FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is standards-based grading?
- Standards-based grading communicates a student’s progress toward end-of-year standards. It is not a traditional averaging of grades and scores which can mask what a student has learned, or not learned.
What should I expect to see on my child's report card if he/she is making adequate progress?
- It is important to remember that scores are based upon end-of-year mastery. This means that a student meeting grade-level learning expectations would receive a ‘2’ in the first and second trimester, and a ‘3’ in the third trimester.
What if a student has met the standard in the first or second trimester?
- If a student earns a ‘3’ in the first or second trimester, then teachers will differentiate instruction to extend and challenge a student at his/her current level. Additional details can be found in the comment sections.
Why are there so many standards for math and language arts, but not for science?
- Bel Aire is preparing to transition to the new science standards, but will not include them on the report card until we officially implement them. The science section will be expanded and updated soon. It is also worth noting that because science is in transition, students are still learning three discrete units of science, one per trimester. It is temporarily possible then, for a student to receive a ‘3’ in science in each trimester. This will no longer be the case once the report card is updated with the Next Generation Science Standards.
Where is the '4' to represent exceeding the standard?
- Bel Aire has elected to eliminate the ‘4’ score which indicated a student is exceeding grade-level standards. The most significant reason for this decision is that many standards cannot be exceeded. A student’s ability to meet a particular standard can not be improved by an ability to meet a different standard. Understanding single-digit addition, for example, cannot be exceeded by also understanding double-digit addition. Double-digit addition is a separate standard.
How can excellence be communicated?
- The new report card now has three areas designated for student comments. These comment sections will contain individualized feedback such as a student working beyond grade level standards.
Will omitting the '4' make Bel Aire students less competitive?
- No. School admission departments evaluate student achievement based upon what is possible at a school. In this sense, including a ‘4’ as a possible score could actually diminish a student’s perceived achievement.
Prior to receiving a report card, will I get a warning that my student is not making adequate progress?
- Students who are not making adequate progress receive a Mid-Trimester Report in the mail approximately halfway into a trimester. This gives parents and students an opportunity to address any deficiencies prior to formalized reporting.
Are other schools moving to standards-based reporting and/or a three-point grading system?
- Yes. Many schools across the country, and in Marin county are transitioning to standards-based grading. In Marin county, both Mill Valley and Kentfield have already transitioned to standards-based grading, and both utilize a three-point grading system.
What do the different symbols mean?
*SUBSTANDARD SCORES (unshaded areas of the report card)
EFFORT & BEHAVIOR SCORES (light blue areas of the report card)
What if there is a blank?
A blank space indicates that the student is making adequate progress toward the substandard.