District to issue new report cards

Carson City will no longer produce any straight-A elementary school students. Nor will they receive any Fs.

A new report card to be tested next year will mark a student's progress through a numerical 1 through 4 grading system. It will replace about 15 different formats in use at the schools now.

"There's no consistency as a district and it raises confusion," said assistant superintendent of education Mike Watty. "Above all, we want our reporting system to be consistent."

Teachers and administrators will choose whether to implement the new system next year, before it becomes mandatory the following year. Fremont and Empire elementary schools will use it, as well as groups of teachers at the remaining schools.

The new grading system will be based on Nevada State standards set forth in 1998. A 4 will represent "exceeds standards" and a 1 stands for "below standard."

"Everything in our curriculum is now based on mastering the standards," Watty explained. "We feel that a standards-based report card only made sense. This is just sort of a natural progression."

It will also prepare students and parents for future expectations.

"A parent can see all through their child's education how well they're meeting each of the standards -- they won't have to wait until the high school proficiency exam."

The new report card will not only measure the ability of the student but also the effort.

Watty cited an example of a student who comes into the school district not knowing English. The student may progress but still fall below the state standards.

"It may be discouraging for that student to see ones or twos but in the effort category, they'll see threes and fours," he explained. "That tells us something, too."

After the test run next year, the grading system will be adopted throughout the district the following year.

"We're investigating whether to move it up to the middle-school level," Watty said. "But there's not a place for it at the high school because of the requirements for college."

Teachers implementing the new report card will hold meetings with parents at the beginning of the year and send home brochures. They will also discuss it during the first parent-teacher conferences of the year.


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