Upper School Newsletter

Dear Upper School Families,

The 2022-23 school year is wrapping up and spring in East Tennessee is in full bloom! This time of year, students are completing final projects, teachers are squeezing in the last learning opportunities, and parents…well, parents are trying to figure out what to do with summer break! However, no matter who you are, the common denominator that defines the end of every school year is the final report card. Whether angst or jubilation, grief or celebration, the final report card always elicits a response. But, what does it actually represent? What does it actually mean?

I can’t tell you how many times I ended a school year wondering if I was going to make an A in a certain subject. I calculated the percentages and prayed that what I calculated as a B+ would somehow morph into an A by the time report cards were printed. I can tell you that I spent very little time thinking about how much I learned.

So…what is the point of a report card? Is it about grades or about learning? Isn’t the whole idea of a report card to convey the degree of learning in a class? Shouldn’t a report card attempt to summarize what was learned and to what extent it was learned? I find it amazing that I spent so many years reducing report cards to one simple question: Did I get a good grade?

Standards-based grading allows students and teachers to break the class down into parts and define the learning through the lens of mastering each part of the class. When a student receives a mastery-based score for each part of the class, it is easy to surmise the learning that has happened in each part of the class. Therefore, when a standards-based report card is published, it is easy to recognize exactly what has been learned in the class and to what extent the student has mastered each standard connected to the course.

Now, that sounds like a true picture of learning. I hope that with each standards-based report card you receive, even if they can get a bit lengthy, you have a good understanding of what your child has learned and to what extent they have mastered each part of the course. That is the true magic of standards-based learning!

Now, go out there and enjoy your summer, but not before receiving that quintessential year-end report card that, here at CBA, will demonstrate exactly what your child learned this year!

With 1VOICE,