NCSS re­vises kinder­garten, first grade re­port cards

The Covington News - - OPINION - By Jenny Thompson

Changes re­flect Ge­or­gia Per­for­mance Stan­dards

Ken­neth Proc­tor, co-di­rec­tor of pre-k through fifth grade cur­ricu­lum for the New­ton County School Sys­tem, out­lined re­vi­sions to kinder­garten and first grade re­port cards at Tues­day night’s Board of Ed­u­ca­tion meet­ing.

Proc­tor ex­plained changes were im­ple­mented to re­flect Ge­or­gia Per­for­mance Stan­dards, en­cour­age teach­ers to as­sign grades based on those stan­dards and fos­ter con­sis­tency in grad­ing.

He said the new re­port cards should pro­vide stu­dents, par­ents and teach­ers with clear ex­pec­ta­tions of what a child is to learn through­out the year in a cer­tain grade level.

“This was re­ally the im­por­tant con­cept we ham­mered all year long,” Proc­tor said.

Stu­dents will now re­ceive marks for many more cri­te­ria than be­fore. Be­fore first grade stu­dents were graded on 38 dif­fer­ent skills they needed to per­form. First graders will now be graded on 57 dif­fer­ent skills.

Cat­e­gories of skill sets last year in­cluded read­ing, lan­guage arts, spell­ing, hand­writ­ing, math­e­mat- ics, so­cial stud­ies, science/health, art, mu­sic, phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion, work habits/so­cial de­vel­op­ment.

Cat­e­gories now in­clude read­ing, writ­ing, re­search, lis­ten­ing/speak­ing/view­ing, num­ber sense and op­er­a­tions, ge­om­e­try, mea­sure­ment, data anal­y­sis and prob­a­bil­ity, process skills, science process skills, health and per­sonal safety, art, mu­sic, phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion, du­ties and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of cit­i­zen­ship, cul­tures/peo­ple/places/en­vi­ron­ments, or­ga­niz­ing and in­ter­pret­ing data and per­sonal and in­ter­per­sonal skills.

Part of the in­crease in the graded skill sets comes from the ex­pan­sion of the so­cial stud­ies and science cat­e­gories.

Last year first grade stu­dents re­ceived one mark each quar­ter for all skill sets con­tained by the sub­ject.

So­cial stud­ies skills now in­clude the use of proper eti­quette dur­ing the pledge/na­tional an­them, the abil­ity to iden­tify sym­bols of the United States and their mean­ing, the abil­ity to iden­tify events as past, present or fu­ture, the abil­ity to com­pare the daily lives/cus­toms of chil­dren in North Amer­ica and the abil­ity to use maps and globes as sources of in­for­ma­tion.

Science/Health skills now in­clude ask­ing es­sen­tial ques­tions, mak­ing pre­dic­tions, mak- ing ob­ser­va­tions and draw­ing con­clu­sions, ex­plor­ing the use of sci­en­tific tools and in­stru­ments, demon­strat­ing and un­der­stand­ing of healthy liv­ing and demon­strat­ing an un­der­stand­ing of per­sonal safety.

How stu­dents are graded has changed too.

“We did away with the old S, N and U al­though we have some­thing that is very sim­i­lar,” Proc­tor said.

Teach­ers will grade stu­dents on a scale of 1 to 3 on aca­demic achieve­ments, with 3 mean­ing ex­ceed­ing stan­dards, 2 meet­ing stan­dards, 1 not meet­ing stan­dards and block mean­ing skill not as­sessed at the time.

Proc­tor ex­plained this is a shift to­ward em­u­lat­ing how stu­dents are as­sessed on the Cri­te­rion Ref­er­enced Com­pe­tency Tests stu­dents in sec­ond through eighth grades take in the spring and stu­dents in third, fifth and eighth grades must pass to ad­vance to the next grade level.

The kinder­garten re­port cards also have adopted the new nu­meric sys­tem of grad­ing and in­clude more graded skill sets so par­ents can know ex­actly where their child’s strengths and weak­nesses lie.

Proc­tor said the changes will help teach­ers and par­ents iden­tify at-risk stu­dents who are in dan­ger of be­ing re­tained in their grade.

Th­ese changes stemmed from sug­ges­tions made by steer­ing com­mit­tees com­posed of teach­ers on all grade lev­els and ad­min­is­tra­tors. Less sig­nif­i­cant changes were made to sec­ond through fifth grade re­port cards as well, but dur­ing the next two years will move to­ward stan­dards-based progress as­sess­ment.

Proc­tor added per­ma­nent record cards have been re­vised to re­flect the grad­ing changes and that copies of each re­port card will be placed in the stu­dent’s per­ma­nent record file.

“We’re re­ally ex­cited about that work,” Proc­tor said.

In other news from Tues­day night’s meet­ing:

• The board ap­proved the sale of the 2.68-acre Bai­ley Track, lo­cated south­east of the con­struc­tion site of the new schools on Salem Road, to the Ge­or­gia Trans­mis­sion Cor­po­ra­tion for use by Snap­ping Shoals EMC. Con­struc­tion could not ex­tend past a power line, so the plot was placed on the mar­ket. The sale fetched $83,080 for the sys­tem.

• Fri­day night high school foot­ball will soon be­gin. New­ton plays their first home game against East­side at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31. Al­covy will play their first home game against New­ton at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7.

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