Ankeny's "True North"

Posted by Dr. Anne Lundquist on 10/17/2018

The secondary buildings in Ankeny have been working to improve communication to students and parents regarding students’ academic strengths and areas of improvement, leading us to the benefits of Standards-Referenced Grading. Our journey to learn more about the benefits of Standards-Referenced Grading Practices caused us to examine many of our current practices.


One result from that assessment was the separation of academic standards from work habits/behavior standards. By separating and reporting them separately, it has provided the opportunity for teachers to focus on the content and skills where a student needs additional extensions or support, and on the work habits or behavior standards they might need additional support with in order to be successful. Both are critical to student success, and so focusing on both will help our students be successful in college and/or a career. Having said that, it is not enough to just change the information students and parents receive; rather it is our duty to strengthen our curriculum, instruction and assessment practices as well. That led us to create a statement called our “True North”.


“True North”


Ankeny Community Schools believes Standards-Referenced Grading practices is the shared commitment and partnership between students, parents, and teachers to provide high quality, consistent curriculum, instruction, assessment, and communication practices. When this commitment is kept, it will result in a clear and accurate picture of a student’s learning over time.


Let’s think about what that means. What is meant by a “True North?” The “True North” is agreed upon principles and practices regarding what is best for students in order to move their learning forward. Those principles and practices are a commitment from the school district to students and parents. What are the principles and practices we are committed to in order to move student learning forward?


Our “True North” includes principles and practices that lead to an accurate picture of student learning. In addition, they include our guiding philosophy and purpose for adopting a standards-referenced mindset. The purpose of grading is to


the purpose of grading


Ankeny administration and teachers are committed to providing a high quality education to all students. The pledge to parents outlined in the “True North” statement cements the belief we have that all students can learn at high levels when provided the necessary feedback and supports to demonstrate their learning. If you want to learn more about the practices discussed above, do not hesitate to reach out to Dr. Mary Cooksley, Director of Secondary Curriculum and Services.