Besides traditional letter grades, elementary-school report cards in an Illinois district will rate students' mastery of standards-based math skills for the first time this school year. Students will be rated on their ability to complete math skills independently or with support. Ratings also include an "N" to indicate the skill is not yet evident. "In standards-based grades, the grade is determined by achievement only; it's not about how hard they tried," said Faith Dahlquist, assistant superintendent of educational services. "Effort and persistence is important but in (a standards-based system) it's whether you can add the fractions and whether you can apply those skills," she said.