The goal is laudable. Collier County Public Schools want to add more information to youngsters’ report cards to reflect more teacher observations on classroom activities beyond fundamental letter grades.
That is consistent with criticism of letter grades for entire schools based on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), which critics say fail to include all the intangibles that make up each school’s personality and true worth.
The question is, will Collier County Public Schools be able to make that report card information user-friendly so it connects with students and their families, making the added thoroughness worth the effort?
These two excerpts from our news story on the report-card plan show what we mean:
“ ... A student’s progress will be reported with a 3, 2 or 1, where 1 is when the student has not met the grade level standard and a 3 means a student has met the standard. ...”
“In kindergarten, for example, the current report card asks a teacher to give a grade and address whether or not the student understands the concepts. Under the standards-based report card, a kindergarten student’s science grade would be assessed on things like uses senses and simple tools to make careful observations of the natural world; keeps records of investigations; and demonstrates understanding of concepts in earth and space, life and physical sciences.”
Our story went on to say that the new report cards, to be tested in kindergarten through second grade at three schools this year and expanded from there, have had input from teachers, parents and administrators.
Still, a member of the advisory education subcommittee, which reports to the School Board, expresses concern about families being able to understand what’s going on.
It is up to the school system to do that and use the expanded information to further engage families in the education process. Smart people working collaboratively on a worthwhile mission can do it.