The Redwood Area School District (RASD) has been transitioning how it reports learning to be more consistent, accurate, meaningful and supportive of each student’s learning.

We are continuing to move from a traditional grading system – one most parents and grandparents will remember – to a standards based reporting system, which we believe will reflect much more accurately each student’s progress – both their academic progress as well as their behavior/life skills progress.

A reasonable question to ask is, “Why would we consider changing?”

The answer is simple.

Teachers and administrators want to more accurately report to students and their parents/guardians what a student actually knows and is able to do. Parents and educators are united in wanting students to be armed with academic skills and life skills that will allow them to be happy and productive lifelong learners.

We want the emphasis for students to be on learning rather than on accumulating points. Like many schools districts across the nation, RASD has been transitioning to standards based learning.

Some changes will occur on the middle school report card next school year. For both the elementary and middle school report cards parents and students will see a score of 4, 3, 2, 1 or NE (No Evidence). The elementary report cards utilized this reporting system during the 2018-29 school year. For the middle school, these scores will replace the A, B, C, D and F scores on past report cards. A score of a “3” is considered “meeting the standard at the grade level”.

In addition to an academic score, each student will be scored on life skills. Students will receive scores in collaboration, being respectful and being responsible as life skill scores. Academic learning and behavior/life skills learning are both important. Our educators think it is important to report, more accurately, how students are progressing and developing in both of these areas.

Simply stated, the purpose of grading should be to clearly communicate about student learning, as measured by grade level academic standards and to clearly communicate about the students’ development of behavior/life skills, as measured by acceptable behavior standards.

Our transition to a standards based system will enable us to report student progress in these two areas more precisely than we have in the traditional system. This transition to a more transparent system will enable both parents and educators to better communicate about our students.

– Darcy Josephson is the director of teaching and learning for the Redwood Area School District