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Turlock Unified modifies report cards to align with Common Core
TUSD hopes to adopt new ELA/ELD materials for 2016-17 school year

The report cards for a number of Turlock Unified School District students might cause some double takes during parent teacher conferences in November, but not because of bad grades.

Rather, this second glance will be attributed to the report card template itself, which was revamped for students in transitional kindergarten through sixth grade in order to more accurately reflect Common Core State Standards.

“This was a project that took place over the course of 14 months and it involved people from multiple departments, site administrators, teachers and everybody in Educational Services,” said Professional Development and English Learner Programs Director Kea Willett during Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

To facilitate the implementation of the altered report card, the District conducted site principal and assistant principal training, provided training materials that principals and assistant principals could take back to their school sites, produced a teacher-parent handout to simplify some of the key messages of the report card, and developed a FAQ document.

The English language arts portion of the report card will be divided into four key sections that represent major CCSS strands: reading, writing, language and speaking and listening. Each section will receive an overall achievement grade and a mark for effort.

The achievement grades align with the language of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. Grades will be defined as standards exceeded, standards met, standards nearly met, or standards not met. Effort marks will be shown as outstanding, satisfactory, needs improvement or unsatisfactory.

Under each section header of ELA, there will be identified standard domains, which represent a defined category of Common Core anchor standards. As an example, the language section will include conventions of Standard English, as well as vocabulary acquisition and use. These will also receive a progress mark for achievement.

The math portion of the new report card will be virtually unchanged from last year’s document. There are five key sections: operations and algebraic thinking, number and operations in base ten, fractions, measurement and data, and geometry. Students will receive an overall achievement grade and a mark for effort.

“We were very pleased to see as we worked through the math standards last year and the more we learned about them, we realized that we were on the right track when we created this back in August 2014,” said Willett.

Similar to ELA, the math portion will also have identified standard domains under each section header. These will not receive a progress mark for achievement.

History and social science will remain unchanged and will receive one overall achievement grade and one effort grade. Line items of individual standards remain unchanged and will receive a progress mark.

Science will receive an overall achievement grade and one effort grade. Key domains of the Next Generation Science Standards have been added and grade level specific California Science Standards have been removed.

“Approaching this content area this way will allow us some flexibility as we transition into NGSS over the course of the next two years,” said Willett.

There will also be an unprecedented section on the report card for English Language Development, which will give only identified EL students a Language Proficiency progress mark. Willett said that this content area will replace a separate document that TUSD had for English learner students called the EL Profile Document.  

TUSD also provided a CC update on Tuesday, which said that teachers and students can possibly expect to see new ELA/ELD materials next year.

“The state is ready on November 4th and 5th to adopt new materials that will allow Turlock to move forward with the adoption process,” said Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Heidi Lawler.

Lawler said that following the State Board of Education’s adoption next month, TUSD will put together and train an ELA/ELD review team which will screen all materials. In January, the District will review selected programs by grade level and report grade level findings.

The District anticipates that it will reconvene the review team in March or April in order to reach a consensus and make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Lawler said that she hopes to purchase the new materials in time for the 2016-2017 school year.

Although TUSD is moving forward with new material for ELA/ELD, it will continue to use transitional adopted math programs.

“As you remember, we went through that team process last year and unfortunately did not find a full publisher program, so as a result we are using Engage NY, Eureka Math and Math Visions Project,” said Lawler.

Lawler said that while the District continues to monitor for adoption materials, these transitional adopted math programs have been identified nationwide as being the most effective program when it comes to addressing the new standards.

“We’re also hearing from more and more districts that this approach that Turlock is using regarding materials such as Engage NY and Math Visions Project is becoming more and more the norm,” said Lawler.