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A Family Guide to Reporting Student Progress
South Kingstown School Department
Wakefield, Rhode Island
November, 2010

Components of a Standards-based System

There are four essential components of a standards-based system:
  • The content standards, (as outlined by the Rhode Island Department of Education and the Common Core) that describe what a student should know and be able to do at a given grade-level;
  • The standards-based curriculum or roadmap a teacher uses to ensure that instruction targets these standards;
  • The assessments that a teacher uses to measure learning and the extent to which a student has met the standards; and finally,
The reporting tool that allows a teacher to communicate accurately a student’s progress towards meeting standards at critical junctures throughout the school year.  The standards-based report card completes our standards-based system.

The Reporting Process

Reporting student progress takes place throughout the year and it takes many different forms.  The overall process helps parents to understand the grade level expectations in each subject area and their child’s progress toward meeting those expectations.

Elementary Progress Report:

The purpose of the progress report is to enable both students and families to understand the child’s quarterly achievement and to know what is required for future progress.
The report card reflects:
  • Quarterly progress
  • Effort
  • Learner qualities
The report card is only one component of the reporting process.  The South Kingstown School Department values the ongoing partnership between home and school for it is this relationship that supports the successful development of each child.

Ongoing Communication:

In addition to progress reports, families will better understand their child’s progress through:
  • District grade level assessments
  • Student work samples
  • New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP)
  • Parent conferences
  • Newsletters
  • Informal updates from classroom teachers
Standards Information

The Elementary Progress Report is designed to help parents understand their child’s progress toward established grade level expectations.  These standards describe what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade level.  To examine each grade level standard in greater detail, visit the Rhode Island Department of Education web site at
To review the Common Core standards that will shape our curriculum work going forward visit

Description of Grading Criteria

Marking System – Please note, a student could be marked down on a particular objective from a (4) one grading period to a (3) or a (2) the next grading period.  A student could also go up from a (2) one marking period to a (3) or a (4) the next.  Grading will be based on the material covered and the student’s ability to meet the objectives for that quarterly marking period.

Quarterly Grade
Description of Grading Criteria
Exceeds grade level expectations for this marking period.  Student masters and applies skills independently, demonstrates active participation in all learning activities and consistently produces sophisticated work
Meets grade level expectations for this marking period.  Student can usually apply skills to assigned work, can generally participate in most learning activities and usually produces solid work.
Progressing towards achieving grade level expectations for this marking period.  More reinforcement and practice of grade level skills is necessary for meeting grade level expectations.  Skills are developing with additional support.
Making insufficient progress towards grade level expectations for this marking period. Significant amount of academic support is needed to develop skills.
Some concepts and skills are not assessed during a quarterly grading period

Quarterly Effort
Description of Effort Criteria
The student’s effort this quarter in both class participation and work/homework has been outstanding.   
Effort is on level to meet quarterly expectations because class engagement is usually good and most work/homework is completed in a timely and appropriate manner.
Needs Improvement
The student will need to work harder in order to meet quarterly expectations because class engagement is inconsistent and work/homework is frequently late or incomplete.
Teacher Comments

Teacher comments will address:
  • Student strengths and/or areas of concern, both academic and behavioral;
  • Individual student goals as they work to meet grade level expectations.
Student Evidence Used to Determine Grades

As students work toward achieving grade level expectations in all curriculum areas, teachers carefully consider the following in determining progress in all areas:
  • A collection of work over time
  • Daily written and/or oral tasks
  • Application of skills
  • Assessments  (a wide range of assessments should be considered, ranging from district assessments to projects and performance tasks)

Student Learning Expectations

Reading Expectations:
Kindergarten students are learning about the process of reading by using pictures and context to make predictions about story content.  They are retelling familiar stories and asking and answering questions about the essential elements of a text.  By the end of kindergarten, students should be reading and understanding early reader texts.  

Grade 1 students are learning to read grade appropriate materials in a way that makes meaning clear.  At the beginning of the school year, students might be reading books such as: Just Me or A Hug Is Warm.  At the end of grade 1, students would be reading books such as: Griffin the School Cat or Nowhere and Nothing.

Second graders are building their reading skills and now read multi-syllabic, grade appropriate words and now are learning to pay attention to punctuation, such as commas and quotation marks.  By the end of grade 2, students would be reading books such as The Man Who Never Told the Truth or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

In 3rd grade, the goal is to have students read and comprehend a wider range of grade appropriate materials – both fiction and non-fiction.  At the beginning of the school year, students in grade 3 might be reading books such as: Freckle Juice by Judy Blume or Laura’s Ma by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  In non-fiction, they might read Space Stations by Cheryl Ryan. At the end of grade 3, students would be reading books such as: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren or The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.

Grade 4, students are starting to read and comprehend a wide range of grade appropriate materials – both fiction and non-fiction.  At the beginning of the school year, students might be reading books such as: Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe or Homer Price by Robert McCloskey.  A beginning of the year non-fiction book might be Robert Ballard’s Exploring the Titanic.  At the end of the year, students might be reading George Seldon’s The Cricket in Times Square or Patricia Polacco’s Pink and Say.   

Grade 5 students might begin the year with books similar to those at the end of 4th grade or they may be reading more challenging books such as The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes or The Great Brain by John Fitzgerald.  By the end of the school year, the goal is to have students reading books such as Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three or The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger.

Writing Expectations:
South Kingstown uses Write Traits for its writing instruction. Write Traits is a research-based model that was developed by the Northwest Regional Laboratory in Portland, Oregon.         This model for assessing and teaching writing builds a common vocabulary and common expectations that can be used with kindergarten through high school students. Write Traits also provides a solid foundation for editing and revising.  Students across all grade levels use this framework to learn to organize their ideas, to carefully choose words to capture the reader’s attention, and to structure their sentences in a way that best conveys their point of view.  Even primary grade students develop skill in both narrative and expository writing.  They also learn to write in response to literature, and at upper grade levels, students learn to write persuasive essays and to write reports on research they have conducted.   

Some student expectations for social studies:
Our social studies program is theme based and addresses the following social studies strands: history, culture, geography, civics and economics.
In kindergarten, students are learning how to be good classroom citizens and how to follow the school‘s rituals and routines.

Grade 1 students study the theme of self and family.  This grade level focuses on several elements including how they compare people, objects, and events of today and long ago.  They also learn to identify symbols and traditions associated with being citizens of the United States.

Grade 2 students study school and neighborhood.  During this school year, students will learn ways we can all contribute to the common good of the community and identify examples of services (such as the post office, police and fire) in their own community.Grade 3 students study South Kingstown in relation to other communities.   Students at this grade level will learn about the roles people in the community have and will identify people of different ages, cultural backgrounds, traditions and careers and how they contribute to the community.

Grade 4 students study Rhode Island in the Nation and in the World.  This grade level focuses on several elements including the historical periods, places, people and events that led to the development of RI.  

Grade 5 students study early explorers.  During this school year, students will learn about our history from early exploration through to colonization.  

Student expectations for science:
Our elementary science program uses a kit-based approach to address the science standards.  This approach enables students to explore first hand how things work.  Gems-Net (Guiding Education in Math and Science Network) kits help students to construct their own knowledge of scientific principles and concepts and make these part of the way he/she sees the world and makes decisions. Each kit addresses inquiry skills, concepts and communication and specific grade level expectations in science.

Kindergarten students will use kits that focus on seasons and weather, balls and ramps, and animals 2 x 2.

Grade 1 students will use kits that focus on balance and motion, new plants and pebbles, sand and silt.

Grade 2 students will use kits that focus on solids and liquids, simple machines and insects.

Grade 3 students will use kits that focus on plant growth and development, sound and water.

Grade 4 students will use kits that focus on motion and design, electric circuits, and land and water.

Grade 5 students will use kits that focus on levers and pulleys, micro-worlds, and floating and sinking.

Expectations for Math:
All Rhode Island elementary students study four math strands each year: number and operations, geometry and measurement, functions and algebra and data, statistics and probability. While all four are addressed each year, at the elementary level more than 50% of a child’s work will be in number and operations.  

To provide the strongest instructional model for our elementary students, South Kingstown uses the program developed by the University of Chicago, Everyday Math.  This program is written based on a spiral curriculum, meaning a specific concept is taught five times in two years, giving children many opportunities to grasp the idea when developmentally ready to do so.  For example, multiplication concepts are introduced already in kindergarten with skip counting, again in first grade, in second grade through building arrays, and focused on in depth in third grade.  Children have many exposures to the concepts before mastery is expected.

For additional information on our math program, go to the district math page for parents:

It is important for parents and guardians to understand that “arithmetic” – the operations of adding, subtraction, multiplication, and division – is a branch of mathematics and is taught in a way that may be different from their own math experiences.  It is NOT “new math,” but rather, a repertoire of conceptually rich algorithms that are used around the world, and even for many centuries.  Students are taught 3 focus strategies, then, are asked to master one of these focus algorithms.  When the algorithmic concept has been mastered, then the “traditional” algorithm, to which parents may be more familiar, are taught.
Additionally, students in grades K – 6 are expected to master real-life problem solving tasks by representing their mathematics in a variety of ways, including but not limited to: diagrams, tables, area models, line plots.

Expectations for Unified Arts:

South Kingstown’s elementary students take classes in art and music and the curriculum in these two areas is based on the national standards.  Students at each grade level have an opportunity to learn creative expression and to share their learning through school and community presentations.
From kindergarten to grade 5, all students have library class.  This program is also based on the national standards and it prepares our students to be successful information seekers and users in our rapidly changing world.
Finally, all of our students also take part in a physical education program.  This supports our wellness policy and promotes healthy schools and healthy lives.

Student Learner Qualities

A reporting system should provide parents with a complete picture of their child as a learner. Parents expect to know where their child is academically, but it is also important for them to have feedback on their child’s social development and work habits.  This information allows parents to develop a clearer picture of their child as a learner, and it also helps parents to target improvement efforts where they are needed.  These learner qualities, or life skills, impact academic achievement and help to prepare students for a successful future. Learner qualities represent habits of mind as well as habits of life.  
Overview of the Progress Codes for Learner Qualities

4      Consistently
The student consistently and independently demonstrates the skills needed to be successful at this grade level
3      Usually
The student generally demonstrates the skills needed to be successful at this grade level
2      Sometimes
The student occasionally demonstrates the skills needed to be successful at this grade level
1      Seldom
The student seldom demonstrates the skills needed to be successful at this grade level