Traditionally, our school district has operated on four quarters in the school year. However, now consideration is being given to switch to trimesters.
I've been thinking about this issue. With trimesters, we would only have to do report cards 3 times a year, instead of 4. We would have a conference around the first report card and a second conference around the second report card. Then, there would be one more report card at the end of the year.
Also, in our state, we give our State Standardized Tests in the fall. The first part of the school year is reviewing for the tests. We barely get started on the curriculum after the tests, and it is already time to do our first report card on the quarter system. At least with the trimester system, we would be 3 weeks deeper into the curriculum and have more information about how the students are performing with grade level instruction.
On the otherhand, a teacher friend of mine works in a district where they are already on trimesters. She said one drawback is that the first report card and conference falls after Thanksgiving, when the holiday frenzy is revving up.
Does anyone else have any insight.....pros or cons about trimesters vs. quarters? I'd love to hear your ideas!
Our parent conferences used to be the week the report cards came out. Seemed too late. I asked to do my conferences about mid-term and several teachers have followed, and now the school will do them mid-term. This gives the parents a better idea early-on of what's going on, plus (for me) it made me initiate formal contact with parents earlier.
Our school only has one conference. But, the upper elementary teachers continue to conference with the parents of students who continue to do poorly.
We are going to trimesters next year. We are doing three report cards and three conferences. But they are never together...So it will be conference mid 1st trimester, then report card. Conference mid 2nd trimester, then report card. Same with the last trimester. We will only see each child's parents twice for conferences. We will see all the parents the first time and then divide our class (how we see fit) and then see the rest at the last conference.
It is a mess in our district as the last two years we have NOT had a common schedule with the highschool or middle school. Elementary, MS and HS all have DIFFERENT schedules...you can imagine that parents with kids at different levels are REALLY TICKED! So we are working on a common schedule...at least we are having input...so that works for me!
For first grade, I think I will like it more. It gives the kids more time to show some growth. Our second marking period seemed so short (it had Christmas and the whole month of Dec. with firsties is pretty much a total loss) and their reports looked just about the same as the first time around. Maybe with Trimesters it will give them some time to grow and the report card would reflect that.
I never gave trimesters much thought, but now that you brought it up, I think it would be a great idea.
I would, though, prefer to give the report card out at a parent conference instead of stretching the two out. At my brother's school the teachers have a parent conference one week, and then about two weeks later send home report cards. This seems like far too much work. Also, I like to actually discuss the report card with the parents, and I would really need to have it in front of me. I'm not great at speaking "off the cuff," so I like writing narratives so that I can express myself more clearly and accurately.
It's report card season for me. I really should be working on them right now, in fact! .
We switched to trimesters last year and I was skeptical at first but now I love it. It makes a lot more sense considering the first quarter is basically review. It is much better to do report cards three times a year vs. 4.
AGT-the primary reason why our district is considering trimesters is because our state has so many demands on the number of credits that students must earn in order to graduate from high school. The district isn't thinking about whether or not it would be more or less work on teachers. Instead, consideration is being given for our students.
Furthermore, in my situation, I send home WEEKLY progress reports for all my children, and that will not change either way. So, for me and my teaching style, I will not be doing any less work.
mjk59-Yes, I am an elementary teacher and I am very proud of it, too! I'm not certain how you assessed my comments to lead you to assume that I couldn't function without a teaching manual. The reality is...my instruction is based on our State's Grade Level Content Expectations. Much of the material that I teach is not in any of my teaching manuals and I have created several units to meet the needs of my children.
As if it really matters....I had 3 Calculus classes when I worked on my Bachelor's Degree, because I majored in Math. In all three classes, I earned an A. However, I do not teach Calculus to my third graders, so while my grades benefited me, they weren't classes that prepared me for third grade content.
Hope my responses to the two of you are enlightening for you both.
An insult to elementary teacher is showing ignorance.
Great response JKB. I too teach elementary school, have a math degree and do not have to depend on a TE.
Our school is also considering trimesters. Our grade level team had a discussion about it today. We were wondering what the benefits of using trimester reporting would be for students, parents and teachers.
Some consider it a time saver because it would be one less report card to prepare. All of our reporting is electronic and parents have online access throughout each grading period. The only thing I have read that might be a positive for students is that after giving a midterm progress report, student have more time to develop the skills with which they may be struggling.
I am not sure that switching to trimesters would change what I teach or when I teach it. I can see having the first conference just after sending out the first midterm report after 6 weeks, so that parents can partner with us in their child's education.
What other benefits do schools with trimesters see with reporting this way?
if you only see a benefit to teachers, then you must not be doing enough to make connections with your parents. My parents have access to their child's grades from day one. Giving children a longer amount of time to master something has never created a negative outcome in my experience.
Last edited by LMEducator; 03-04-2015 at 06:17 PM..