A Parent’s Guide to The Standards-Based Report Card

3 years ago

Learning is a journey. Students learn and grow at different rates. The standards-based report card identifies where your child currently is on his or her educational path so that you, as parents, can work together with teachers to support your child in meeting annual learning goals. 

What is a standards-based report card?

A standards-based reporting system is designed to inform parents/guardians about their children’s progress toward specific learning standards set forth by the Wyoming Department of Education and adopted by the district. In a standards based system the score  represents what is learned – where the student is in relation to the expectation or standard. 


A standards-based report card:

provides a clear message to parents about which skills and concepts students know and are able to demonstrate in relation to established state standards

helps teachers and students focus on identified end-of-year expectations from the very beginning of the year, giving students a direction for their learning

aligns instruction, assessment, and grading with standards

creates a higher level of consistency and continuity in assessing among teachers and across grade levels


Performance Descriptors:

4 = Student has exceeded the grade-level expectations taught for that standard

3 = Student has reached or mastered grade-level expectations taught for that standard

2 = Student is working towards proficiency with steady progress toward the grade-level standard

1 = Student is working towards proficiency with limited progress toward the grade-level standard

0 / Blank = Not assessed at this time


Why would my child receive a 0 or a blank?

Because of the vast number of standards, not all standards will be assessed each quarter. If your child has a 0 or a blank, it simply        indicates that your child did not receive an assessment, or there was not enough data to accurately report progress on that standard for the grading period.  (See the performance descriptors above).


What if my child receives all 2’s, does this mean he/she is failing?

No. Standards-based report cards are not about failing and passing. The 2’s show that a child is working towards proficiency. Even top    students can earn a 2, which can be a shock for some families. It’s important to know that early scores are not averaged into the final grade—so once your child masters the concept, his/her final grade shows that.


How will I know if my child is “on target” ?

A 3 shows that a student has reached or mastered grade-level expectations on a specific standard. A 3 indicates that a student is achieving at the appropriate level of expectations for that grade at the time of the reporting period. The standards-based report card measures how well an individual child is doing in relation to the grade-level standards, not the work of other children.


How will my child receive a 4?

Level 4 may be the trickiest to understand. A 4 indicates performance that exceeds grade-level expectations taught for a specific standard  and that the child has a much deeper understanding of the standard, the ability to apply that knowledge, make connections, and extend learning beyond the targeted goal.  If your child earned A’s on traditional report cards, he/she may have received them for meeting teacher requirements, not necessarily for exceeding grade-level expectations taught for that standard.


Do the performance descriptors on the report card correlate with letter grades?

No. The performance descriptors are used to indicate a student’s progress in meeting academic learning standards.  The marks on a standards-based report card are different from traditional letter grades. Letter grades are often calculated by combining how well the student met the  teacher’s expectations, how he/she performed on assignments and tests, and how much effort the teacher believes he/she put in. Letter grades do not tell parents which skills their children have mastered or whether they are working at grade level.


How does standards-based grading affect student motivation?

When students can clearly see the learning target for each activity and connect class activities to actions that are within their control,motivation improves. In other words, when students can see that the level and amount of work they contribute to the learning target is directly related to the outcome, they will be empowered and encouraged to work hard.