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Cleaner report card OK’d for kindergarteners

Zero-to-4 system will be replacing pluses, minuses

PRINCETON — Next semester, when report cards go out for kindergarteners, parents may notice a more concise report on their student.

On Monday, the Princeton Elementary School Board approved revisions to the kindergarten report card, which are meant to make it an easier document for parents to follow and understand how well their students are doing in class.

The revisions don’t include any changes to assessment, but rather just cleaning up language to eliminate redundancies in the reporting.

PES kindergarten teacher Jessica Pinter said the report card used to be three pages long, but with the new revisions, the report is just short of two pages. She added being able to present a shorter report to parents won’t be so overwhelming for them to take in.

Before the board unanimously approved the revisions, Lincoln Elementary School Principal Kylee Gutshall, who taught kindergarten for 15 years prior to becoming principal this school year, explained to board members the assessment given to kindergarteners.

While at one time, kindergarten was never a graded program, she said PES kindergarten teachers took a different approach several years ago and went to standard base reporting to help parents better understand how their students were progressing.

The core subjects students are assessed in include math, English/language, fine motor skills, and behaviors and work habits.

Before standard base reporting, Gutshall said teachers were using pluses or minuses to track core subjects. The new form of grading uses the numeric system 0-4. A zero means there is no evidence to prove students have met the standard; 1 means there are gaps in understanding the standard; 2 means they’re progressing toward the standard; 3 means they understand the standard, and 4 means they’ve mastered the standard and could teach it to someone else.

“It zeroes in a little bit more specifically for parents to understand where those foundational skills are and how they are progressing, to make sure they have all those before moving on to the first grade and beyond,” Gutshall said.

PES Superintendent Tim Smith said this sort of grading system also allows teachers to keep reteaching the skills to students who need more opportunities to achieve it.

“The kindergarten teachers took a lot of time and effort creating this,” he said. “What they’ve done is made it more concise and easier to read for parents. … I commend the kindergarten teachers and Mrs. Bima for working hard on this.”

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