Understanding Your Child's Report Card
A report card is one of many ways in which teachers communicate with parents and students about student learning and achievement.
In Northern Lights Public Schools, students and their parents will receive three report cards (summative reports) each year. Report cards are usually distributed in November, March and June.
In Kindergarten, teachers meet with parents in November and March for conversations about students’ strengths and areas for growth. Kindergarten parents do not receive a formal report card until June.
For students in Kindergarten to Grade 8, Northern Lights Public Schools primarily uses Outcomes-Based report cards. These look a little different than what some parents may remember from their own report cards, as it does not include traditional letter grades (A, B, C, D, F) or percentages.
What is an Outcomes-Based Report Card?
In Alberta, curriculum is based on outcomes. An outcome clearly describes what your child is expected to know, understand and be able to do in each subject. An Outcomes-Based report card focuses on descriptions of how well your child has acquired the key learning outcomes in each subject. It identifies a student’s strengths, areas requiring growth, and the next steps for continued learning and success. The goals of an Outcomes-Based report card are to:
- provide parents with a realistic description of their child’s learning;
- confirm the student’s achievement relative to provincial expectations, without comparison to others;
- provide parents with a summary of their child’s behaviour and attitude at school and how much effort their child has invested in learning; and,
- suggest strategies for parents and students with respect to the next steps in the learning process.
Student learning is reported using Achievement Indicators. These indicators describe how well the student has met the key learning outcomes. For students In Kindergarten, three Achievement Indicators are used:
The skill or learning outcome is demonstrated consistently by the student and evidence of learning indicates a solid level of understanding.
The skill or learning outcome is developing and evidence of learning indicates a basic level of understanding.
Not Yet (N)
The skill or learning outcome has not yet been demonstrated, the student requires direct support, or evidence of learning is minimal.
Four achievement indicators are used for students in grades 1 to 8:
The student demonstrates an in-depth and broad understanding of the outcomes; uses and applies acquired skills and strategies in a wide variety of learning situations.
The student demonstrates a well-developed and consistent understanding of the outcomes; uses and applies acquired skills and strategies in most learning situations.
The student demonstrates a general and basic understanding of the outcomes; uses and applies acquired skills and strategies in some learning situations.
The student demonstrates a limited understanding of the outcomes; rarely uses and applies acquired skills and strategies in learning situations.
In addition to Outcomes-Based reporting, student report cards also include information on Learner Attributes. Learner Attributes are characteristics that are important factors in a student‘s success, such as completing assignments on time, working well with others, and applying the appropriate effort in class. These are reported separately from student achievement. In all grades, the following indicators are used:
The student consistently shows meaningful engagement in learning and activities, is highly focused on tasks and shows significant responsibility and respect.
The student usually engages in learning activities, is regularly focused on tasks and shows satisfactory responsibility and respect.
The student requires growth in demonstrating meaningful engagement in learning activities, consistent focus on tasks and satisfactory responsibility and respect.
What About Percentages?
While our focus is on Outcomes-Based reporting, students in grades 5 to 8 also receive a percentage grade in the four core subjects of Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. This is determined using a variety of student assessments and teachers’ professional judgment. In high school (grades 9 to 12). students receive a percentage grade in all subjects. This is determined using a variety of student assessments and teachers’ professional judgment.
In addition to report cards, Northern Lights Public Schools uses many other tools to communicate with parents and students about student learning on an ongoing basis. This may include, but is not limited to:
- phone calls to parents;
- school open houses;
- student portfolios;
- exhibits of student work;
- notes to parents;
- online repositories (ie. PowerSchool Parent Portal);
- parent-teacher conferences;
- student-led conferences;
- student self-assessments; and
- parent feedback forms.
Northern Lights supports ongoing two-way communication. Parents are encouraged to contact their child‘s teacher whenever they need information or have a concern that needs to be addressed. To ensure effective communication between parents and their child’s school, it is important for parents to provide up-to-date, accurate contact information to their child’s school. Contact information can be updated at any time during the school year by contacting the administrative assistant at your child’s school.