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Elementary Report Card

A Parent’s Guide: Standards-Based Report Cards


Academic content standards indicate what students should know and be able to do at each grade level by the end of the school year.

In 2010, Pennsylvania joined the majority of states to adopt a shared set of national learning expectations in mathematics and language arts named the PA Core State Standards. For other subjects such as science, social science, health, the arts and PE, state standards are used to  determine students’ proficiency. 

All the standards can be found online at:

The purpose of this report card is to  communicate with parents and students about the achievement of grade level expectations. These results reflect how well students have met established learning goals, highlight successes, and guide improvements. By monitoring the concrete skills and knowledge listed on the report card, we will ensure that all students are being exposed to the same curriculum and learning what they should in each grade.

This reporting system should help us close the gap in achievement among different groups of students. Parents also will be more aware of what their children should know and be able to do by the end of each grade level.

Students receive one grade for each subject area on many traditional report cards. On a standards-based report card, the subject areas are divided into a list of skills and knowledge that students are responsible for learning. Students receive a separate mark for each standard, not for each subject.

The achievement marks indicate a child’s progress toward meeting specific grade level standards. The student’s proficiency is reported separately from his or her effort. 

With the standards-based reporting system, students are evaluated according to consistent grade-level standards. The letter grades used in traditional report cards are a reflection of individual teachers’ expectations for student effort and achievement.

The report card will use a numbering system to indicate a child’s progress toward meeting the end-of- year PA Core Standards. The table to the right offers a detailed explanation of what each number means.

Students also may receive N/A to indicate that the curriculum related to a particular standard has not yet been taught or assessed during the current quarter.

Students receiving special education support may receive an asterisk (*), indicating the use of a replacement curriculum based on individual needs.'

4 Advanced

Excels within grade level standards

  • A student earning a 4 independently uses and applies knowledge in ways that demonstrate higher level thinking skills.
  • Typically, few students perform at this level.
3 Proficient

Meets grade level standards

  • A student earning a 3 demonstrates understanding of grade level skills and concepts and requires minimal support.
  • This indicates strong, excellent work at grade level.
  • This is the goal for the grade level and should be celebrated.
2 Basic

Approaching grade level standards

  • A student earning a 2 has not yet met the standards but is progressing toward achieving skills and learning end-of-year grade level concepts. Some support from teachers, parents and/or peers is needed.
  • A 2 indicates ongoing growth.
1 Below Basic

Not yet making sufficient progress toward grade level standards

  • A student earning a 1 is currently not meeting the grade level standard. The student demonstrates an inconsistent understanding and application of knowledge.
  • Intervention is needed from teachers and parents.
Academic marks on a standards -based report card do not reflect a child’s effort, attitude or work habits. These important characteristics are reported separately on the report card.

The characteristics of a successful learner section contains statements that include the following:

  • Respectful Citizen (Respect for others, follows rules, exercises self-control)
  • Responsible Learner (Organizes time, tasks and materials, completes work on time, follows directions, listens attentively, actively participates in learning, works to achieve group goals)
  • Student Effort (in all core academic subject areas)

These important characteristics will be reported as follows:

  • + means your child meets the criteria consistently
  • means your child meets the criteria sometimes
  • - means your child has room for improvement

Standards-based report cards provide detailed information about how your child is doing in each subject. You will see whether a student needs extra assistance in certain areas or needs to be challenged even more. By using these clearly defined standards, teachers and parents can work together to ensure student success.

During parent-teacher conferences, ask to see samples of your child’s work. Talk to his or her teacher about whether the work samples are satisfactory, or how your child could have done a better job on the assignments. Ask how you can help your child improve or excel in various subjects and what resources are available to use outside the classroom to encourage his or her progress.

Here are some ways you can help your child:

  • Read a combination of fiction and non-fiction aloud with your child. Select more difficult passages over time.
  • Read more informational texts including newspapers, magazines, technical manuals, science and social studies articles and books.
  • Talk with your child and have him or her explain things.
  • Encourage writing at home.
  • Help your child master basic math facts.
  • Discuss and “do” real life math with your child.
  • Look for problems based in real life.
  • Encourage a good work ethic.
  • Discuss with your child his or her performance in school and what is being taught.


First page of the PDF file: report-card-example

The Office of Teaching and Learning is happy to take your calls if you have questions or concerns:  610-351-5540.