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• Joanne Jacobs

# IP to STEP 7 means … ???

Parents need report cards they can understand, writes Ed Navigator‘s David Keeling. He analyzes a report card filled with acronyms and ambiguities. (Go to the link for a more legible version.)

The STEP reading level is 7 and the goal is 9. The parent has no way of knowing whether that’s “healthy or worrisome,” writes Keeling.

Then there are the “NP” and “IP” ratings on the side, which are never defined. You could deduce that they correspond to the “Needs Practice” and “In Progress” labels at the bottom, but it’s not fully clear. . . .  Is “in progress” right where the student should be, since the year’s not over? Or is it a red flag because there’s only one quarter to go?

There’s no “overall score that shows the student’s current status or trajectory,” he adds. Parents see “a checkerboard of seemingly random letters and numbers.”

The STEP scores are measured in numbers on an undefined scale. Math, Writing, and “Shine On” grades are measured in four possible descriptors, without numbers. MAP scores, on the second page, are reported in percentiles. And character grades, at the very end, are reported on a scale of 1-3. At every turn, parents have to recalibrate the lens through which they see these results, and some are ripe for misinterpretation (like percentile scores, which people tend to confuse with percentages: scoring in the 56th percentile is above average; earning a 56% in a class is an F).

Parents want to know whether their child is where he or she should be at this point in the school year, writes Keeling. The report card should make that clear.

Ed Navigator helps parents choose the best schools for their children and communicate with teachers. That help is needed.