Grading the District's New Report Cards
Red Bank School District has asked parents of children in its primary school to complete surveys about a new report card system
When the Red Bank School District unveiled its new primary school report cards earlier this year the administration made sure its parents were aware of the changes they should expect.
Now, the district is asking parents to do the grading by completing a survey detailing what they like – and dislike – about the new report cards their children brought home late in November.
The new report cards are a departure from the letter-grading system most people are aware of, a system still used by a majority of districts in the state. Instead of letter grades, the new report cards provide detailed statistics about where children are in their studies, how they stack up with their peers nationwide, and in what areas they can improve.
The goal is to make parents more aware and to help them understand how their child is learning and what obstacles they might be facing. The new report cards wre distributed to children from pre-k to third grade.
District Superintendent Laura Morana said parents were intrigued by the new system when it was rolled out earlier this year. But the school district wants to know, now that parents have gotten their children's first new report cards, how they really feel about it.
"With our parents, one of the key things we wanted to do was have them involved in every step of the process," she said. "Once the preliminary decision was made to move to the new system, the team that was working on it at the primary school got the parents involved."
She said teachers reached out to parents when the switch was still being considered to discuss it. Later, when the new report card system was being implemented, the district called for families to come out to a public meeting. About 70 did and the results were positive, she said.
To help ease the transition to the new report cards, parents also got a chance to discuss the results with their children's teachers. In what amounted to simply good timing, Morana said, students got their report cards right before parent-teacher conferences at Red Bank Primary School.
What the district has endeavored to do with this new report card is provide every bit of fine detail into the education process. Morana provided an example of what parents see on the new report cards:
"In math, for example, there would be a brief description of the class and then there would be a rating in terms of how that child had done against national norms, how they performed against other children in their same grade. Then you would have an assessment, samples of their mathematical performance, a section that indicates progress, how much is made over time.
"It would be listed as expected or needs development, and a narrative description would further validate that rating."
The completed surveys are being returned to the district every day. Morana said the results will be tabulated and discussed at a board meeting some time in the new year.