A new survey says many Waukee parents aren't happy with the district's standards-based reporting.
At last week's meeting of the Waukee school board, Associate Superintendent Cindi McDonald told board members the results of the survey showed mixed emotions from many Waukee parents. According to an article in the Des Moines Register online, survey results showed parents struggled to understand both their child's curriculum and the online access system where they can find their child's progress reports.
Fifty-two percent of parents said they "completely or mostly understand their child’s academic skills," though, "54 percent reported they do not think PowerSchool provides a clear picture of their child’s academic progress."
In a different survey, some parents expressed concern that standards-based reporting would leave students “unmotivated” and that the program “lacked clear criteria.” Respondents suggested reverting back to traditional letter grades because they “like the old way,” are “afraid kids won’t be prepared” and “can’t compare students.”
Standards-based reporting is an alternative method of evaluating student achievement. Rather than traditional letter grades, a student’s progress toward 10 to 12 objectives per subject is rated with such descriptions as “needs continuous improvement,” “beginning,” “developing,” “secure” or “exceeds expectations.”
Waukee began using the system during the 2010-11 school year for students in sixth grade. It was later expanded to include seventh-grade students in the Waukee schools.
In contrast to the parent surveys, 85 percent of teachers reported that standards-based reporting actually helped them understand their students' abilities.
Waukee officials say they will review the program again in 2013 before deciding whether eighth-grade students will continue receiving letter grades or make the move to standards-based reporting.