Proficiency Based Educaton IV - Grading

03/05/18, 8:52 AM


Proficiency Based Education IV - Grading


Standards Based Education - often referred to as Proficiency Based Education is much in the news.  And for good reason, there’s lots to talk about.

All of Proficiency Based Education comes down to good assessment practices, and it’s so very important to have an assessment framework from which to operate.   All too often that assessment framework has become muddied and unclear - perhaps the impact of unclear leadership.  But, that’s another blog.

Proficiency Based Grading is based on the “standards.”  It is a rating and not a ranking.  It is by it’s very nature narrative - it seeks to tell the story - over time - of student learning.  

Traditional Grading  is based on the degree to which the student successfully completed the work.  It is a ranking, and it is designed to establish things like class rank and GPA’s.   It is by it’s very nature numeric. It is a collection of numbers used to indicate student completion and success.  

The idea that a teacher might give a “2” to a piece of work, an essay, a test, a project,  is an anathema. The designation of a “2” (or “1,” or “3,” or “4”) can only be assigned to a standard after the submission of a number of works.  To whit. a student might earn a “3” on the standard of “Clear and Effective Communication,” but only after a number of assignments have been targeted in relation to that standard.  Remember - standards serve to rate students - grades serve to rank students.

Both of these things can co-exist. They both inform learning.

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