New Grading System for Elementary Students

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We are in the process of moving toward a fully standards-based grading and reporting system for elementary students. A standards-based report card lists the most important skills and concepts students should learn in each subject at their grade level, and families receive specific information about the progress their child is making toward mastering those skills and concepts. Our goal is to clearly, accurately and consistently communicate learning progress and achievement to students and families. While the actual elementary report card has not yet changed, we have started making shifts in our assessment and grading practices to support this work.

During the second trimester this year, teachers began using a common set of assessments to measure each student’s mastery of grade-level standards. Specific criteria for each of the assessments was established to indicate if a student was meeting expectations for their grade level. Teachers collected evidence of students’ ability to independently apply what they were learning using these common assessments, and the results were used to inform scores on the report card. The assessments are now used at every RPS elementary school to ensure consistency in how students are evaluated. 

Mastery of grade-level standards is expected by the end of the school year. Most students will not meet all of the year-end goals in the first or second trimesters of the school year. For example:

  • First Trimester: At the end of the first trimester, most students will likely earn scores of 1 or 2, indicating a beginning or developing level of knowledge and skill. 
  • Second Trimester: At the end of the second trimester, students who are on track to meet grade-level expectations by the end of the year will likely earn scores of 2 or 3. 
  • Third Trimester: By the end of the third trimester, students receiving scores of 3 are considered to be on grade level. Students receiving scores of 4 are exceeding grade-level standards.

If you have general questions about the shifts we are making in our grading practices or you would like to participate in a focus group to offer feedback on our ongoing report card work, please reach out to your building principal or Rachel Gens, Director of Elementary Education at rachel.gens@rpsmn.org. If you have specific questions about your child’s mastery of grade-level standards and/or academic progress, please contact their classroom teacher.

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