What does a grade represent in PBL?
Grades are meant to show what a student knows and is able to do with respect to specific subject and grade level standards. They communicate progress toward proficiency and encourage the student and the teacher to act on feedback. Proficiency-Based Learning is designed to meet and articulate these objectives more clearly and thoroughly than a typical letter grade. With PBL, scores are consistently reported using a scale of 1-4, which indicates the level of proficiency on the specific standard.
Will students receive a letter grade in the course and how will the grades be determined?
Secondary students in grades 9-12 will earn a traditional letter grade in each course, and the high school transcript will look the same as it has in the past. The course letter grade will be determined according to the district Proficiency-Based Learning grading scale. Students in grades K-8 receive a composite proficiency score of 1-4 that has been calculated by averaging all the proficiency scores for each standard in each subject during the nine-week reporting period.
Proficiency scores for each standard are determined by RECENCY, a calculation method that honors the most recent evidence of student learning. Student grades for 9-12 students will be calculated by taking the sum of the content standard final scores divided by the total number of standards assessed throughout the grading period.
Grade Point Average (GPA) on a grades 9-12 report card is calculated the same as it has always been.
How are levels of proficiency determined?
In Granite, there are four levels of proficiency. The levels are based on the core standards, where level 3 is the expectation for the standard. The district Curriculum & Instruction Department specialists, with input from teachers, create proficiency scales for standards on each grade level and subject. Teachers reference the proficiency scales when creating assessments and rubrics for those assessments.
- Level 4: Student exceeds expectation of the standard by utilizing in-depth inferences and applications of the standard(s).
- Level 3: Student meets expectation of the standard by demonstrating knowledge, understanding, and skills as described in the standard(s).
- Level 2: Student demonstrates knowledge of the simpler details and processes of the standard(s).
- Level 1: With help, student exhibits a partial knowledge of some of the simpler details and processes of the standard(s).
What is RECENCY?
Beginning the 2020-2021 school year, RECENCY is the calculation method used to determine proficiency scores and overall grades. This calculation method was adopted after PBL teachers were surveyed in March, 2020, and concerns from these teachers and other stakeholders informed a change from using decaying average as the PBL calculation method.
RECENCY uses the most recent evidence of student learning to determine the proficiency score on a standard and calculate into the overall grade. A proficiency score for a standard will be generated when the first assessment is entered into the gradebook and will immediately begin calculating into the overall grade. If a teacher assesses a standard more than once, previous assessments and scores will continue to show up in the gradebook, but the most recent score will calculate. This research-based method favors students by not penalizing them for early learning attempts and focuses instead on learning as a process that often includes “slow starts.” A student may choose to retake an assessment (after completing additional practice or previously missed assessments) to demonstrate a higher level of proficiency.
What is the role of traditional “homework” in Proficiency-Based Learning?
Traditional “homework” is replaced with independent, meaningful learning activities which requires time and effort outside the classroom and have an articulated purpose tied to specific standards. These learning activities are not included in the calculation of the grade. The expectation of teachers is that learning activities serve as a vehicle for feedback, extra practice and/or relearning.
What exactly does Proficiency-Based Learning entail? Do assignments/assessments carry the same weight as they do currently, or is it purely based on assessments?
Proficiency-Based Learning entails reporting to students and parents on student learning at given moments in time. Learning is measured against the Utah Core Standards, what the state prescribes that students should know and be able to do in each course and at each grade level. In PBL, assignments are not “weighted” against assessments; that is a concept rooted in a traditional grading system. Some assignments might be scored as assessments; assessments are not exclusively tests but can be projects, products, group work, oral presentations, or work assigned to be completed at home. Assessments are demonstrations of student learning, and only assessments are scored in our PBL system.
What significance does the 1-4 scale have?
An assessment is scored 1-4 in relationship to the standard or standards it was designed to assess. A score of 1 indicates the student is not proficient in the standard(s), not able to complete the assessment without the teacher’s help. A score of 2 indicates that, on the assessment, the student is approaching proficient in the standard(s) assessed. 3 indicates the student is proficient, and a score of 4 means the student has gone beyond proficiency and demonstrated learning of the standard(s) in a more sophisticated, complex, applied way.
Will students still receive letter grades in classes? Is it merely that all assignments, quizzes, tests, etc. will be given a score out of 4, or does the student receive an overall score out of 4 for the whole class, or both?
Students will receive letter grades only in high school courses and only on the report card at the end of the term. Students and parents should focus only on the scores for assessments all term long, noting in what standards the student is proficient or highly proficient and on which standards the student should be focusing and practicing because he/she is not proficient or is only approaching proficiency. The student always has the power to better assessment scores if he/she feels they’ve achieved greater proficiency on concepts in the standard. It is important to know that under our PBL system, any student with enough time and support can score proficient or above on assessments which would then translate to an A grade (in high school courses) if he/she so desires.
What advantages does Proficiency-Based Learning have over the current grading system?
PBL denotes what students actually know and can do in relationship to specific academic standards. A PBL score or grade is not artificially impacted by penalties for “late” or “missing” work and does not reflect “extra credit” which may have nothing at all to do with the content being taught in the class (participating in a food drive or donating blood, for example.)
What are Assessments?
What qualifies as an assessment?
Assessment is a broad term that includes any method a teacher uses to gather evidence about a student’s level of proficiency regarding a standard. Teachers have the flexibility to determine the number of assessments they administer for each standard. This decision should be based on formative “proficiency checks” and evidence they continually gather from observations, learning activities, discussions and other evidence of student learning. As teachers determine how and how often to assess, they select the modality that best fits the standard. Assessments should be separated from learning activities that provide students an ungraded opportunity to practice, with feedback, before being assessed.
I’m concerned about assessment overload for our students. Will my student be taking a test every day?
The term assessment is broader than a paper/pencil test or quiz. The purpose of having multiple modalities for assessment is to allow teachers to use different tools or activities to gather evidence of proficiency. Students should be given opportunities to show what they know and can do through more than just traditional “tests.” Assessments are customized to measure the expectation of specific standards. This may include observations of student skills in a PE or drama class, listening to musical performance, or student projects. All assessments are scored 1-4 based on a student’s demonstrated level of proficiency.
What about the many ELA standards that really take a full year of practice for mastery (ex: informational essay)? How will this present itself on the report card?
Report cards will show a proficiency level for each subject at a given moment in time. For standards that are taught in multiple grading periods, scores from assessments continue. For example, if a standard is assessed three times during grading period one, the report card grade would include those scores. If the standard is assessed again (a 4th time) in grading period two, the scores from grading period one pull forward and will be part of quarter two. Students growth in the standard will continue all year long.
Are there any guidelines on assessments? (Do they need to be 3 different types or all the same format with small changes? Do they need to get progressively more challenging or does each assessment have all levels on it?)
Classroom teachers and PLCs have complete discretion on how to assess student learning. The type and number of assessments administered per standard depend what the teacher determines will provide the evidence needed to determine a student’s proficiency. The most recent evidence of student learning (assessment) generates the proficiency score on a standard and calculates into the overall grade. This favors students by not penalizing early learning attempts; instead, it focuses on learning as a process that often includes “slow starts.” Teachers should develop and share rubrics that clearly outline what a student must know and/or do on an assessment to achieve a level 1-4. It is also expected that assessments include tasks or items at levels 2, 3, and 4.
Can state assessments be used in PBL?
State and Federally Mandated Assessments and Proficiency Based Learning
Proficiency Based Grading indicates the level of proficiency a student has attained measured against core curriculum standards. No longer does the percent of items correct indicate a student’s proficiency but rather the complexity of the task in which the student demonstrates mastery.
In the Proficiency Based Grading environment, a computer-based assessment must meet three conditions to be entered into the Gradebook.
- The assessment must have individual items aligned to specific standards.
- There must be three items associated with a given standard.
- The items must have a proficiency level, ie., below proficient, approaching proficient, proficient, or highly proficient.
Certain other assessments such as presentations or demonstrations by students must be aligned to standards but are judged by the teacher.
HB118, “Incentives for Statewide Assessment Performance,” creates an exception to the prohibition against using results from assessments mandated by the Federal Government, State Government or delivered by a State provided system in student grading (see UCA 53E-4-303). However, while State and Federal assessments are aligned to core standards in general, the results are not associated by specific core standards nor are proficiency levels assigned. For that reason, Federal and State mandated assessments cannot be “pushed to gradebook” as district, common and classroom formative assessments administered on SchoolCity can be.
What is an A?
How are students and parents going to respond to the idea that you can’t get an “A” without doing extra work?
Students in grades 9-12 can still earn an “A” in PBL by demonstrating in-depth understanding of the grade level standards. The expectation is that students are not asked to do extra work, instead they should be able to show real world applications, make inferences, and make connections that are deeper or more complex. Teachers should design “categorical” assessment questions that assess each level of proficiency, and all assessments should be accompanied by a rubric that includes information on how a student can show their understanding at a level 4.
Students or teachers can initiate conversations about how a student might move from proficient to above proficient.
Does the 1-4 scale convert neatly into letter grades? For example, does a 3 out of 4 convert to a C (75%), and a 2 out of 4 convert to an F (50%)? Or does it follow a GPA scale, with 4 being an A, 3 being a B, 2 being a C, etc?
The scores on assessments are not to be confused with the traditional grading scale you describe in this question. A student does not get a “3 out of 4” or “2 out of 4” nor is the GPA scale relevant at this point. Over a 9-week reporting period a student has opportunity to participate in multiple assessments in multiple modalities (not just written “tests”) that are tied to the standards for the class. Only those assessment scores are entered in the PBL Gradebook. Students can retake assessments if and when they feel they have become more proficient in the standard and/or can propose alternative assessments by which they can better demonstrate that they’ve learned what they are supposed to learn – even after the teacher has moved on to teaching other standards in class. Ultimately those assessment scores, which may involve decimal points – a student is nearly proficient, 2.7, for example, or just moving from not proficient, 1.9, for example – are averaged together to generate one score for each standard (1, 2, 3, or 4). At the end of the reporting period, those single standards scores are aggregated into one score at the elementary level or, in your case, a letter grade in high school: A, B, C, D, F. You can see on the report card grading scale in Your Guide to Proficiency Based Learning how a majority of 3’s and 4’s on assessments would result in an A letter grade for a student.
Participation and Practice/Homework Points
How are students motivated to complete “homework” if it doesn’t count toward the grade?
Parents and teachers can help motivate students by discussing the purposes of independent practice/learning activities. Final grades should communicate learning that has occurred after opportunities are provided to practice and improve. The goal is for students to demonstrate high levels of understanding on specific standards by the end of the grading period. Some students master standards quickly and require very little practice, while other students require multiple opportunities to master standards with differing levels of teacher support. Parents can also help students understand that the role of practice in learning course standards is similar to practice in sports or music: the reward is the final game and/or performance. Practice is just that – practice to improve. It is important for parents and teachers to have these conversations with students as they begin to rethink the purpose of traditional “homework” and move toward the practice of ungraded learning activities/practice.How does PBL address participation points in regards to class discussions, performances, etc.?
How does PBL address participation points in regards to class discussions, performances, etc.?
Proficiency-Based Learning supports assessments of standards through multiple modalities, including discussion and performance. For example, discussions and/or performances that are focused on specific standards can provide evidence of student proficiency. Some courses have participation standards or oral communication standards that must be assessed through these modalities.Can I still assign homework? What is the role of homework in PBL?
Can I still assign homework? What is the role of homework in PBL?
Traditional “homework” does not fit the philosophy and principles of Proficiency-Based Learning. Teachers can still choose to assign learning activities that students do outside of class for extra practice. All learning activities should be meaningful practice tied to specific standards. Student learning activities can still be corrected in class. Feedback regarding student performance on learning activities help a student know if they are moving toward proficiency or if they need additional support. However, the score for the learning activity is not recorded in the gradebook; learning activities are for feedback and practice only.
Late work/Timeliness & Management
What about late work and the impact of grading late work ? How do teachers manage the many reassessments? How do teachers deal with the influx of reassessments at the end of the quarter? What if a student is doing learning activities, but due to frequent absences misses all the assessments?
Proficiency-Based Learning measures achievement on assessments only. It separates achievement from effort/behavior, so there are no penalties for late work; however, teachers still need to set deadlines for submissions and reassessments in order to get everything graded and entered in a timely manner. Teacher and/or school expectations should be clearly shared through disclosure statements and students/parents should honor teacher deadlines.
School PLCs can set up plans for what reassessments look like and when students can reassess. Advisory periods, before or after school, and small group time are all possible times for students to reassess and show increased understanding on a standard. It will be up to individual teachers and/or PLC to decide what reassessments will look like (it could be a different version of the original, corrections made to the original, or something else entirely).
How is Gradebook changing to support Proficiency-Based Learning? What is included in the grade?
The PBL Gradebook is built to support Granite’s Proficiency-Based Learning principles and practices. In PBL Gradebook, teachers will enter results of assessments that are tied to the specific standards they select and teach each quarter. A student’s entire grade will be based on evidence of learning on assessments. The most RECENT evidence of learning will determine the proficiency score on a standard and the student’s overall proficiency score or grade (9-12 only). It will be important for teachers to emphasize to their students the importance of preparing for assessments by completing all learning and practice activities.
Do you have an estimate of when Proficiency-Based Learning will be fully implemented across the district?
Soon. Elementary and junior high schools currently have whole school participation (grades K-8), and high schools will implement PBL in 9th grade the 2020-2021 school year. Students and parents who’ve had the experience of working with a PBL teacher are eager for that to continue throughout the education experience. Parents embrace the system because they are clear on the standards of the class, have been told what proficiency looks like in each standard, and know exactly where they need to provide help and support to their students. Students feel empowered under PBL. They know exactly what it is they are supposed to learn and how to show they’ve learned it, and they know they will have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning progress as well as the chance to better assessment scores when they feel they can do better. They have confidence as they move forward to the next course in a sequence or perhaps to college that they have learned what they needed to learn to be successful in their next endeavor.
How will the Canvas platform work with Proficiency-Based Learning?
Canvas was purchased as a learning management system, a platform to aid instruction through which teachers can share instructional resources and make them accessible outside of class. The Canvas platform allows students to collaborate on work and supports blended and distance learning beyond the traditional seat time hours in a classroom. It is an excellent resource for providing learning activities for extra practice.
Teachers may still use Canvas to build supports for courses, including learning activities and assessments. Tools inside Canvas such as rubrics and SpeedGrader are still available for teachers to use; however, scores from Canvas must be manually entered into Gradebook.
What options will students have if they fail a graduation-required course?
Students who fail a required course can participate in credit recovery. In a PBL classroom, there should be a reduced need for credit recovery because students receive a “1” for attempting assessments. A student in grades 9-12 who attends class, participates in every assessment opportunity and scores 1, or “below proficient,” on every assessment could hypothetically receive a letter grade of D- after nine weeks. A teacher who notices a student scoring 1, 1, 1, 1 . . .. repeatedly should address that student individually and provide learning interventions or alternative assessments. There is no such thing as “passing a standard.” A student is ‘below proficient’, ‘approaching proficient’, ‘proficient’, or ‘highly proficient’ on a standard – the letter grade, based on proficiency scores that generate it in grades 9-12, reflects only that.
What about students who transfer in during the year? How will missed proficiency markers be passed off? Will students be able to change classes if they don’t like the grades they receive in a teacher’s class?
Students are not responsible for the assessments that occurred before they were enrolled in a course. Teachers may continue to support transfer students by scaffolding learning gaps as they move forward within the course. The final grade for the course will only be based on the assessments and standards for which the student was present. If necessary, teachers may need to initiate a grade override with the school registrar.
Schools will continue to use their own schedule-change policies and procedures with their students.
College and Career Readiness
How will Proficiency-Based Learning help my student be college and career ready?
Proficiency-Based Learning encourages students to take ownership of their own learning. It empowers them to improve understanding of a concept and advocate for multiple ways to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. It assures that final grades communicate more accurately to students and parents the degree to which the student is proficient in clearly articulated standards and objectives. Students will be less likely to need remedial courses in their post-secondary experiences or be incorrectly scheduled into inappropriate levels of courses.
Will Granite students be disadvantaged for college admittance, scholarships, etc.? Will students in a PBL classroom be more likely to receive lower grades than their peers in a non-PBL classroom?
Early indications from the 2,000 (or 33%) of Granite teachers participating in Proficiency-Based Learning is that there is no disadvantage for students in PBL classrooms. In fact, there are advantages for students when they can retake assessments, not receive penalties for work habits, late work and behavior. Students who previously sought “extra credit” now seek opportunities to demonstrate increased proficiency. While universities and others do use GPA as one factor in admission and scholarship awards, they also consider course-taking patterns, test scores, extra-curricular activities, as well as service and community engagement.
Is there any background information on why we push college and career ready, but are dis-aligning our grading system and have GPA when no one else does?
Granite School District will continue to generate letter grades and Grade Point Average (GP) for secondary students in grades 9-12. This will ensure alignment with university entrance, scholarship requirements, and NCAA eligibility.
Special Education and ELL
Our student body is largely ELL. How do we assist them with PBL?
Students identified as Multilingual Learners (formerly English Language Learners or ELLs) have additional resources such as WIDA English Language Development Standards and Can-Do Descriptors, which suggest appropriate assessments as students work toward proficiency on grade level course standards. Teachers should utilize multiple modalities in assessing Multilingual Learners’ proficiency.
How do general ed teachers accommodate SPED students on their proficiency scales? Do they have another scale?
Students with disabilities are provided on-grade level instruction with the necessary services and/or accommodations in accordance with their IEP or 504 plan to enable them to meet the proficiency for each standard of their enrolled grade level or course. There is not a separate proficiency scale. Teachers will use the IEP or 504 to determine how best to scaffold the work for special education students.
How should growth toward proficiency be assessed for SPED students?
- The student is made aware of the goal for growth and involved in tracking progress toward growth.
- Proficiency of the standard is set to the standard; proficiency on IEP goals is set to the IEP goal as determined by IEP team. Both need to be assessed regularly.
- Special Education teachers in collaboration with gen ed teachers are responsible for tracking growth toward proficiency of standards and on the IEP goals in the gen ed setting and in the SPED setting.
- Consideration is made regarding how individual accommodations are applied.
- Formal and informal assessments are utilized, including (but not limited to) district assessments, teacher-made learning activities, probes and checks for understanding.
- Multiple opportunities for measuring growth may be necessary to determine a score.
How should IEPs be developed with the implementation of PBL?
- Goals must be aligned to grade-level core standards.
- IEPs provide a means to develop a pathway from presents levels of performance to grade-level proficiency.
- IEPs must include the appropriate services, supports and accommodations to enable the student to make meaningful progress on IEP goals.
- IEP goals must be reflective of a student’s current needs and present levels of academic and functional performance.
- IEPs should be developed by an IEP team that includes a general education teacher who is knowledgeable about the grade-level core in the area of need.
What scaffolding and interventions are needed for SPED students in PBL?
- Scaffold needs to match individual student needs.
- Scaffolding breaks into its parts to help the student understand the steps in a process or the components of a concept to support learning.
- Scaffolding might include: chunking, more practice, more opportunities, explicit instruction, different modalities to demonstrate understanding, use of technology, smaller, more defined steps with feedback, practice, error correction, opportunities to question and summarize, setting goals at the beginning of the lesson and reviewing (celebrating) progress frequently, and/or emphasizing student learning outcomes.
- Scaffolding students in SPED most likely will require additional scaffolding beyond what is typical in instruction for the areas in which the student requires SPED.
- Scaffolding needs to be monitored frequently and adjusted as necessary.
- Scaffolding shows results in a student making meaningful progress on IEPs toward proficiency on grade level standards.
- Scaffolds will include all the strategies listed on the IEP and may also include additional strategies that the teacher(s) find effective in supporting learning.
- Interventions are specifically designed plans delivered through an explicit model of instruction and can include multiple scaffolds to teach a skill.
- Interventions must be operationalized, measured, and revised as necessary.
- Interventions need to be designed making meaningful progress on IEPs and toward proficiency on grade level standards.
- Specific interventions should be designed specifically for the individual student and reflected in their IEP goals.
What accommodations or modifications need to be implemented for SPED students under PBL? What takes precedence, the IEP or PBL?
- An IEP is a legal document indicating necessary accommodations or modifications and will be followed as students work toward grade level proficiency.
- Accommodations are determined by the IEP team, including the general education teachers.
- Need to be implemented consistently across settings, including instruction and assessment.
- All personnel assigned to support the student need to know and be able to implement the accommodations for the student.
- When the appropriate accommodations are identified and implemented with fidelity, a student should be able to make progress toward and reach proficiency commensurate with their peers.
How should monitoring progress on IEP goals be aligned to growth and proficiency on standards?
- Progress on IEPs should be aligned to grade-level standards, reflect the student’s present level of performance and be measured regularly.
- If there is insufficient progress, the IEP team should re-convene and revise the IEP to enable meaningful (sufficient) progress in the LRE.
- Reports of progress on IEPs and general education report cards or progress reports should include overlapping progress data in some areas.
- Informal teacher-made learning activities, probes, and checks for understanding can be utilized to monitor progress on IEP goals and to measure growth toward proficiency of the standards.
How should accommodations or modifications be applied during assessment to reflect the IEP?
- The same type and level of accommodations should be applied during instruction as assessment.
- Communication is the key factor in enabling the team to determine how to implement assessment accommodations.
- All personnel assigned to teach students with IEPs must understand and implement all accommodations consistently and as intended by the IEP team.
- Teams may need to model, practice, or role-play the implementation of accommodations to be able to implement them with fidelity.
- Changing the criteria for proficiency is not an accommodation; however, implementing the IEP components determined by the IEP team during assessment of proficiency is an accommodation.
- Failure to implement accommodations during instruction and assessment may prevent a student from reaching proficiency as well as constitute a denial of FAPE.
Can we give SPED students a P grade rather than a D or D-? I think it is very hard to keep them motivated when the best they can do is a D-.
Typically, this only happens when a student has not been enrolled long enough to demonstrate proficiency but perhaps has previous progress in a like course that leads us to believe the student has “passed” a course; we also sometimes use “incomplete” to address this issue. There are also times when we apply P/F where students have medical issues and have been unable to access all of the content, yet the school team believes they have successfully “passed” a course. Using P/F in cases where we are simply concerned about the student’s ability to meet proficiency could be perceived as a way to circumvent responsibility to provide access to standards and for the student to make progress and achieve proficiency in a standard.
The expectation under compulsory education are: all kids are entitled to access to the general curriculum, and all kids are expected to meet proficiency standards. This is our goal for EVERY student. However, with IEPs, we also have a legal way to make individual accommodations and apply specific interventions to help student make progress toward proficiency and to use accommodations during instruction and assessment that allow students to meet proficiency, despite their disabilities. So, instead of choosing P/F, the IEP team should use best practice to identify accommodations that will best meet the student’s current needs during instruction and assessment. This will ensure the student can show growth toward and reach proficiency in a way that is commensurate with his or her peers.
Will SPED students be doomed to lower grades than their peers, even if they are working twice as hard, but are still not proficient?
Special education students receive the same opportunities to show growth in proficiency on the core standards as their peers. Standards-based instruction, along with IEP accommodations and feedback on effective effort can help all students move toward proficiency. Effort alone is not part of a proficiency based grade.
Consider this case scenario:
A parent calls and complains that her son who is on an IEP for a specific learning disability in reading comprehension and math reasoning works hard in school and attends regularly, but has low self-esteem. He compares his grades to peers’ grades regularly as the teacher draws attention to students’ progress on assessments toward proficiency. He was able to get A’s and B’s on the previous grading system because he completed all of his homework and had a good attitude, but is now struggling and getting mostly 1’s. The parent is concerned that her child’s peers are getting 3’s and 4’s and her son is getting 1’s. What needs to be done?
- The SPED and gen ed teacher(s) need to meet together to look at the IEP goals, accommodations, interventions and plan for assessing and grading.
- In the areas where the student is receiving 1’s, consideration needs to be given to accommodations during instruction and during assessment based on the specific standards and in regard to the student’s needs outlined on the IEP.
- The IEP team needs to make adjustments to the IEP as necessary in collaboration with the parent and the student to best address the student’s current needs based on the data.
- The teacher(s) need to implement the strategies, scaffolding, intervention and accommodations in the areas of deficit and assess the student across all of the standards. The teacher(s) need to capitalize on the areas of strength based on the assessment outcomes and continue to provide scaffolds, interventions and accommodations during instruction and assessment where the student continues to struggle.
- The teacher(s) need to work collaboratively to determine which standards will be assessed by the gen ed teacher, which standards will be assessed by the special ed teacher and which standards will be assessed by both teachers. The teachers always keep in mind that every special education student is a general education student first and needs maximum access to the gen ed class, as appropriate.
- The teacher(s) need to review the scores on the assessments collaboratively to determine if any additional learning activities and/or opportunities for additional assessment are necessary to show progress toward proficiency.
- The teacher(s) also need to determine if any additional or different modalities for assessment need to be put in place to allow the student to demonstrate proficiency.
- If the teacher(s) implement these components with fidelity, the student should be able to make progress toward and reach proficiency on grade level standards.
Competency vs. Proficiency
Will we actually hold kids back if they don’t pass? What do we do with students who do not complete class work on time and can’t pass proficiency requirements? So can you proficiency yourself out of school?
Proficiency is a description of what level of understanding a student has in relation to a specific standard. In education, competency is often referred to as “testing out” or “advancement upon demonstration of competency.” Students are still required to be enrolled in a course and have the seat time mandated by the state legislature. If we have students who are demonstrating level 3 or 4 proficiency on standards, they will still be in the same class and the teacher will offer differentiated activities, just as we always have, to support their learning and growth. PBL does not “test a student out” of a class.
Citizenship & Life Skills
What about the soft skills that students need for college, career and life? In regards to work timeliness, how do we make them college or work ready when work timeliness is required?
Expectations for behavior, quality of work, or study habits don’t change in a Proficiency-Based Learning classroom. We still expect students to show up on time, be respectful, honor teacher timelines, and turn in work that is neat and complete. Soft skills are an integral component of every classroom that we continue to model and support through incentives and/or natural consequences.
How will Granite’s citizenship policy support Proficiency Based Learning? How will we communicate with parents about the soft skills expected from students?
The proficiency score (grades K-8) or letter grade (grades 9-12) will only include academic performance on assessments. All other non- academic pieces, including behaviors, are included in the citizenship grade. Granite’s citizenship policy is being reviewed to discuss how the behavior and non-academic components can be addressed through the citizenship grade.
Communicating PBL to Parents and Community
What responsibility will the district or school admin take to help inform parents? I’m worried referring them to a video, brochure or district website won’t be enough and the first SEP’s are going to be difficult.
The district is compiling multiple resources into a single website that will be useful for parents, students and teachers. Teachers can reach out to their administrators as well as the curriculum department or PBL Director Dawn Hauser for additional support.
School networks should plan together and create parent information nights which can be supported by district office personnel in addition to administrators and teachers.