Special Report: Progress Reporting at Every Level
Remember when you were a kid and report card time rolled around? You waited nervously all week, raced to see your grades before your parents did, and held your breath the entire time they sat through parent-teacher conferences.
Even if you were used to getting good grades and a glowing report from your teachers, there was always that chance that this would be the marking period where something would go horribly wrong, and you would have to face the disappointed looks on your parents’ faces.
Next, you’d scramble to find some type of reasonable response like, “What are grades in school really?” or “Do grades matter in middle school?” And, of course, your parents would not be amused. So when another 9 weeks ended, and your grades weren’t all that shabby, you had a big sigh of relief—until the next report card session rolled around, anyway.
But now that you’re an adult, and you teach classes of your own, report card time has taken on a whole new meaning. It’s now your responsibility to accurately and fairly assess each student. You spend days, if not weeks, beforehand sorting through the never-ending stack of assignments, inputting them into your grade book, calculating final grades, and adding personalized comments on all of your student grade reports—making sure that you’re grading for equity at all times to be fair.
Your mind might wander back to the beginning of your teaching career when you used to ask yourself, “What is class rank again?” Of course, now you run class rank reporting with a few clicks of your mouse every so many weeks so that you can set up collaborative groups for the next marking period.
Because now you know just how important comprehensive and transparent reporting is for teacher and student success. These reports impact everything you do moving forward this school year.
When it comes to the US grading system, teachers can actually have vastly different reporting requirements depending on the grade level they’re assigned to as well as the school district and state they teach in.
For example, the kindergarten grading scale—which is typically a 1 4 grading scale—is much different than what you would see on a middle school grades chart.
Plus, children enrolled in kindergarten are graded on a very different set of benchmarks than their older peers, with younger children having items such as ‘uses time wisely,’ ‘demonstrates problem-solving skills,’ and ‘follows directions well’ on their kindergarten report card.
Students in middle and high school are graded heavily based on their assessments in core subject areas and electives (in addition to homework and papers). This sometimes leaves older kids scratching their heads and asking things like, “Wait, what is a school transcript?” and “Why do I need one for college?”
In a typical school district in the United States, teachers are required to report each students’ current school grades on a progress report every four to five weeks and on a report card at the end of every nine weeks no matter what grade level they teach. Of course, nowadays, parents have the added benefit of being able to access online grading reports instantaneously, so the days of waiting forever for an update are long over.
And while a school’s grading system may be slightly different in various regions across the country or across grade levels within the same district, the main purpose of grading in schools is to communicate areas of strength and areas that could use improvement at this static moment in time. From there, parents and teachers can make a plan to help each student moving forward.
Without a robust grading system in schools and the regular reporting of school grades, there would be very little concrete data for teachers—who need it to scaffold instruction and plan differentiated assignments for students based on their current learning needs.
For parents, report cards and the detailed comments that correspond with them help them to understand whether or not their child is actually reaching required benchmarks well within the classroom—or whether they need additional help at home from parents or a tutor.
Of course, students aren’t the only ones who get evaluated! Teachers, schools, and states are graded on a variety of benchmarks of their own. Teachers across the United States go through a lengthy teacher evaluation process throughout their careers, which includes:
- Having classroom observations
- Receiving an evaluation similar to a card grading system where they get ranked on several pages worth of criteria
- Having meetings with administrators to discuss their results and how they can make further progress in the future
And while these teachers’ report cards aren’t shared publicly, they certainly influence hiring and firing decisions—as well as impact the professional development courses that are provided to teachers in the future.
Similarly, individual schools themselves receive a yearly school report. This report documents the cumulative achievement scores of all students who attend their school—as well as important information like demographics, graduation rates, disciplinary measures, and the per-pupil education spending in that district.
These school education reports are important because they provide critical information to parents, community members, and the government—holding schools accountable for providing the best possible educational opportunities for each one of the students they serve. And because they’re online report cards, they are readily accessible to anyone who wishes to read them.
Reporting at the State and National Levels
Furthermore, states themselves receive a state report card that details exactly how students are faring educationally within that state. Think of it like an assessment report that looks at the overall achievements of everyone in that state instead of just a single student within a class.
And lastly, the educational achievements of the entire country are reported on, and the US is ranked against all the other countries in the world highlighting both the areas it leads in and falls short.
Typing.com has variety of options when it comes to grading and running reports. In the teacher portal, teachers can choose to assign letter or number grades to their classes. Teachers can also decide what the threshold is for those grades, and once determined, Typing.com will automatically build out the rest of the grading scale. Additionally, teachers can choose whether they want students to be graded on their speed or their accuracy, and what the benchmarks are for screen completion and stars earned. Once students have begun using Typing.com, reports can be generated on student activity, lesson progress, assessment scores, and the overall class scoreboard. These reports can be exported directly to Excel, making it easy for teachers to add this information to their own online gradebooks.