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AMS Report Card FAQs and Resources

June 27, 2019


Dear Families, 

You should have received your child’s final report card in the mail earlier this week.  We have received some feedback and feel it is important to provide you with information and resources based on the questions I have been receiving.  Your feedback is important as we work to refine our system and better communicate student learning.  Already families, students, and teachers are receiving more information about student progress than ever before, and we are committed to ensuring you have the information you need to monitor the progress of your child.   

It is my hope that the information enclosed and linked in this message helps to answer your questions and continues to provide more clarity as well as resources to support your student over the summer.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions regarding our overall grading and reporting system or your child’s specific learning.  My door is always open, and I stand firmly behind the belief that we are better together!   



Bethany Bernasconi 


Frequently Asked Questions & Resources 

Is there a parent guide to understanding the different parts of the report card? 

Yes, you can access an annotated final report card here and on the AMS website in the Grading and Reporting section. 


Why does this final report look different than ones received prior to May this year? 

We know that we have been sending an abundance of information home in our early reports and that it may have seemed overwhelming.  Until we open our parent grading portal next year, we wanted to send more detailed reports so you could be fully informed of your student’s progress throughout the year.   The final report card is a higher-level report that combines related standards into their respective strands called competencies (see diagram below).  The report you received shows your student’s current level of mastery in each of the course competencies (ex. Reading: Literature or Writing).   


How are the competency scores on the final report card calculated? 

All of the standards within a competency (ex. Reading: Literature or Writing) are averaged together to produce an overall score for that competency. 


Why isn’t there an overall course score for each subject area? 

Reporting out at the competency level provides greater information on a student’s strengths and weaknesses within a content area, giving more meaning behind a student’s grade.  We do not produce course scores at the middle school because it would require us to combine very different and distinct measures into one score.  Combining these measures would provide very little meaning into how your child is progressing and overall scores can distort the meaning of a student’s grade.      


How can I better understand what each of the final categories (competencies) are on the report card?  

Descriptions of the SAU39 English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Core Arts and Work-Study Practice competencies are available in the Grading and Reporting section of the AMS website, linked here. 


What is a WSP (Work Study Practice) and how can I better understand their scoring? 

Mastery-based report cards separate academic performance from work habits to provide parents with a more accurate and complete picture of student learning and progress.   Student work habits or Work Study Practices are critical to student success in school and beyond.  These habits of work are explicitly taught to students and students are assessed through rubrics.  Work Study Practice scores are reported out separately on progress reports and report cards providing parents with information on both student academic progress and progress on these essential skills for learning.   You can find the rubrics on the AMS website in the Grading and Reporting tab as well as linked here


What does a score of 3 or higher mean on the final report card? 

Level 3 indicates that a student has demonstrated mastery of the year-end grade level standards.  A level 3.5 or higher indicates that a student is demonstrating mastery beyond the year end grade level standard.   


Did my student only have opportunities to score a 2 on the final report card?  

By the end of the school year, all students have had the opportunity to demonstrate mastery at a level 3 for all standards and at a level 4 for many standards.  We are continuing work with teachers this summer to provide greater opportunities for students to demonstrate their mastery at a level 4.   


What does a score of 2.5 or lower mean on the final report card? 

A final competency score less than a 3 indicates that there are some standards within that competency that your student may require a little more time to truly master.  Most of the standards students have been working on continue into the next grade, just at the next level.  Next year’s teachers will have access to students’ current level of mastery and work to help them continue to build their understanding through learning activities that support students where they are beginning and grow through the grade level expectations and beyond.   

In future years, we will work to offer a Summer Institute to provide both extra support when a student is not demonstrating mastery of specific competencies, as well as enrichment opportunities for those who wish to extend their learning. In addition, we have compiled a list of content specific resources you may be interested in having your student use over the summer to support their continued growth. 


English Language Arts Resources: 

  • Newsela– Provides engaging news articles for students reading at grade levels 2-12.  Browse content and search by grade level, reading standard, or topic.  Sign up for a free account to access the articles.   
  • ReadWriteThink– This free resource includes reading, writing and critical thinking activities accessible without a login.  Explore the parent and after school resources by grade level to access reading and writing activities, games, tools, and podcasts. 
  • Quill This free interactive tool helps students practice writing and grammar.  Parents can create a free teacher account and enroll their child in their “class”.  It includes grammar and writing activities, lessons and a diagnostic assessment.   

Mathematics Resources: 

  • Dreambox Learning– Students have been using this interactive math tool throughout the school year and they can continue access during the summer.  Visit our website for login instructions and information on how to set up a parent dashboard.   
  • Khan Academy– Provides math lessons by grade level and topic/competency.  Be sure to have your child create a free account to track progress.   

Science Resources: 

  • Gizmos- Gizmos are interactive science simulations for grades 3 – 12.  Sign up for a free trial to access to nearly 40 gizmos aligned to state standards. 
  • Science Friday– This free website allows you to search by type of resource and topic or by grade band.  Grade level resources include activities while searching by topic provides you with access to articles, audio, and video resources.     

Social Studies Resources:   

  • National Geographic: The education portion of their site allows you to explore resources (including articles, videos and activities) by grade level and subject area.   
  • PBS Learning: This site provides social studies resources by competency and includes videos, interactive lessons, interactivities, audio files, images, and primary source documents.  This content can be accessed without a login and users can sort by grade level and type of resource.  



  • Competency- A competency is a group of related standards that are used to report out student’s progress. Each course is composed of several competencies in order to provide more detailed information about student learning.
  • Standard- Learning standards are concise, written descriptions of what students are expected to know and be able to do at a specific stage of their education. Learning standards describe educational objectives—i.e., what students should have learned by the end of a course, grade level, or grade span— but they do not describe or mandate any particular teachingpractice, curriculum, or assessment method. 
  • Score - The level at which a student has demonstrated their learning in relation to a specific standard. SAU39 uses a 4-point scale and all student work is assessed using SAU-wide rubrics.
  • Mastery - Mastery is the successful demonstration of a specific standard at the expected level.  In SAU39, mastery is shown when a student scoresa 3.  


The below references can provide you with additional definitions of educational terms: 

Clarifying Competency-Based Education Terms 

The Glossary of Education Reform