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Standards-based Report Cards Introduced at Elementary Schools
When report cards are shared with elementary school parents at the end of the first grading period in mid-October, there will be significant changes. Cambridge City School District is moving to a standards-based report card for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. 

The new grade card will provide parents, teachers, and students with accurate information about a student’s progress toward meeting the Ohio Learning Standards applicable to the grade and subject area they are studying. The skills and knowledge listed on the report card outlines what each student should know and be able to do by the end of each grade level.

A sample of a standards-based report card that will be used in first grade this school year. All of the reports will have a similar look, but will be different as the standards vary by grade level. 


Students and parents are most likely more familiar with the traditional letter grades; however, the traditional letter grades provide limited information about what a student actually learns. Letter grades are an average of scores earned throughout a grading period, but do not reflect what a student has mastered in a particular subject area. 

 “Letter grades do not tell parents which skills their children have mastered- or if they are working at grade level,” said Jill Clay, the K-5 Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor for Cambridge Schools. “With a standards-based grade card, parents can see exactly where their children are in meeting the end-of-year standards.

“Standards-based grading provides a more accurate picture for parents in regard to how a child is performing related to state standards,” Clay added. “It helps parents to know the academic areas where a student is meeting expectations, needs, supports, or needs to be further challenged.”

For example, in previous years, a student may have earned a B in reading on their report card even though they are strong in vocabulary and weak in comprehension. The standards-based report card will provide more detailed information to the parents and help the teachers focus on areas where students are challenged. The goal is that by using these clearly defined standards, teachers and parents can work together with the student to ensure that students succeed. 

“A majority of our K-5 teachers wanted to make this change so that parents would have a clearer picture of how students were performing on grade level standards,” Clay added.

Instead of the traditional A, B, C, D, F grades, standards will be marked with M, P or N. 
  • M    Meets the Standard:  Student’s work consistently shows understanding and application of the standard independently.
  • P    Progressing Towards the Standard:  Student’s work shows partial understanding and/or application of the standard. Students may require teacher prompting or support.
  • N    Needs Improvement:  The student’s work shows minimal understanding of the standard. The student requires teacher prompting and/or support.
  • Blank boxes mean the standard is not assessed at this time.
Teachers carefully consider the following in determining progress: daily written or oral tasks; application of skills; assessments, performance tasks, observations, and teacher-student questioning. 

Consistent descriptive feedback will be given to let students know how they are progressing toward mastery of a standard. The information that provides the most accurate depiction of students’ learning is the most current information or evidence.

The new report cards will be distributed during parent-teacher conferences on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21, giving teachers an opportunity to explain the report card results to the parents. Parents will also have the opportunity to see samples of their child’s work. 

Parents are encouraged to talk to their student’s teacher about whether the work samples are satisfactory, or how their child could have done a better job on the assignments. Parents can talk with teachers about how they can help their child improve or excel in various subjects and what resources are available to use outside the classroom to encourage the child’s progress.