As more and more schools move to standards-based reporting, we are seeing more stories about confusion on the part of parents. From a recent NYT article about how Report Cards Give up A's and B's for 4's and 3's:
Therein lies the primary issue. Everyone wants to make the scales equivalent. A parent thinks 2 out of 4 represents only 50% of the possible points...and that a four = an A. What the parent needs to understand that the scale really has a student goal of "3" (meeting standard). A student at Level Two is very nearly there. And 4's? They're not the goal. What's more, they may not be available for every standard. (For example, simple addition skills. Either you can add 1 + 1 or you can't. There's no above and beyond.) So, it sounds like the school has some parent education and communication issues to deal with. I do think that this will be a slow transition, but as these kinds of report cards are more and more common at elementary grade levels, parents will become more savvy.
Educators praise [standards-based report cards] for setting clear expectations, but many parents who chose to live in Pelham because of its well-regarded schools find them confusing or worse. Among their complaints are that since the new grades are based on year-end expectations, 4s are generally not available until the final marking period (school officials are planning to tweak this aspect next year).“We’re running around the school saying ‘2 is cool,’ ” said Jennifer Lapey, a parent who grew up in Pelham, “but in my world, 2 out of 4 is not so cool.”