Questions around proficiency-based learning that we have been mulling over in OCSU is: 1.) How do we change our conversations about grading and reporting to reflect a student’s performance towards proficiency? 2.) How do ensure that our reporting practices reflect equity for all types of learning? If you look back historically you will find that the way educators have reported out on learning has not changed much since the late 1800s.
When reflecting with teacher leaders in OCSU about research by Gobble et al. (2017) and the above questions of changing the conversation about grading and reporting, as well as the equity of grading & reporting practices, they had this to say:
- We need to identify and agree on the issues with the current system (like the grading flaws of: zeros, weighted grades, reward/punishment grades, and averages) This is going to be a huge mindset change, starting with the identification and discussion.
- I believe that we need to have the time to collaborate and identify what proficiency looks like. If we want our reporting practices to reflect equity then all teachers reporting out should have the same knowledge and expectations.
- We need to stay focused on the evidence! Evidence based grading is the accurate interpretation of student performance. This approach should encourage continuous improvement, self-analysis and mindful development!!!
- Focus on proficiency-based grading instead of standard grading. This will prevent students from being “penalized” for not understanding material the first time, having a “bad testing day”, etc.
Proficiency-based learning and proficiency-based assessment fosters better communication about teaching and learning practices. Take for example this standards-based report card from Natomas Unified School District:
Gobble, T., Onuscheck, M., Reibel, A.R., & Twadell, E. (2017). Pathways to proficiency:
Implementing evidence-based grading. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.