Proficiency Based Teaching & Learning: Supporting student successPortland Public Schools is continuing the proficiency journey.
The goal: Offer an accurate and clear picture of a student’s progress in relationship to grade-level standards (including the Common Core State Standards) so that teachers and students can create a personalized path for learning.
Proficiency Based Teaching & Learning’s emphasis on student learning through clear learning goals supports our equity work and promotes student achievement. Proficiency efforts at PPS have been established and are growing. Following are a few highlights:
- K-5 report cards are standards based by clearly separating academic achievement and behavior.
- A variety of departments across many high schools and middle schools have developed proficiency practice through the leadership of teachers and school administrators.
- Proficiency work is a core part of the IB program across schools.
- School administrators and teachers have led this work through collaborative professional learning to implement the practices in their schools.
Moving toward sound grading practicesTraditionally, a student's grade may have reflected a combination of test scores, attendance, homework completion, extra credit, behavior and other factors, and may not reflect student learning of academic content.The proficiency-based approach makes clear what students know and are able to do by measuring academic progress separately from non-academic factors.
Toward an equitable educationProficiency-based teaching and learning is intended to encourage a shift in thinking away from a grade with much more of a focus on how each student demonstrates learning.
“Traditional grading practices have promoted the idea of uniformity. The way we are fair is we expect all students do to the same thing in the same amount of time in the same way. We need to move… to the idea that fairness is not uniformity. Fairness is equity of opportunity.”
– Ken O’Connor, “The last frontier: Tackling the grading dilemma”
Proficiency Descriptors in SynergyTeachers who are determining final proficiency marks using standards in Synergy are participating in a pilot, in which final marks are determined according to score patterns, as outlined in the pilot matrix. Student progress is reported according to the following key:
- Highly Proficient
- PR Proficient
- CP Close to Proficient
- DP Developing Proficiency