Standards-based report cards tell students how well they’ve mastered specific academic skills, such as “decoding strategies” or “number sense and operations,” reports the New York Times.
Students aren’t compared against each other; they get no extra credit for doing homework or turning in special projects. It’s all about whether they’ve mastered the skills.
In Pelham, the second-grade report card includes 39 separate skill scores — 10 each in math and language arts, 2 each in science and social studies, and a total of 15 in art, music, physical education, technology and “learning behaviors” — engagement, respect, responsibility, organization. The report card itself is one page, but it comes with a 14-page guide explaining the different skills and the scoring.
Dennis Lauro, Pelham’s superintendent, said that standards-based report cards helped students chart their own courses for improvement; as part of the process, they each develop individual goals, which are discussed with teachers and parents, and assemble portfolios of work.
Some parents complain that the system is confusing: Schools typically use numbers rather than letter grades and there’s a lot more on the report card. Others want their children to get credit for hard work, even if it isn’t reflected in mastery of skills.