This fall, parents will notice something new in grading practices and progress reports. Starting this school year, Salem-Keizer’s elementary schools will use proficiency grading to report student grades.
In proficiency grading, grades reflect a student’s mastery, or level of proficiency, on an academic standard. A standard is something students are expected to know and be able to do at the end of the school year.
Proficiency grades are reported on a scale of 1 to 4, with 3 indicating proficiency. At the start of the year, students will most likely receive 1s and 2s on progress reports. This is because students have not yet received a year’s worth of instruction about a standard.
By the end of the school year, the goal for students is to score at least a 3 on all standards. At the start of the school year, scores of 1 and 2 are to be expected and do not mean a student is failing. This is because students aren’t expected to reach a standard until the end of the year.
The reason for using proficiency grading is because it has been shown to increase student learning. It helps teachers identify areas where students need more instruction to reach a standard.
For more information about proficiency grading in Salem-Keizer elementary schools, parents can watch a short video: http://vimeo.com/105143348 Parents are also encouraged to get in touch with their student’s teacher to ask questions about proficiency grading.
On Oct 31, instead of students wearing costumes to school, we will be having "Hat day." Students are invited to wear a favorite hat along with their jog-a-thon t-shirts.
Salem-Keizer Public Schools has created a new publication to help answer parents’ most commonly asked questions about achievement and instruction as students work to earn a standard four-year diploma.
The Parents’ Guide to Graduation will be mailed home in mid-October.
One Guide has been created specific to each grade, kindergarten through grade 8, and one for all high school grades combined. Each Guide contains a snapshot of learning standards for the grade level, information about grading practices and state tests, and tips for helping students at home. Materials are available in both English and Spanish.
There are also Parents’ Guide websites with additional resources: http://www.skgradguide.com and http://espanol.skgradguide.com. Both websites were designed to be mobile-friendly to serve parents who want to access information from a smartphone or other mobile device.
Parents may find the Guide most useful when reviewing report cards or at parent-teacher conferences. Conferences are coming up in late November.
The handout is named “Parents’ Guide to Graduation” because each grade is a step along the way to the ultimate goal of achieving a high school diploma. Knowing what it takes to stay on track at each grade level will help students reach that goal.