As was mentioned in the Elementary School Teas earlier this quarter, our elementary school assessment practice, in addition to that of our middle school, will also be changing at the end of the first quarter. At our coming Parent-Teacher-Student conferences, parents will receive both a more traditional report card (for all classes) and a MasteryConnect report card (for core classes only). Next fall, all elementary school reporting will be done nearly entirely in MasteryConnect. While the best explanation for how this new reporting system works will come from each classroom teacher at our upcoming conferences, I’d like to present an explanation here as well so that parents can feel a little bit more ready before conferences begin. So what does MasteryConnect offer as a grading and reporting system?
First, MasteryConnect offers teachers the capacity to enter and interpret data about student learning in a very meaningful way. Below is an example of the teacher’s view of their class in a particular subject area. Pretend for a moment that you are the teacher, and consider the data. Green represents ‘mastery’ (已達標準), yellow represents ‘near mastery’ (接近標準), and red is ‘remediation’ (待加強). The letters and numbers at the top of each column represent different learning benchmarks. These ‘benchmarks’ are the desired outcomes for each curricular area. For example, in fifth grade language arts, one of the benchmarks is “I can read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.” In the sample ‘grade book’ below, which standard clearly needs a little extra review in this class?
This type of grading layout also helps our teachers to quickly recognize which students are struggling and in which areas. Again, take a look above and consider: which students are in need of extra help from the teacher?
What is unique about this grade book layout is its ability to use grading data to clearly portray specific student performance on specific benchmarks. The learning goals are the primary focus.
Another benefit of MasteryConnect is the potential speed of assessment. The program offers the unique feature of using a computer’s camera to capture student performance on quick assessments, automatically pumping them into the grade book. Students can even do this themselves by bringing their completed assessment up to the computer and getting an instant score. Imagine the benefit of immediately knowing whether or not a class understands a benchmark goal. If the class already knows it, it’s time to move on. If they don’t, teachers now know immediately which kids are struggling. Again, data can better inform instruction.
In the form of reporting, our use of MasteryConnect marks a change in our elementary school grading scale. In the past, we have used E (Excellent), P (Proficient), B (Basic), and U (Unsatisfactory). MasteryConnect’s scale of M (Mastery, 已達標準), NM (Near Mastery,接近標準), and R (Remediation,待加強) removes the often-confusing differentiation between Excellence and Procidiency. This confusion can be seen in the following math benchmark from Kindergarten: “I can count to 100 by ones and by tens.” What is the difference between excellence and proficiency in this benchmark? It’s quite difficult to determine! The concept of Mastery, Near Mastery, and Remediation, then, offers a clearer paradigm.
至於成績單格式方面，小學部的評分級距改為採用MasteryConnect的方式。過往，我們使用Ｅ（優異）、Ｐ（熟練）、Ｂ（普通）以及U（不滿意）等四種級別。MasteryConnect 的評分等第則分為Ｍ(Mastery已達標準)、NM (Near Mastery接近標準) 以及R (Remediation待加強)三種等級，取消了常令人混淆的「優異」與「熟練」。在幼稚園的數學學習基準中會出現這樣的令人困惑的情況，比方來說，「我可以用個位數以及十進位的方式，從一數到一百。」。在這條學習基準下，我們如何辨別「優異」與「熟練」的差異？這非常難以界定！然而，Ｍ(Mastery已達標準)、NM (Near Mastery接近標準) 以及R (Remediation待加強)的概念卻提供了比較清楚的範例。
MasteryConnect also offers parents a clearer picture of a child’s performance. Rather than a traditional mark for the whole course (in the past, EPBU), MasteryConnect offers insight into students performance on each standard assessed so far. The report card, then, is made up of scores for each subject’s standards (see below).
In the top right corner, MasteryConnect lists the overall performance. It’s important to note that this, again, is not an overall letter grade. Rather, it uses a ‘donut’ to describe the percentage of standards that a student has mastered, come close to mastering, or is in need of remediation or intervention from the teacher. When viewing this report then, the teacher, parent, and student all know more precisely which areas need work and which don’t.
Shortly after Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences, elementary families will receive an email with instructions for how to set up a parent portal account. This will allow parents to see student performance up to date, as they have in the past.
Hopefully, this provides some clarity into what MasteryConnect is and how it is beneficial to our elementary students and staff. Again, our transition will be gradual as this year we will offer scores in both reporting formats. Be sure to bring any questions to your upcoming conferences so that these data can be best used and so that our transition to this new reporting style can go as smoothly as possible.