DENVILLE,  NJ-- The Denville Board of Education heard a special presentation from Dr. Sandra Cullis, Assistant Superintendent, at the May 19 meeting. The presentation was given on the new set of report cards that have been going out. As the new standard based report card was unvieled, those in attendance listened carefully.

Cullis spoke about what these changes mean for the students. These report cards will be a change for both the elementary schools, not the middle school and high school. Cullis said that the change was brought about because children don't understand an average and that because they don't understand what an average is, it is hard for them to understand a numerical grade in each class. But, what is a standards based report card anyway?

"A standards based report card is an assessment system designed to inform students, parents, and school staff of progress towards achieving specific learning standards. A standards based report card is also an expectation. It establishes high expectations for all students by setting clear benchmarks," Cullis said.

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Cullis offered commentary on how standards based grading is different from traditional grading, noting that a standards based system is not just one grade for one class, but the report card is broken out into different skills.

"You don't just get one grade for language arts. You have 10 grades because this report card breaks it into seperate items. There is a list of skills that our students have to demonstrate mastery on. Many of us are masters at one area of a subject, but not another. That information wouldn't be communicated with a regular report card," Cullis added. 

The report card is broken into levels. Cullis explained that their is no A, B, C numerical type of grading. The new grading system is broken donw by mastery level. The top letter is an M+, for exceeding the standards. The next level is an M, standing for meets the grade level standard. P stands for progressing, followed by LP which stands for limited progression. The last letter is an X, meaning that the standard is not being evaluated at the present time.

Cullis also updated the Board of Education on some exciting new additions to next year's curriculum. Amongst the plans are the second year of the summer literacy institute, a revised health curriculum for grades K-8, a revised science curriculum for grades 3-8, and a revised physical education curriculum for grades K-8.

The Board of Education approved all of their items on the agenda quickly after Cullis gave her presentation. The next Board of Education meeting is set for June 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Valleyview Middle School.