Parents must understand report cards for them to work, Pasco officials say
Pasco County school district officials have not made any decisions about whether to give standards-based report cards a trial run. Even if they do, the initial "case study," as they're calling it, would be very small.
That's to make sure the committee reviewing the idea gets a solid look at the pros and cons of moving away from A-F grades before trying to launch it more widely.
Critical to any effort will be clear explanations to students, parents and teachers about how the model works, and why it's being tried. The report card committee has put together a draft communication plan for how to proceed.
"We must make it clear that we are starting small because we want to see if it successfully reflects students' learning," the document states. "We must explain that it is a two-year pilot, and that we will increase the number of teachers by a small number in the second year of the pilot to gather more evidence. We must agree that if the pilot is not successful, we will NOT proceed with expanding SBG to the entire district, and we must communicate this clearly to parents, students, teachers, and administrators."
Already, some parents have complained to the district about the concept after reading about it in the Tampa Bay Times. In emails, they have said they don't understand the current differences between primary, intermediate and secondary grading models, and they're not keen on anything new.
If the report card committee recommends moving ahead with the case study, it wants to make sure that everyone has received an explanation of the reasons for the change, as well as the potential benefits. It also wants to leave room to answer questions, not just for parents but also for their children, both before and during the project.
If the students buy in, the committee document states, the likelihood of parent buy-in rises. The committee aims to make a recommendation on a standards-based report cards case study in time to start it in the fall.