At Lake Region the entire staff worked on articulating learning expectations and developing a system for students to collect, reflect, and report on evidence towards those learning expectations (the LR Folio). Each department at Lake Region has articulated their proficiencies and is working on building/revising their proficiency scales. High school teachers are also working to determine how students will demonstrate proficiency through flexible pathways and work-based learning experiences.
During PLCs this year, middle school teachers began to determine proficiencies and have articulated their “I Can” statements. This work will continue next year as those teachers build out their proficiency scales while examining student work. These tasks are directly connected to the principles of PLCs, which focus on what we want students to know and be able to do.
Proficiency-based learning has ten guiding principles, one of which states: “All forms of assessment are standards-based and criterion-referenced, and success is defined by the achievement of standards, not norm referenced grades.” As we develop common assessments across OCSU we are aligning those assessments with standards and scoring them based on the standards as well.
One large shift that will need to happen is in our reporting system. In a proficiency-based learning system, the emphasis is on the learning and we need to be sure we are reporting it as such. We also are cognizant of the fact that any changes need to be manageable for both students and teachers, and communicated clearly to parents and community members. Next year there will be teams from two OCSU schools piloting a new tool as part of our reporting system. Based on their experiences, a plan will be developed to be used by all OCSU schools.
This is an exciting time for education in Vermont, with lots of opportunities for our students. OCSU is fortunate to have educators who embrace change and model life-long learning. I’m happy to be on this journey with all of you!