A Parent Guide To Learner Centered Assessment
What is learner centered assessment? Learner centered assessment communicates how students are performing on a set of clearly defined learning targets called standards. The purpose of learner centered assessment is to identify what a student knows, or is able to do, in relation to pre-establish learning targets, as opposed to simply averaging grades/scores over the course of a grading period, which can mask what a student has learned, or not learned, in a specific course.
How does learner centered assessment differ from traditional grading? Unlike with traditional grading systems, a learner centered reporting system measures a student’s mastery of grade-level standards by prioritizing the most recent, consistent level of performance. Thus a student, who may have struggled at the beginning of a course, when first encountering new material, may still be able to demonstrate mastery of key content/concepts by the end of a grading period. In a traditional grading system, a student’s performance for an entire quarter is averaged together. Early quiz scores that were low would be averaged together with more proficient performance later in the course, resulting in a lower overall grade than current performance indicates. Learner centered reporting separates academic performance from work habits and behavior in order to provide parents a more accurate view of a student’s progress in both academic and behavioral areas. Variables such as effort, participation, timeliness, cooperation, and attitude are reported separately, not as an indicator of a student’s academic performance.
How are my child’s marks determined? A student’s performance on a series of assessments (both formative and summative) will be used to determine a student’s overall grade in a course. Practice assignments (homework) are just that, practice, and thus should serve primarily as a source of feedback and instructional support for both students and teachers. Scores on practice assignments should not be used as a major component of a student’s academic grade. Teachers may require students to complete all of their practice work prior to allowing them to take, or retake, an assessment.
Will my student still receive teacher comments on their progress report? Yes. Individualized feedback is a component of learner centered assessment. Effective feedback is a more useful source of information than simply assigning a numeric value or letter grade to student work.
What do each of the letters mean? “E” (exemplary) Indicates that a student exceeds a standard by consistently demonstrating an advanced level of understanding and/or the ability to apply their knowledge at a higher level. “P” (proficient) Indicates that a student has independently achieved the standard. The student demonstrates mastery of the standard. This is where we expect students to be at the end of the year on the standards. “D” (developing) Indicates that a student is developing an understanding of a standard, but still may be in need of additional instruction and/or support. “I” (insufficient) Indicates that a student has not shown adequate knowledge and skill or not enough substantial evidence toward attaining a standard. “N” (no evicence) Indicates that the teachers has not collected any information on student’s attainment of a standard.
How should a student/parent view student grades now that the system of A-F has been replaced by a different reporting scale? What is considered to be an A in the new grading system? You cannot really compare a traditional grading system to learner centered assessment reporting. It is like comparing “apples to oranges”. Learner centered assessment identifies a standard and indicates whether or not a student is meeting the standard at a given point in the school year. A score of (P) is defined as meeting grade level standards and indicates that a student has demonstrated mastery of the skills that were expected to be learned by that point in the grading period.
Is it possible to achieve a grade of E? Yes it is. However, a score of (E) indicates performance that is consistently above what is expected for mastery at that point in the school year. Exemplary work would indicate a much deeper understanding of a standard, the ability to apply that knowledge, make connections and extend learning beyond the targeted goal.
If a student receives “I’s” all year, does that mean the student will be retained? Intervention classes are in place at Harding to support learners who are behind in math and reading. If a student receives “D’s or I’s” it means his/her work is not yet meeting grade level standards. A number of academic interventions will be offered to those students who are struggling to meet the established standards. Grade level retention is not a practice that is generally supported by research.
How will I know if my child needs help? Receiving an “N” or an “I” on a grade report/report card can be a sign that a student is in need of extra support in the areas where they are receiving low marks. This is one benefit of a learner centered assessment progress report; areas in need of support are clearly evident.
What is a 21st Century Skill? The 21st Century Skill score will indicate a student’s ability to meet pre-established behavioral guidelines in the areas of respect and responsibility. All students will receive feedback on this area, which is separate from their academic grade.
Where else in the area is learner centered assessment is being implemented? It is important to note that our elementary schools have been utilizing a four point grading system for several years, so it will not be new to the majority of our families. It is also under study at the high school level.