Understanding Your Child's Report Card...

Report cards are intended to communicate important information about student progress in both academic and non-cognitive areas. The Freehold Township School District uses Standards-Based Report Cards for grades K-5. The change to a Standards-Based Report Card several years ago came from the belief that our previous traditional type report card did not fully communicate what students are expected to know and be able to do as set forth by a set of standards. Currently in New Jersey, the set of standards being assessed are known as the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS). A Standards-Based Report Card benefits students, teachers, and parents/guardians by stating what is expected in the academic content areas, and how well the student is progressing towards his/her grade level standards for those areas.

In Freehold Township Schools, the Standards-Based grade reporting system is designed to inform parents about their child’s progress towards achieving specific learning standards. The New Jersey Student Learning Standards establish high and challenging performance expectations for all students. They describe what students should know and be able to do, and serve as the basis for our curriculum, instruction and assessment model. This type of report card provides more information to parents about student progress. On a traditional report card, students receive one grade for reading, one for math, one for science, and so on. On a Standards-Based Report Card, each of these subject areas is further expanded by a list of skills and knowledge students are responsible for learning. Students receive a separate score for each item on the list.

The purpose of the Standards-Based Report Card is to provide feedback that is more detailed to parents regarding the progress their child is making towards specific content indicators at each grade level. It allows parents and students to understand more clearly what is expected at each grade level. With this understanding, parents are better able to guide and support their child and to help him/her be successful in a rigorous academic program.

Parents often ask how the Standards-Based Report Card compares to the traditional letter grade system. With traditional letter grade reporting, grades are often calculated by combining how well the student met a teacher’s expectations, how the student performed on assignments and tests, how much effort the teacher believes the student put in, and how the student is doing in comparison to classmates. Letter grades do not tell parents which skills their child has mastered or whether he or she is working at grade level. The Standards-Based Report Card is different in that it measures how well an individual student is doing in relation to the grade level standards, not the work of other students. This gives parents a better understanding of their child’s strengths and weaknesses and helps to encourage all students to do their best.

Learning is a process and it should be expected that repeated exposure and experiences are necessary to gain ownership of new skills and strategies. An assessment score of 2 indicates the student is progressing towards the standard. Once a student demonstrates thorough understanding, and performance is characterized by ability to consistently apply skills with accuracy and quality, he or she would receive a 3. Students earning a 1 are experiencing difficulty with the concept/skill even with consistent teacher prompting and support. Some concepts and skills are more difficult to grasp than others, but given time and motivation students can continually challenge themselves. Attitudes are contagious and it is important that the adults involved convey to the child that learning is a process that needs to be respected. A grade of 2 while learning a new skill or concept is appropriate. A grade of 3 demonstrating mastery is to be celebrated. A grade of 4 indicates a strength being recognized that is above and beyond the grade level expectations.

We hope you will take the time to review your child's report card online via Genesis and talk with him or her about their accomplishments this marking period and goals for the future!