As many recent news stories and headlines have reported, Texas has transitioned to a new statewide assessment system to ensure that students are graduating from our public schools fully prepared for college and careers. This system, the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR), is characterized by more complex questioning and higher expectations for writing proficiency in grades 3-11. It also involves higher stakes assessments in the four core content areas (English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies) in high school.
Educators have been making numerous adjustments to meet the challenges posed by these higher assessment expectations, and one of these changes in Carroll ISD begins in the earliest grades this school year. The K-2 report card has undergone significant revision and will be sent home with students for the first time on Friday, October 5. Based on a recommendation by the Carroll ISD Board of Trustees, Carroll ISD is piloting a revised report card in grades K-2 during the 2012-13 school year. In order to help parents better understand the new reporting format, a Parent Guide has been created and may be found in the Report Card link under the “Parents” tab on the CISD webpage. http://www.southlakecarroll.edu/pages/CISD/Depts/Curriculum___Instruction/Report_Card__K-2nd_Grade_
The Report Card Revision Committee is soliciting input from parents via a link on this page as well. Based on input from parents and the experiences of teachers during this school year, the Committee hopes to incorporate feedback on the Report Cards and implement them fully in the 2013-14 school year. The new report card is the product of much research and collaboration by teachers as well as input by parents.
Beginning in September of 2011, a committee of kindergarten, first, and second grade teachers, along with curriculum coordinators and principals from each campus, began examining the ways student progress was reported to parents in grades K-2 each grading period. It had become evident that in order for students to be fully prepared for the state’s assessment expectations beginning with third grade, the progress toward these standards in the years leading up to third grade needed to be reported more thoroughly and clearly.
Operating with a purpose statement developed in the first committee meeting, “Based on specific grade level standards, the report card will identify a child’s academic & social strengths, as well as targeted areas for growth,” the group began drafting the list of critical grade level standards that students needed to master. This type of reporting, often called “standards-based” reporting, is characterized by a listing of grade-specific standards with a numerical indicator to show parents how their children are progressing toward mastery of key skills. Throughout the 2011-12 school year, this K-2 Report Card Revision Committee met numerous times studying effective models for assessment and the standards-based assessment practices in other schools across Texas and the United States. Together, they worked to draft a report card that was in keeping with the high standards of Carroll ISD and that contained the most critical state required objectives (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills – TEKS).
The committee developed and revised numerous drafts of the reporting documents and gathered input from all K-2 teachers on CISD campuses, a parent focus group with representation from each elementary school in the district, and the CISD PTO Presidents. Overall, teachers and parents were enthusiastic about a well-aligned, thorough reporting document that would help parents to clearly see students’ progress toward mastery of standards essential for success in higher grades. While many districts across Texas had developed similar, standards-based reporting documents prior to the process in Carroll ISD, Carroll teachers had the advantage of using the latest information about the STAAR assessment to guide the selection of standards to be reported to parents.