One of the advantages of having a standards-based report of student progress is that it takes some of the ambiguity out of understanding your child’s progress. The ROSP is structured to provide families with a snapshot of the whole child. The report goes goes beyond academic standards and provides information on work habits, study skills, and social skills.
It is no secret that every parent wants their child to excel. It is this natural desire and drive that can muddy the waters when reading and interpreting a report like the ROSP. Our natural inclination is to look for ratings of 4 (exceeding grade level standards) throughout the report. The challenge in this mindset is that it does not account for the intended purpose of the ROSP and the natural developmental patterns of children. When reading the ROSP, it is important to remember that all of the standards on the report are end of year standards (things we would expect kids to know and be able to do by June). As such, a rating of 2 (progressing towards grade level standard) is perfectly normal at the January reporting period and a rating of 3 (meeting grade level standards) is perfectly normal by the June reporting period.
So how do we define performance levels? The ROSP contains a range of proficiency levels:
1 – Not progressing towards grade level standard
Students who receive a proficiency rating of 1 in an area are struggling to meet the standard and there may be a range of reasons why the child is not demonstrating progress in such an area. Teachers in the NPS are committed to the academic progress of every child and there are a number of supports available to help children work towards proficiency. If your child is not progressing towards the grade level standards in multiple areas, is not receiving support, or you do not understand why your child is not making progress towards the grade level standards, reach out to your child’s teacher and open a dialogue.
2 – Progressing towards grade level standard
Students who demonstrate a rating of 2 are progressing towards the grade level standard which means that they are making progress but have not yet met the standard. As students work towards achieving proficiency, teachers are there to provide support as a guide on the side helping children set, monitor and work towards achieving their goals. When a child achieves a rating of a 2, It’s important to acknowledge that this is an area of growth not necessarily a deficiency.
3 – Meets grade level standard
Students meeting grade level standards demonstrated a proficient level of understanding of the standard.
4 – Exceeds grade level standard
Students who earn a rating of a 4 have exceeded the grade level standard consistently over time.
It is also important to note that not all of the standards will be assessed on the mid-year report. This reflects the pacing of curriculum in the Natick Public Schools. While there is a high degree of continuity across our classrooms, we expect our teachers to differentiate content to meet learners at their individual levels. As a result of this expectation, it is not uncommon for classrooms to reach different points in the curriculum by the January reporting period and for the standards reported to vary slightly (i.e. one second grade classroom has covered 2D geometry and another second grade class has not yet reached that point).
While you may be tempted to look primarily at your child’s ratings in academic areas such as English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science, careful consideration of a child’s habits of mind are critical to understanding a child’s growth as ratings in these areas can provide families with insights into how and why a child may/may not be demonstrating proficiency in an academic area. These skill sets are the foundations of learning and weaknesses in these areas often translate to academic challenges. For example, a child who “rarely” takes academic risks and rarely displays a positive attitude towards school and learning may be struggling to achieve proficiency in specific areas of his or her academic skills. In these cases, it is important to talk with your child’s teacher and the child to come to an understanding of what can be done to turn things around.
In our next few posts we will discuss specific ideas to support families in establishing and developing solid work habits and study skills in their children.
by Ian Kelly, M.Ed. and Heather Smith, M.Ed.