The journey to standard-based report cards

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    The journey to standard-based report cards

    Posted by Diana Bidulescu, M.Ed. on Oct 30, 2017

    By Lucy Long

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    I had the distinct privilege to participate in a SchoolCity sponsored “Lunch and Learn” event in Libertyville, Illinois outside of the Chicago area. Our guest speaker was Dr. Lisa Cerauli, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for District 73, Hawthorne. Hawthorne has been rolling out and refining their report card system that reflects Standards-Based reporting since 2007. They’ve managed to provide their staff, their parents and their community with a report card that more clearly reflects their student’s mastery of the curricular standards they are expected to master for their grade level.

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    This is a fundamental shift from report cards teachers, parents and students have been used to, to a criterion-based system where the students are being compared to standards, rather than to other kids and subjective values such as getting an “A” or “C” in a subject. It’s providing improved communication between teachers, students and their parents. It’s also focused the teachers more fully on the standards and they feel they know their students’ academic strengths and weaknesses more accurately.

    Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 11.22.39 AM-1.pngThe journey hasn’t always been easy. Making a transition from traditional reports cards to the standards based report card requires a dedication to not just the philosophy of standards-based learning and reporting, but also to the time, training, and expenses required to make the switch. Dr. Cerauli's presentation fully described the intentional roll-out process that has taken them nearly a decade to refine. It involved multiple community outreach sessions and publications, a staged rollout of events and execution of a standards-based report card. They began with focusing first on grade K, 3 and 6. In the second year, they expanded to grades, 1, 4 and 7, and then completed the rollout the following year with grades 2, 5 and 8. Compromises had to be made. Parents and teachers alike were unwilling to completely abandon the traditional grade descriptors for middle school. It illustrates that transition to standards-based report cards, which takes both dedication and communication.

    Dr.Cerauli's presentation opened up insightful conversations and questions from attendees from other districts in the north and western counties outside Chicago. Educators seem ready to move towards standards-based report cards, and the research strongly supports it as a better way to measure student’s achievement. Doing so, however, requires in-depth planning, commitment, reflection and community outreach. Hawthorne’s successful implementation, the lessons learned and the best practices they’ve identified are a great way to help your district prepare for this positive journey.

    Written by Diana Bidulescu, M.Ed.

    Diana Bidulescu, M.Ed. is the Education & Cyber Security Strategy Officer for SchoolCity Inc. She is an advocate for learning technology innovation in education and privacy in k-12 , and a presenter at national and international conferences. She was a teacher, school and district administrator, and is currently working with school districts and education companies to provide the best digital learning solutions. She is committed to creating safe, productive and innovative digital teaching and learning environments in every school through strategic planning, design thinking, and creative custom solutions that enable each student to reach their full potential.

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