What Does 3 Really Mean?

K-5 Standards Based Grading Updates


During the spring of the 2016-2017 school year, our K-5 Standards Based Grading Team met regularly to review our current grading and reporting process. The goal of this work was to improve consistency of our grading practices across the district in every grade level K-5, at each building. In addition, we wanted to ensure we were accurately communicating student progress toward meeting grade level standards. In order to do this, our team adjusted the language you will see on K-5 report cards to better align with the standards, as well as the descriptors for student progress toward meeting the State standards. These new descriptors are as follows:


  • A grade of a 1 will mean the student is not meeting the expectation of progress and/or is working below grade level standard (Area of Concern)
  • A 2 will mean the student is meeting the expectation of progress to be on track toward meeting that Standard by the end of the year and/or is working within grade level standard (Progressing towards grade level standard)
  • A 3 will mean that they have met the year end Standard (Meets grade level standard)
  • A 4 will mean they have not only met the grade level Standard, but are also excelling at the grade level Standard by demonstrating mastery of higher level depth of knowledge questions and/or meeting Standard within the next grade level (Excels at grade level standard)

 The biggest change for families will be the adjustment of how a 3 is earned. In the past, a student could earn a 3 without meeting the end of the year Standard, but instead meeting the progress necessary for that student to be projected to meet Standard by the end of the year. An example, would be a First Grade student identifying numbers to 120. To be projected to meet that Standard by the end of the year, a student has to identify numbers to 50 by Reporting Session #1, to 100 by Report Session #2, and to 120 by the End of the Year. In the past, any student who could recognize to 50 by Reporting Session #1 would receive a 3. However, after discussing this in more detail, the team decided that this could be misleading to parents, since the student had not yet met the Standard of 120. In moving forward, this student will receive a 2 by meeting these targets, and would not receive a 3 until they can identify numbers to 120.  

The purpose of these changes is to assist in clearly communicating to parents where students are in relationship to the Standard they need to meet by the end of the year. This may be a shift in thinking for many parents, as in the past a 2 grade may have been viewed as a student that is struggling. However, a 2 at a fall conference only means that they have not yet met the end of the year State Standard. We ask that you work collaboratively with us as we implement the revised grading practices. If you have any questions, feel free to contact your child’s teacher or the building principal.