Education

Parents Provided With Key Details

By Jeff Archer — May 02, 2006 1 min read

Parents know how to react when they see a B on a report card. But what if they see a 9 out of 14 on decoding skills, or a 32 out of 58 on understanding number relations?

Leaders in the St. Charles Parish, La., district are giving parents more detailed information about their children’s progress with new report cards this spring.

Along with letter grades, they provide data on the mastery of specific skills tied to state standards in reading and mathematics.

A Close Look at Skills

Locate, select, and synthesize information from a variety of resources to acquire and communicate knowledge: 9/10

Fractions reflect correct answers.

READING
Decode and determine meaning of words using a variety of strategies 5/7
Use a variety of strategies to read, comprehend, and respond to a range of materials 3/3
Identify, distinguish, and respond to various genres of literature 1/1
Apply reasoning and problem-solving skills to reading 8/9
Locate, select, and synthesize information from a variety of resources to acquire and communicate knowledge 8/10

SOURCE: St. Charles Parish (La.) Schools

“We realized that if we’re trying to be standards-based, we need to share that with parents, and not just keep it in-house,” said Rachel Allemand, the executive director of curriculum and instruction for the 10,000-student district.

The report card lists several skills under the subjects. For each, fractions reflect how many times in the past nine weeks the student was asked a question dealing with that skill on districtwide tests, and how many times the student answered correctly.

In March, the district began using the 2½-page report in grades 3-6. District leaders plan to pilot it at more grade levels next year. It was made possible by a data-management system that the district spent two years building. Previously, teachers largely recorded by hand their students’ results on the assessments used to gauge progress.

By automating the process, the district not only made it easier for teachers to analyze the data—and adjust instruction accordingly—but could produce reports that distill the information for parents.

Tanya Bryant, a 5th grade teacher at Norco Elementary School, said the report cards can help guide parents and teachers when they talk about the needs of specific students. “I think we’re able to be on the same page,” she said.

A version of this article appeared in the May 03, 2006 edition of Education Week

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