Traditional Grading System
The following conversation is one that could readily occur when a student brings home a report card under our traditional grading system.
Congratulations! You got an 89 in your Algebra 1 course! That sure represents a lot of hard work.
Can you please tell me, from that grade, what topics you mastered and what topics you need more work on?
What’s that? You don’t know? So what exactly does that 89 mean?
This is a not-too unrealistic conversation that could readily happen to any student after receiving their report card. What, after all, does 89 actually mean? How does it help you to know what topics you have failed to master yet?
Proficiency Based Grading System
In a Proficiency Based Education (PBE) system, part of the premise is that there is clear communication about what topics have been mastered and what topics still need to be worked on. Imagine seeing the following report card for your high school math courses.
||Exceeds the Standard
||Meets the Standard
||Partially Meets the Standard
||Not Yet Met the Standard
To see more detail on the standards, please click the “+” sign in front of the standard. Please note that “PI” means “Performance Indicator”.
Notice the detail given in this report card. First, you can see that certain standards have already been met – specifically, standards 1, 2, and 4. Secondly, clicking the “+” symbol in front of each standard provides more detailed information. For example, clicking the “+” in front of Standard 3 shows that two Performance Indicators have been assessed, with a score of 3.0, while one Performance Indicator still needs to be assessed.
Furthermore, Standard 1 shows a score of 3.375. Clicking the “+” shows that the four Performance Indicators have scores of 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 3.0. These scores were averaged to come up with the Standard 1 score 3.375.
Now, look at the same student report card a couple of years later:
Notice that this student now has shown that they have met all required math standards. Like before, you can click the “+” symbol to see the details within each standard.