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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco school district explores moving to standards-based report cards



Pasco County school district officials are exploring different ways to report student progress than the commonly known A-F model.

The idea, superintendent Kurt Browning said, is to more clearly explain whether students have met, exceeded or fell short of academic standards. That would require more detailed reports, which could demand more time of teachers.

If the district moves to standards-based report cards, it will do so slowly.

"We're having discussions now about possibly piloting the standards-based report cards in a few classes," Browning said.

A handful primary, intermediate and middle teachers have volunteered to try the model, if a fact-finding subcommittee can find one it deems acceptable. It is reviewing similar initiatives in Palm Beach, Polk and Sarasota schools, among others.

The Palm Beach version uses performance codes rather than letter grades. They are 'Exemplary,' 'Proficient,' 'Approaching,' and 'Needs Development.' The Sarasota district, which uses the model in kindergarten and first grade, explains the system this way:

"A standards-based report card clearly communicates what a student should know and be able to do at their grade level; (and) indicates a student's progress toward mastering a standard evidenced by the most recent assessment of their learning. Students will be given many opportunities to show that they are working toward meeting the end of year standard."

Polk schools, which use a 1-4 marking system, have cautioned parents not to try to translate the numbers into the letter grades they're accustomed to.

"Most parents received letter grades in school so their experience is that an A = outstanding or top of the class and a D = barely passing or bottom of the class while a C = average or middle of the class," the district states on its website. "Do not be misled that a 4 = A, 3 = B, 2 = C, or 1 = D. It takes time to master a standard. The goal of every student in Florida is to master the grade level Sunshine State Standards. Mastery of the standards is reported with a 3 on the Achievement Scale."

The Naples Daily News reported that Collier County parents found standards-based report cards confusing

Pasco's subcommittee is looking into the issues and possibilities, district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said, and has not made any recommendations.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 6:56am]


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