"A standards-based progress report doesn’t just focus on 'subjects' or 'classes' as big ideas but rather identifies each individual grade level skill, knowledge piece and competency that students are working on."
Even though the school year still seems young, many students and their parents have already received at least one progress report from their school. The goal of progress reports has always been to provide learners and other members of their support systems with a snapshot of how their learning is progressing; however, many educators and parents would say that our traditional “report card” style progress report has outlived its usefulness.
Traditional report cards are designed to be easy to understand: there’s a letter grade for each subject, a sentence or two worth of comments from each teacher and then, perhaps, some sort of conduct or effort grade, which is usually expressed numerically. These progress reports provide a general sense of how students are doing without providing any real specifics or insights.
Given the increased expectations of the Common Core and the rigor required for learners to become college-and-career-ready in the 21st century, this feedback system simply doesn’t dive deep enough. To provide a progress report that offers a true snapshot of student progress, schools and districts must embrace standards-based progress reports.
A standards-based progress report doesn’t just focus on “subjects” or “classes” as big ideas but rather identifies each individual grade level skill, knowledge piece and competency that students are working on. That means that rather than simply learning their child has a B in English, parents can dig deeper to see, for example, that their learner has mastered the fundamentals of grammar but is struggling with structuring longer essays.
Let’s take a minute to consider cars. Decades ago, mechanics would inspect a car by checking fluid levels and observing it run. If things appeared to operate well, then they generally gave the car back to its owner to drive until new problems presented themselves. That was sort of like a traditional report card style progress report: it quickly determined if things were going well or not, and as long as things generally got a “thumbs up,” everybody continued their lives as though nothing had really happened - even at the risk of a major issue in the near future.
On the other hand, today’s mechanics begin by connecting each car to a diagnostic computer. The computer checks every aspect of the car’s function and alerts the mechanics not just of current issues but also potential problems that could develop in the future if corrective action is not taken. This is more like a standards-based progress report, in which each aspect of student learning is explored and assessed with an eye towards cumulative skill.
Of course, this level of complexity is in some ways what has slowed the transition from report card style progress reports to standards-based reports. Administrators know that providing more insight is the better approach, but they don’t want to burden their teachers with additional assessment responsibilities. However, modern Learning Relationship Management platforms (LRMs) provide built-in tools to simplify standards-based reporting and competency-driven feedback.
To learn more about how an LRM can help generate authentic, standards-based progress reports, schedule a demo of Epiphany Learning today!