Philosophy & Mission



Exploring for Today, Preparing for Tomorrow

Mission

Our mission is to give all students at Lakeridge the opportunity to gain knowledge, grow in wisdom, develop confidence and become creative, compassionate and critical thinkers and to ensure that all children, regardless of level of ability or individual needs, will have the opportunity to reach for, achieve and extend their potential in a changing world.


Lakeridge Elementary Assessment and Grading Philosophy

Assessment:

Student assessment provides teachers, students, and parents feedback about how each learner is progressing. The data from the assessments is used to make decisions about future instruction and overall performance against a standard or benchmark.

We administer both formative and summative assessments to monitor student learning. Our formative assessments offer ongoing information about students and inform teachers on what they need to do in future lessons to increase achievement. Summative assessments give teachers feedback about student learning following the instruction. Unlike the formative assessments, the summative data is not used to guide future instruction.
o Formative assessment examples: Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA), short math quiz, writer's notebook entry, some homework assignments, etc.
o Summative Assessment Examples: MSP/WASL, ITBS, CogAT, end of the year math assessment, etc.

When we make decisions about a student's performance we believe that triangulating the data provides the best picture of what a student really knows or understands. In this process we take observational data and at least two other data points and analyze for congruence. If our perceptual data matches what the other information about learning is telling us then we feel reasonably certain about our conclusions. Additionally, utilizing more than one data point ensures that we are not rewarding or penalizing students for performing well or struggling simply because of the assessment.

Grading:

The quintessential means for providing feedback to students about performance is grading. This practice has changed greatly in the past decade. We are no longer focused on percentages and fractions to calculate a grade. When we attach a letter grade or percentage we miss out on a valuable opportunity to offer specific feedback about learning. The number correct out of the number possible only targets the student's understanding at a macro-level.

Instead, we developed a 4-Point rubric to offer feedback to students and tell them what their specific deficits and strengths are. Therefore, atop student work one will find numbers such as 4, 3.5, 3, 2.5, 2, 1.5 or 1. These numbers indicate whether a student has exceeded the learning expectation, met the objective, or are still progressing toward the intended outcome. We caution others not to correlate the numbers to traditional letter grades. A score of 4 neither equates to an “A” nor automatically assumes the learning is at the next grade level. However, a 4 does indicate that the student has exceeded the standard, knows and applies simple or complex information and demonstrates in-depth inferences. Please see the Academic Evaluation Rubric for more details about the different numeric scores.

We also use the designations of C-Consistently, G-Generally, N-Needs Prompting, and R-Rarely to evaluate some academic standards and all or our work habits and study skills. This grading tool is used independently of the 4-Point rubric. A student can earn a 3.5 or 4 on a particular reading standard, but receive an R in a work habits area. Thus, the C, G, N and R measure effort and character while the 4-Point rubric indicates understanding and knowledge of the material.

Assessing and grading students is an evolving practice within our profession. Our ultimate goal is to inform each student about his/her progress and offer ways he/she can reach his/her potential.

Frequently Asked Questions about Grading and Assessment

Where can I find the rubric for our reference at home?

o The rubric is at the bottom of this page.

What is the purpose of the new elementary grading rubric?
o The rubric is a description of the expectations for a trimester, a unit or a lesson. The rubric is broken down into levels of achievement. We have developed a structure for creating a rubric for a lesson, unit or trimester (report card) - general terms used to describe a student's progress toward a set of learning objectives at a specific time. The central purpose of the rubric is to clearly describe a student's understanding of the learning expectation.

What are the different levels within the rubric?

o Level 1
o When students first start learning a new concept they typically go through a stage of guided exploration and practice. They start with the simple, or foundational, skills and concepts. Students learn place value before carrying in addition, they learn certain letter combination sounds as they build word attack skills, they learn to make a simple hypothesis before designing an experiment, etc. When a student is at the stage where he or she needs regular help with simple skills or processes, he or she is at level 1 on our rubric.

o Level 2
o For the unit or timeframe covered by the rubric, there are more complex ideas, skills or processes that students learn. These are the objectives or outcomes the teacher is building towards. When a students show they can independently understand and use the simple skills or processes, but are not yet independent with the complex ideas, skills and applications they are at level 2 on our rubric.

o Level 3
o Once students demonstrate independence in the expected skills, ideas and applications, they are at level 3 on our rubric. This is often referred to as meeting standard or meeting expectations.

o Level 4
o The rubric continues, attempting to narrow in on what is meant by advanced learning or exceeding standard/expectation. Often we talk of aiming for depth of learning, but what does that mean? Though that is a much larger discussion we try to simply define advanced learning. Level 4 on the rubric is designated for students who engage successfully in inferences, connections and applications beyond what was expected.

What is exceptional or Level 4 learning?

o Consistently performing beyond expectations
o Seeking opportunity to go further
o Demonstrating depth of thought and application
o Connecting knowledge or skill to another area
o Applying knowledge for a new purpose
o Analyzing concepts
o Showing multiple applications and/or perspectives
o Teaching others
What is not level 4 learning?
o Being fast, neat, or just accelerated
o Just getting all the right answers
o Persevering, staying on task, or following directions

How concerned should I be if my child is not earning a 3 or 4 in all areas or any areas?

o Students with a 1, 1.5, 2, or 2.5 have areas where their performance is below the grade level standard. This is an area for the teacher and parents to focus their efforts and offer support. We want to emphasize that this is not going to keep your child from succeeding in life. Instead, we know where we need to improve.

Why have we gone away from grades and percentages?

o Our philosophy is grounded in the research from The Marzano Research Laboratory. We have learned that grades and percentages can be misleading about what a student truly understands. The rubric allows teachers to be more precise in their feedback to students. For example, a student may incorrectly answer 10 out of 20 math problems. In the previous way of reporting the teacher would have scored this a 50%. When we apply the rubric we may find that the student has a strong conceptual understanding of the math but is struggling with a component of computation. Therefore, the teacher can make a note and report back to the student that he/she earned a “3” in algebra and numbers but a “2” in operations. We can now focus on the computation errors and not move on in the other areas rather than assuming the child needs help in all areas because he/she only know 50% of the answers.

Can I assume that a 4 is an A, a 3 is a B, a 2 is a C and a 1 is a D?

o No! Though a bit misleading, there is not a correlation between traditional letter grades and the standards based rubric or report card.

How are work habits and study skills accounted for in the grading process?

o On the report card you will find two designations to capture a student's work habits and study skills- Cooperative Worker and Self-Directed Learner. This is the area of the report card where a teacher provides feedback in the form of C-Consistently, G-Generally, N-Needs Improvement, R-Rarely. When a student turns in a project, assessment, or assignment the teacher will grade the learning on the understanding of the material with the rubric and then apply the work habits and study skills separately. Thus, a student may turn in a flawless project a week late and earn a 3, 3.5, or 4. However, he/she will then receive an N or R in the area of Self-Directed Learner. We have now communicated to the learner that he/she knows the material but needs to work on the study skills component.

Rubric

4 = Exceeding Standards at Trimester
o In addition to Score 3 performance, the student demonstrates in-depth inferences and/or applications.

3 = Meeting Standards at Trimester
o The student knows and applies the simple or complex information and/or processes that were explicitly taught.
o There are no major errors or omissions.

2 = Progressing Towards Standards at Trimester
o The student knows simpler details and processes.
o There are major errors or omissions regarding the more complex ideas and processes.

1 = Below Standards at Trimester
o With help, the student demonstrates a partial understanding of some of the simpler and complex details and processes.
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