Proficiency and College Admissions

From The Maine DOE (June 5, 2014)

In this post from the commissioner, the DOE shares some very recent news on the beliefs of New England Colleges on the value of Proficiency Based Diplomas.



Collected by Maria Libby, Assistant Superintendent, Fivetown CSD


How Would You View a Transcript from a Proficiency-Based Diploma System?

Would there be any Impact on a Student’s Application?


Phone conversation with Kate McAuliff

As long as the profile is clear, it is not a problem at all. In fact, Hall Dale already has a Proficiency Based diploma and it has been completely fine.

Kate has read 5 – 10 applications so far this year that had no grades at all—they included ones with only 25 pages of written feedback–so the packets run the gamut.

Additionally, Colby’s admissions officers cover different regions in Maine so they know the schools well, and this is actually to the state’s advantage. She said that they know CHRHS well and a different transcript won’t change that knowledge of the school or our students.


Email exchange with Scott Atherton

Scott wasn’t aware of the upcoming change in Maine. They see many different types of grading systems, particularly from a very large international pool. They are adept at being able to interpret students’ grades according to whatever system is used, whether it means using a 1 – 4 system or a 100-point scale. Information on school profiles will help guide them. Can’t imagine it having a negative impact on Maine students’ chances of getting into Middlebury or similar schools. (Scott noted that Middlebury likes Maine students and admits them in sizeable numbers.)


Email from Emma McLeavey-Weeder

Dartmouth deals with hundreds of different grading systems, so this is no big deal. As long as the system is clearly outlined in the profile, they will be fine. Lots of places are on a 4-pt scale, so it’s not all that different as it’s something they commonly see at Dartmouth. It will absolutely not be a detriment to ME applicants.


Email from Scott Meiklejohn

Bowdoin evaluates applications that include a broad range of diplomas and grading scales. Brian doesn’t see the proficiency-based diploma creating any more of an “obstacle” to admission than is caused, for example, by the portfolio assessments that they get from schools that don’t give letter or number grades at all.  An important part of the reason it shouldn’t be an issue is because Bowdoin College does pay special attention to Maine and will continue to sift through whatever information schools provide to us in order to bring to Bowdoin a certain number of talented Mainers each year.

New England Secondary School Consortium

Find information about other Maine and New England Colleges here.

At the end of this clip is a discussion with college admission officers about Proficiency and admissions.

Here is another slice of colleges that have endorsed Proficiency based diplomas.



About shawncarlson

Assistant Superintendent
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