with reading requirements will help us identify struggling readers so that we can effectively help them.
The Common Core State Standards are written for end of the year mastery. As corestandards.org states, “The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade.” Using a standards-based report card gives our students the opportunity to progress through the year and demonstrate mastery by the end of the year.
You’ll notice in the top-right corner of the front of K-2 report cards that there is a parent signature box. Parents should be notified throughout the year if their child is not progressing at the appropriate rate. The parent signature box also includes an abbreviated version of Board Policy IHE, which describes the requirements for promotion. In Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade, students must master 70% of language arts standards, 70% of math standards, and read on or above grade level to be promoted to the next grade. This means that by the end of the year, Kindergarten students should read independently on or above a level C, First Grade students should read independently on or above a level I, and Second Grade students should read independently on or above a level M.
To clarify the 70% mastery requirement, this is simply referring to the number of standards mastered by the end of the year. So, for English Language Arts, students must master 18 standards in Kindergarten, 17 in First Grade, and 19 in Second Grade.
To the right of the Language Arts standards there are four columns for scoring. Teachers will write students’ scores for the first nine weeks in the first column, second nine weeks in the second column, and so on. Keep in mind that some standards may be left blank in the beginning of the year as some standards have not been taught and assessed.
As you can see, the math section of the report card is formatted somewhat differently than the language arts section. To the left of the standards are light gray shaded boxes. These are the standards that count when determining 70% mastery of the math standards. For example, on this first grade report card, 16 of the 23 light gray shaded standards (some are on the back of the report card) must be mastered by the end of the year, along with the ELA and independent reading requirements, in order to be promoted. Furthermore, the math standards have been “chunked” per nine weeks according to the district pacing guides. Therefore, teachers must score every standard for the given nine-week period. They will mark these scores in the first of the two columns to the right of the standards. You’ll notice that for some of the standards, the second column is blacked out. That’s because those standards will be taught and assessed in a later nine-week period. On the other hand, the second column is not blacked out for other standards. This means that is the last nine-week period during which the standard is found on the pacing guide. However, it is important to remember that students have the opportunity to master all standards until the end of the school year. For this reason, there is a second column so that teachers may reassess for mastery later in the year. For example, 1.MD.1 is only listed in the first nine weeks pacing; therefore, it has a second column that is not blacked out.
As with the Language Arts standards, students must master 70% of the math standards as part of the promotion requirement. This means students must master 14 standards in Kindergarten, 16 in First Grade, and 18 in Second Grade.
Social Studies and Science instruction should be integrated during the language arts block. Teachers can report students’ progress in these areas, along with work habits, as satisfactory, needs improvement, or unsatisfactory during each nine weeks.
The teacher’s comments area gives the teacher an opportunity to praise students and acknowledge their hard work throughout the year, as well as provide suggestions for improvement.
If you have any questions about your child’s report card, please do not hesitate to schedule a conference with your child’s teacher. For more information on the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, read the overview here, or read the Act here.