District Performance

Elementary Performance Reports

During the past year, the staff members of the Cedar Falls elementary schools have been working to establish a guaranteed and viable curriculum throughout the district. Through this process, we are revising the Elementary Conference Reports (report cards) to better align with the essential skills and concepts that we expect our students to know and be able to do at each grade level. At the November conferences, you will see a new report card, now referred to as Elementary Performance Reports. Our purpose is to increase communication about student achievement to parents and to create a more consistent curriculum between teachers throughout the district. The Performance Reports will share information regarding an individual student’s progress toward content standards.

For many years Iowa school districts determined what we expected our students to know and be able to do. All public schools in the state are now required to follow the Iowa Core which delineates a rigorous curriculum and requires more complex thinking skills. In 2010, the Common Core State Standards were integrated into the Iowa Core and must be fully implemented by the 2014-15 school year for grades K-8. Our District staff members are working toward aligning our curriculum to ensure that the intended curriculum is taught and assessed at each grade level. (For more information on the Iowa Core please go to http://www.educateiowa.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2485&Itemid=4 602.)

Last year collaborative teams of teachers spent time working on the math standards from the Iowa Core and broke them down further into essential skills and concepts. Some standards include several skills and concepts which will need to be mastered before the child meets the standard. In English/language arts, science, and social studies we are still working to align our curriculum to the Iowa Core. The standards in these content areas have not been broken down into essential skills and concepts at this time. Last spring grade level teams met to determine which standards could be assessed this year, and over the summer the Report Card Committee refined this work in English/language arts. Currently the state is working to change the science from grade spans to grade levels, and until this work is complete, we will continue teaching our existing science curriculum. We are aware of the work yet to be done in English/language arts, science, and social studies; however, we wanted to begin reporting to parents and students a more accurate measure of what each child knows and is able to do in relationship to the end of the year grade level standards.

On the Elementary Performance Report that you will receive at Parent-Teacher Conferences, you will be able to see your child’s individual progress toward specific standards. The standards will be marked as follows: MS = Met Standard, P = Progressing Toward Standard, LP = Limited Progress, and NA = Not Assessed at This Time. In the first trimester parents will see a lot of P’s, LP’s, and NA’s on the Performance Report, as many skills and concepts will not have been taught and assessed yet. There are multiple essential skills and concepts in math that students will need to master before meeting a standard, so by the end of the school year, the goal is that all students will have met the standard. It is highly likely that a student will be “Progressing Toward Standard” until the last trimester.

On the Performance Report you will see that homework and effort are not included in the standard score. Students will be receiving a separate mark for 21st Century Life-Long Learning Skills, which are also a part of the Iowa Core. The scoring for this section will be based on a numeric code: 3 = Consistently, 2= Sometimes, 1 = Seldom or Never.

This is a work in progress, and we will continue to make improvements in our process of sharing reliable and accurate information to parents. We are excited about the new Performance Report and the work that is being done in the district to meet the standards of the Iowa Core. This report will give you more information on what your child should know and be able to do. In the near future, you will be notified by your child’s principal to go to the Cedar Falls District website to see examples and learn more about our Performance Reports. The education of your child is important to all of us, and we appreciate your support of our schools and programs.