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Proficiency Based Learning Proposed Changes
Proficiency Based Learning Proposed Changes
David Theoharides
Sunday, September 09, 2018

Proficiency Based Learning Proposed Changes

Students in last year's freshmen class were required to meet the new State of Maine  graduation requirements by demonstrating proficiency in their core subject areas of math, English, social studies and science. In Sanford we designed a system that allowed students to continue to earn traditional grades or scores of 0-100 on assessments - quizzes, tests, projects, and homework, but also established a minimum score of 77 for a student to show they were proficient. Students were allowed to retake the assessment until they demonstrated proficiency, but retakes were capped at 77 points. Students also only received credit in their courses if they were proficient in all the required standards for the course. It was a complicated system that attempted to honor the requirements of the state law while maintaining a traditional 0-100 grading scale. 

This past June, the Maine Department of Education revised the proficiency requirements for graduation and gave schools the option to use proficiency as a graduation requirement, or to use a traditional grading system. This summer Sanford's K-12 Principals and Directors met to review input from students, teachers, parents and  the public on our proficiency grading system. While there were aspects of proficiency grading that were viewed as improvements over the traditional grading model that was previously used at SHS, the team proposed a set of recommendations for revising the current model and essentially reverting it back to the grading system that has always been used at SHS.

The recommendations for graduation take out the proficiency based diploma requirement that was previously established for last year's freshmen class. 

  • Measuring and recording “Proficiency” of standards will not be used. The process implemented for measuring proficiency for the class of 2021 will no longer be used.
  • Only 0 to 100 traditional grading will be used for all graded and courses – the same grading process that has been used at SHS in the past.
  • Passing will be 70 or greater for all classes (77 was used for the class of 2021 to indicate proficiency)
  • All courses in Grades 9-12 will use the same weighting for assignments and assessments:
    • Formative - 15% (Quizzes, homework, practice work)
    • Summative - 85% (Tests, projects, reports, etc.)
  • To encourage all students to do their best we recommend continuing to allow students to retake summative assessments. If a student fails a summative assessment, they will continue to be allowed to retake it until they earn a grade of 70 or higher.
  • Honor Roll, GPA, Transcripts, Class Rank – All of these programs will continue as they have been implemented in the past.

Click here to see the full list of recommended changes to Proficiency Based Learning.

Students in grades K-8 will continue to use a similar system of grading and reporting that has been used in the past. 

Sanford High School has provided a survey link for parents, students and staff to provide input on the proposed recommendations. Please review the link above before taking the survey to learn more about the recommended changes. Click here to complete the short survey

Questions about proficiency based learning and graduation requirements should be directed to the school administrators. The Sanford School Committee will be reviewing the proposed recommendations at their September 24th meeting.