Letter from the Principal: Academic Progress and PowerSchool

Brett Goble

Dear Parents,

Now that we are well on our way into the 2018-19 school year, students are reflecting on questions like these: How am I doing academically so far? Am I making progress? What can I do to improve? These are all timely and helpful questions for students to ask at this point in the year as they are learning new material and developing routines and habits that will impact their progress.

Feedback on the academic work students do provide helpful answers to the questions students have about their progress. The feedback students receive on their work can be in the form of a self-assessment, peer feedback, or directly from the teacher.  Teachers make suggestions for revision, and assign progress indicators on specific learning assessments. Whatever form it is in, feedback ought to inform a student where they are in terms of proficiency on the learning target and what they need to do to improve.

PowerSchool is a helpful window into how a student is making progress in their classes. If you do not yet have a username and password to access PowerSchool, please contact your child’s Advisor or call the front desk. Once logged into Powerschool, you will see an indicator code next to the classes in your student’s schedule; it will either be an ‘MP’ or an ‘AR’.

MP = Making Progress: The student is doing all they need to be doing to make progress in the class. It may be true that on some assessments the student has not yet reached proficiency, but that’s okay, as the student is in the process of acquiring the concepts and skills in the course and is completing all assignments to reach proficiency or beyond by the end of the semester.

AR = Action Required: The student needs to make-up some missing work or finish incomplete work. An ‘AR’ indicates that the student needs to do more in class to focus on completing work, attend office hours before school (Tuesdays-Fridays from 8:30-9:00am), or attend free tutoring sessions after school.

In PowerSchool, I encourage you to look into the assignment details by clicking on the ‘AR’ or ‘MP’ code next to the course. This will take you to a list of assignments. On the assignment detail screen, you will see specific progress indicators for assessments. Other assignments that are not scored may be simply marked as ‘Collected’ or ‘Missing’.

For assessments, we are using a 4-level grading system to provide feedback on how a student is performing on the learning standards connected to each assessment. Here are the codes for the four performance levels and a description of what they mean:

  • H – Highly Proficient: In addition to demonstrating understanding of the learning standard for the assignment, the student demonstrates in-depth inferences and applications that go beyond what is expected.
  • PRO – Proficient: This is the goal for all students to reach. Earning a ‘PRO’ means that the student has met the standard as described in the grading rubric for the assignment.
  • N – Nearing Proficiency: Earning an ‘N’ means the student shows evidence of understanding some but not all aspects of the learning standard for the assignment.
  • E – Emerging Proficiency: Earning a ‘U’ means the student has not demonstrated the learning standard for the assignment.

Teachers at City High School encourage and teach students how to revise and improve their work in order to demonstrate a higher level of proficiency on the standards. The 4-level grading system is intended to foster a mindset among students that focuses on revision, growth and improvement.

All of these individual assignment grades are factored into the overall grade for the course, which will be reported as an A, B, C, or F at both the end of the quarter and at the end of the semester. Note: the Quarter 1 and Quarter 3 course grades are progress grades only and are not final; Semester 1 and Semester 2 grades are final, and will be recorded on the student’s transcript. The course grade is based on the combination of scores the student has earned throughout the semester. In general, this is how course grades are determined by teachers:

  • A – Indicates the student has earned ‘H’ scores on many of the assessments by the end of the grading term.
  • B – Indicates the student has earned mostly ‘PRO’ scores by the end of the grading term, with no ‘E’ scores on any assessments.
  • C – Indicates the student has earned mostly ‘N’ scores by the end of the grading term.
  • F – Indicates the student has earned mostly ‘E’ scores or has too many missing or incomplete assignments.

If you have questions, I encourage you to talk to your student about their learning, contact teachers to understand their progress more in depth, and/or connect with your child’s Advisor for a ‘big picture’ discussion regarding academic progress.

Thank you for your active and caring support of your child’s learning at City High School. Stay involved by participating in some of the Family Night events on Thursdays. For a complete schedule, link to our online calendar found at http://cityhighschool.org/about/calendar/

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, feedback, or to share ideas.



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