Del Mar Union School District to unveil new standards-based report cards

By Karen Billing

Gone are the days of “As,” “Bs” and “Cs” on Del Mar Union School District school report cards. The district will unveil new standards-based report cards at the end of the first trimester of the school year and parents will learn how their child is progressing according to a scale of “E,” “S,” “D” and “B.”

“E” means a student’s performance exceeds grade level expectations; “S” means a student’s performance is secure and meets grade level expectations; “D” means the student is developing steadily toward expectations; and “B” means the student is beginning to progress.

The report cards were changed in light of the new Common Core State Standards that will go into effect in the 2014-15 school year. Work began on the new report cards in 2011 with input along the way from district teachers.

“We’re really excited about this process and the end result,” said Shelley Peterson, assistant superintendent of instructional services.

Understanding that the report cards will mark a major shift for parents, the district will hold three parent information nights on report cards: Sept. 12 at Ashley Falls School; Oct. 10 at Sage Canyon; and Oct. 22 at Ashley Falls. All meetings begin at 6 p.m.

There will also be an information video on the report cards posted on school websites the week of Sept. 16.

“We’re really trying to get in front of it before parent-teacher conferences in November,” Peterson said.

In the new report card, scores are earned based on students’ demonstration of mastery of a cluster of core curriculum standards. Effort, attitude, homework and participation are recorded separately from progress toward academic goals.

Board member Scott Wooden expressed some concern about the new report cards, wondering how it can be measured if a student is “secure” and if it could be considered grade inflation by reporting that everyone is doing great.

“I just want to make sure we’re not dumbing this down,” Wooden said.

Peterson said it is absolutely not dumbing it down, that the standards are much more rigorous and student must demonstrate a mastery and a depth of understanding.

Peterson said that the report card actually more accurately represents the present levels of student achievement and will be an important tool in “furthering clear understanding regarding student growth.”