from standards based schools (47%), a fact that parents found interesting
as they reconciled themselves to the change and learned more about it.
The MSLT then met with their departments to form questions and to
wonder together. These questions, along with parent questions, were
taken with our report draft, to Oman, to the NESA winter conference. The
conference played host to the authors of our book studies, Thomas
Guskey and Ken O'Connor. To have such experts on hand to share our
report draft with and to ask the questions we had gathered from our
community was invaluable.
We returned from the conference with a report card template and advice
for forming a proficiency scale. We had much debate on the terms
Exemplify vs. Exceeds Standard. We continue to debate how we can
deepen understanding at this level rather than just ask students to do
more. These kinds of conversations have prompted us to think critically
about each task we ask students to do and what success looks like for
learners at each grade level – I would argue that these conversations
alone are worth the trouble of changing our report card.
Using Guskey’s guide, we used our planning standards, most of which
were from American Education Reaches Out (AERO), we formed the
reporting standards that would be listed on the report card. Once
established, we mapped these standards across our Atlas unit plans to
ensure that we were providing units of study that allowed students to
demonstrate skills, knowledge and understanding in our curriculum. The
benchmarks in the AERO documents describe to what degree a child at
each grade can achieve the standard, and have direct reference to the
descriptors in our rubrics, thus ensuring our curriculum is really guiding
teaching and learning at ASB. All of this work was done in faculty
meetings, while teachers began to use their new knowledge to inform
their classroom practice.
I really think that while the report is symbolic, perhaps the most
significant change and benefit is encapsulated not in the report, but in
the grade book. The grade book is a visual symbol of growth and the