CIJS Utilizes Standards Based Grading!

Standards based grading is NOT new. It is used in top rated schools all over the country and has been for years. 

CIJS utilizes a standards-based grading system. This grading method allows teachers to differentiate instruction based on the projects the students are doing. It also allows for the teacher to utilize interdisciplinary learning (teaching across subject areas). The detailed grading systems ensures that each student is mastering the necessary skills to meet grade level satisfaction. For those who are struggling or excelling, it gives the teacher an opportunity to utilize data to drive the instruction for students in an individualized manner, which lends itself well to the Reggio approach. Teachers can reteach skills and/or add challenging concepts into daily lessons on an individual basis.

Teachers spend the entire trimester creating lessons that integrate each standard. The goal is for each student to establish mastery with every standard. We do not care if a child does poorly on that standard at the beginning of the semester, we only care if they master the standard by the end of the year. For this reason, we DO NOT average grades throughout each trimester. The question will always be….Did this student master the skill or not? If not, we reteach using different methods. If they did, then we move onto the next set of standards. At the end of each trimester, you will see how well your child is doing mastering the standards.

PLEASE NOTE: Do not be alarmed if your child is receiving a score of a 2 which is Near Mastery throughout the year, because the expectation is that he/she will receive a score of Mastery (3) or Exceeds Mastery (4) by the END OF THE YEAR. 

How often will families be informed about students’ progress?

Families will receive the following reports 3 times per year.

    • Report cards (Will contain all of the standards covered during that trimester)

    • Interim reports (Do not contain as much information as a trimester report This is typically just base line data and is NOT a grade at all!!)

What is a standard?

Standards are set by the Florida Department of Education. These are educational goals that are established for each grade level.  Students are required to master these standards by the end of the year.

What is a standards based reporting system?

A standards-based reporting system is designed to inform families about their child’s progress towards achieving specific learning standards. CIJS establishes high and challenging performance expectations for all students.

Standards-based reporting lends itself well with the project-based curriculum, because it describes what students should know and be able to do while allowing teachers to assess student progress with multiple standards while engaging in projects. This allows for meaningful assessments that are applied to real world situations.

What is the purpose of a standards based report card?

The purpose of the standards-based report card is to clearly communicate student performance of grade level standards and expectations to families. It also provides an in-depth outline in each of the major academic content areas, and shows how well he/she is progressing towards the grade level goals. By providing a more detailed description of progress, CIJS is able to establish an environment that meets the need of each student individually. This provides the ability for both parents and teachers to differentiate instruction based on each child’s individual needs.

In addition, standards-based learning prepares students for intrinsic motivation which is extremely powerful. When a student is involved in the learning process by knowing their strengths and weaknesses, the parents, teacher and student can work together to set meaningful individual goals, strive to achieve the goals, and experience success. This reduces frustration in students and increases their confidence level as they discover their true ability. Students can see for themselves that they are able to make progress towards each skill instead of failing over and over because they are expected to meet an expectation that is set too high.

How will standards-based teaching, learning and grading challenge students?

Through standards-based instruction and project-based learning methods, teachers will know if students have already mastered concepts prior to a lesson or unit. It gives teachers an opportunity to provide meaningful and challenging work for students. Teachers differentiate instruction so that students continue to grow and progress. Teachers are better able to see who really has mastered the standard and who needs additional instruction or intervention.

What is the difference between the traditional “A through F” grading system and standards-based reporting system?

Traditional Grading include the following:

  • A, B, C, D, F represent percentage of points accumulated
  • Non-academic factors affect grades, such as participation, attendance, late work,
  • Everything is graded and averaged together
  • Early assignments can skew the final grade
  • Reports a single grade for each class

Standards-Based Grading include the following:

  • 4, 3, 2, 1 represent student performance in relation to specific standards
  • Based on common core, national, state, and school standards
  • A report of what students know and are able to do
  • Reflects current knowledge not an average over a semester
  • Reflects academic performance only
  • Allows teachers to differentiate instruction

What if my child is advanced or delayed?

We will always work with your child at THEIR developmental level, but for the purpose of Report Cards, we will assess the standards based on their grade level. For example: if your child is performing above grade level, we will differentiate instruction within the classroom to meet their needs, but we will assess the grade level standards and report that on the progress reports.

What does the following terminology mean on my childs progress report?

4=(Meets or Exceeds Mastery) Consistently demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the standard. Student is demonstrating a high level, beyond grade level expectation.

3=(Mastery) Student is clearly on track and demonstrates solid knowledge and understanding of the standard. Student is meeting grade level expectations.

2=(Near Mastery) Approaching standard. Student is demonstrating some progress towards understanding the grade level standard. However, he/she is not consistently meeting expectations for that standard.

1=(Far Below) Well below meeting the standard. Not meeting grade expectations

*The goal is for all of our students to receive 3 or 4 for each standard.

Please note that it is possible for a score to either increase or decrease throughout the year. For example, a student can receive a 4 in a particular skill during one semester and then receive a 2 during a different semester. This can change as the expectations for that standard increase. One particular area that this may occur is with writing. Perhaps at the beginning of the year, a student is only expected to write 3 detailed paragraphs, but by the end of the year, they are expected to write 5 paragraphs. The student might be excelling at the beginning of the year, but then towards the end, he/she may no longer be able to meet the expectations.