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Reporting switches to standards for Madison second-graders

Judy Warmath works as coordinator of elementary instruction for Madison City Schools. (CONTRIBUTED
Judy Warmath works as coordinator of elementary instruction for Madison City Schools. (CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – A new type of report card for Madison second-graders will focus more on specific academic goals, while reporting conduct tendencies.

School officials introduced the new report cards “to provide high quality information to interested persons in a form they can understand and use,” Judy Warmath, the district’s coordinator of elementary instruction, said. The cards use “unambiguous information about students’ performance to parents, students and others.”

School leaders introduced standards-based report cards for kindergartners and first-graders during the last school year. “We added second grade this year,” Warmath said.

A team of Madison second-grade teachers started working on the card revamp in January, Warmath said. Nichol Phillips, assistant principal Heritage Elementary School, facilitated the group meetings. Now the instructional partner at Heritage Elementary School, Wendy Pharo worked as a second-grade teacher when she assisted in this project.

Dorinda White, principal at Rainbow Elementary School, now is working with the group. Renee Graham, second-grade teacher at Columbia Elementary School, “played a major role in the development and support,” Warmath said.

One of their reference sources was “Developing Standards-Based Report Cards” by Thomas R. Guskey and Jane M. Bailey.

To determine a student’s grade, a traditional report card typically includes factors that don’t relate to academics, such as the child’s effort, homework, participation and neatness.

However, these factors can “cause discrepancies between a student’s grade and performance on large-scale accountability assessments,” Warmath said.

In comparison, standards-based report cards show non-academic elements separately. These documents “describe explicit learning goals that students are expected to master,” Warmath said, “and communicate students’ level of proficiency in meeting grade-level standards.”

For each standard, the cards must identify each student’s level of achievement. These cards also reflect end-of-year goals, she said.

“Parents want information as early as possible and regularly thereafter,” Warmath said.

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