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Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

New grade cards break down academic information

By William Kincaid
FORT RECOVERY - A new standards-based grade card will be introduced in grades K-2 for the upcoming school year, replacing traditional letter grades, according to elementary Principal Shelly Vaughn.
During the regular school board meeting on Tuesday evening, Vaughn told board members elementary teachers are prepared and enthusiastic for the new report card, which will more accurately assess academic content, the state accountability system and the district's continuous improvement plan.
"This is a big project," Vaughn said about the new report card, which will increase information for parents.
The new report card will break down each academic content area, such as math, into major areas of study. And under each area of study there are benchmarks or key skills associated - such as data analysis and probability.
Each benchmark also includes indicators, which are specific to a grade level and are stated as yearend goals. An example of an indicator is: "I can sort objects by two or more attributes."
While kindergarten teachers will employ a system of checks to assess each student's progress, grades 1-2 will use N for novice, P for proficient, Dev for developing and E for exemplary.
Vaughn said the new system is much more useful for students. Instead of receiving just a letter grade, students will be given a progress report indicating what areas they need to improve on in all of their subjects.
"Now there's a lot of ownership for the students," Vaughn said.
She said the standards-based report cards will be initially used in K-2, but could eventually spread to other elementary grades.
However, the new system would never be used in junior high or high school grades, according to principals Ted Shuttleworth and Dave Warvel.
Once junior high begins, Shuttleworth said grade point averages would be needed to determine eligibility in sports and other activities. Warvel also pointed out that grades in high school are needed for scholarships and college admittance.
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