Score Reports: What They Mean for Parents

In the past couple of months, school districts have received and forwarded individual student score reports from last spring’s testing. One of the concerns many teachers, administrators, and parents have expressed is how useful these reports may be, given how long ago students took the tests. The delay is certainly frustrating, but the reports still contain useful information. As a parent of an elementary-aged student, the reports serve three important purposes for me:

 

  • Verification & Confirmation: My son’s score reports from last spring’s assessments verify what I was seeing in his reading and math skills. The reports are comparable to what his report cards showed as well as what I was seeing in the work he brought home from school. I appreciated the information telling me how he is performing against the expectations of the standards.
  • A Broader Comparison: The score reports also give me a snapshot of how he performed in comparison to the average at his school, his district, our state, and across the consortium. While I’m more interested in knowing my son’s performance against the expectations of the standards, it is nice to have a sense of how his work compares against these other groups. It’s the kind of information I don’t see in a report card.
  • Another point of information: It’s just one score. By itself, it is a single piece of information. If it matches what I expect and seems to fit with his grades, his teachers’ comments, and any other information the school has given me, that’s great. If it doesn’t match other information I have, then I can ask my son’s teachers their thoughts. Questions I might ask include: Does the score report surprise you? Why or why not? Are you seeing growth and improvement in the areas that seem to be weak? How can I support my child’s learning and growth in these areas?

In the future, score reports will be available much more quickly than last year’s. Certainly that will help. For now, though, if you’re looking at score reports and wondering if they’re really useful any longer, keeping in mind that even several months later, they can still provide useful information to parents, teachers, and students.