• Proficiency Based Grading

    The following description of Proficiency based grading is from the PPS website.  For more details of scoring and the rationales for scoring please refer to "Grading" 


    Proficiency Based Grading: Supporting student success

    Proficiency Descriptors in Synergy

    Teachers 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:


    HP: Highly Proficient

    PR: Proficient

    CP: Close to Proficient

    DP: Developing Proficiency


    Portland Public Schools is taking initial steps to implement a grading system that clearly communicates what students know and can do in order to best help them succeed.

    The goal: Give students, teachers and parents an accurate picture of a student’s progress in mastering the Oregon State Standards (which include the Common Core State Standards in Math and Language Arts) so that teachers can provide the specific supports or acceleration each student needs.

    Proficiency-based grading, which communicates progress toward mastery of standards, supports our equity goals and promotes student achievement. PPS already has proficiency efforts established and underway. Following are a few highlights:

    K-5 report cards are standards based and clearly separate academic achievement and behavior

    Math, World Languages, and Science departments across many high schools and middle schools have developed proficiency practice through the leadership of teachers and school administrators

    Roosevelt is implementing their practices school-wide

    Proficiency work is a core part of the IB program across schools

    School administrators and teachers have led collaborative book studies or other forms of professional learning to implement the practices in their schools


    Moving toward sound grading practices

    Traditionally, a student's grade may have reflected a combination of test scores, attendance, homework completion, extra credit, behavior and other factors. Methods used to determine the grade vary by teacher and subject, and ultimately, the grade may or may not reflect the extent to which a student has mastered the 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 education

    Proficiency-based grading is intended to encourage looking at students as individuals and honoring a range of learning styles and ways of demonstrating what students know.


    “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”


    Grading for 8th Grade Mathematics & Compacted Math Year Two


    There are two categories for assignments:

    1.  Effort:  This includes daily homework and certain class assignments.  These assignments do not count towards students' final score.  These assignments are the opportunity to practice, and gain mastery of, new skills and content prior to being assessed on them.  Students wishing to revise assessments must have credit for 60% or higher of assigned effort work.

    2.  Assessments:  This includes tests, work samples and specific class assignments.  Assessments are scored on a proficiency scale.  Assessments take place in class and will not be sent home.  Assessments with a score of Close to Proficient (CP) or Developing Proficiency (DP) can be revised once for a higher score.  I recommend students get extra help prior to revising.


    Students’ quarterly grade will result from the scoring patterns in the table below.  Students should have a grade record glued into their notebook that tracks all assessment scores and revision scores.


    Grades on report cards will be marked as Highly Proficient (HP), Proficient (P), Close to Proficient (CP), and Developing Proficiency (DP). A quarterly grade is determined based on the following calculations.



    A mix of HP and PR marks with 67% or more of the marks being HP. No CP or DP marks.  Student consistently hits the learning target with a high level of mastery.



    A mix of HP, PR and CP marks with at least 71% of the marks being HP and PR and no more than 29% CP. No DP marks.
    Student consistently hits the learning target.



    A mix of HP, PR, CP and DP marks with at least 60% of the marks being HP,PR and CP and no more than 40% of the marks being DP.
    Most of the time proficient or nearly proficient.  Student may show some inconsistencies with hitting the target.



    A mix of HP, PR, CP and DP marks with more than 40% of the marks being DP.
    Student does not hit the target regularly.