The Paulding County School District clearly articulates the goals of communicating details regarding student achievement. It is the intent of the district to provide timely, understandable, and meaningful information about student progress toward clearly articulated achievement standards to students, parents, and educational professionals.
High quality grading and assessment practices serve the following purposes:
• Communication of achievement status of students to parents/guardians in ways that describe progress toward learning standards;
• Information students can use for self-evaluation and improvement;
• Data for decisions regarding instruction, learning support, extension, and/or intervention;
• Information for evaluation of the effectiveness of instructional programs.
Procedures for communication about student achievement, particularly grading and reporting practices, are based on the belief that individual achievement of clearly stated learning standards. Furthermore, as an integral part of needs-based instruction, grades should provide an accurate reflection of what each student knows, understands, and is able to do with regards to curriculum performance standards. In order for grades to have meaning, teachers must strive for accurate information regarding student achievement and appropriate checkpoint assessments to determine mastery learning. To assist teachers in use of these strategies, the district will continue to provide on-going professional learning and support in the areas of assessment, data analysis, data driven instruction, needs- based instruction, mastery learning and grading.
Effective assessment and grading helps to improve student achievement by focusing on four critical questions:
1. What do students need to know, understand, and be able to do?
2. How will we know that they have learned it?
3. What will we do when they have not learned it?
4. What will we do when they already know it?
Grades based on curriculum standards are an essential means of data-driven decision making and instructional planning. This assessment data should be the cornerstone of helping teachers plan instruction to remediate, extend, challenge and support all students. This data also assists parents/guardians to know the academic areas in which a student meets or exceeds expectations, needs extended learning, or needs support.
Teachers provide students and families with information about achievement in several ways. These include the following:
• Report cards: Issued on a quarterly basis; indicate academic grades and work habits.
• Progress reports: Issued midway through the grading period; provide an interim report to communicate a student’s progress during the grading period.
• Online parent portal: Real-time reports of students’ grades on individual tasks and assignments are available at the district website via a password-protected portal.
• Parent conferences: Scheduled conferences occur in fall (elementary, middle, and high) and spring (elementary and as needed for middle or high). Teachers and parents may request additional conferences to discuss student progress and/or concerns on a needs basis.
• Informal methods: Teachers use a variety of methods to report achievement and learning skills to students and parents such as telephone calls, email, observation records, and communication forms.
• Teacher feedback: Teachers give feedback on class work and homework to monitor student learning. This feedback may be verbal or written and delivered to individual students, small groups, or whole class.
Each school will develop a process for communicating with students and parents/guardians regarding grading procedures as it aligns with needs based instruction.
At the beginning of the year and/or semester, or when grading procedures change, schools will communicate the following:
• Class/course expectations
• How needs based instruction will be facilitated to ensure mastery
• How mastery learning will be assessed.