Getting to Proficiency: Post 2

Grades 7-12 Early Release Jan. 8th

Shifting our focus to proficiency based grading and assessment has several entry points where we could begin our work.  We will begin by articulating a common set of beliefs or principles about assessment and grading to guide our proficiency based efforts.  Other entry points include identifying learning outcomes or instructional shifts, but in the end we must address how are we going to measure proficiency and how are we going to report student achievement.

Guskey (1996) and McTighe (2013) note that schools use grades and assessments for a variety of purposes;

  • Diagnosis student strengths and needs
  • Provide feedback on student learning
  • Provide a basis for instructional placement
  • Inform and guide instruction
  • Communicate learning expectations
  • Motivate to focus student attention and effort
  • Provide a basis for evaluation
    • grading
    • promotion/graduation
    • program selection/admissions
  • Provide accountability data
    • School/District
    • Teacher Evaluation
    • Administrator Evaluation
  • Gauge program effectiveness

Assessments and grades are also reported to multiple and shifting audiences.  They include (McTighe, 2013); teachers, students, parents, grade level/department teams, other faculty, school administrators, curriculum supervisors, policy makers, business community/employers, college admission officers, and the general public.

The problem in designing and reporting assessment results stems from the multiple purposes and audiences that assessments can be targeted to address or inform.  Some teachers emphasize one purpose or audience, and some emphasize another.  This creates the possibility that teachers are using different criteria in reporting student achievement.

Moving towards proficiency based graduation standards requires that we all use the same criteria to determine a student’s level of achievement.  We must agree about the purposes and audience for assessment results for our graduation standards.  Only then can we be sure that we design appropriate assessments and criteria (rubrics) for determining student proficiency.

We will dive into this work in the following order

  1.  Articulate a set of guiding assessment principles.
  2.  Situate our assessments of student graduation standards into a larger assessment system that addresses multiple purposes and audiences.
  3.  Develop different assessment types for different learning targets and develop appropriate criteria for grading.
  4.  Develop an evaluation and communication method for each component of the assessment system.

For Wednesday January 8th:

We will meet in the high school library at 1:45.

      1. Read (Starting the Conversation )by Susan Brookhart. (This informed the process below)
      2. Review the protocol here (Three A’s for Assessment.)
      3. Review the principles(Principles of assessment practices) and make notes before arriving.
      4. Bring a computer.

To be completed after small group discussion

Please flow the following link to record your own individual responses to each principle.  Please do this after the small group discussion and before the large group discussion.   We will use the results to look for areas of disagreement for further discussion as a large group.

Survey of Principles  (


Guskey, T. (1996). Reporting on student learning.  Lessons from the past-prescriptions for the future. In T. Guskey. (Ed.), Communicating student learning: The 1996 ASCD yearbook (pp.13-24).  Alexandria, VA: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.

McTighe, J. (2013). Core learning: Assessing what matters most. Midvale, UT: School Improvement Network.


About shawncarlson

Assistant Superintendent
This entry was posted in Assessment, BRES, BRHS, Curriculum. Bookmark the permalink.

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