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The Rambler

Roll Out of the Proficiency Scale

English+Instructor+Brenda+Evans+explains+how+she+will+teach+an+outcome+to+her+English+9+students.+Each+outcome+is+accompanied+by+a+proficiency+scale+that+details+components+students+must+learn+to+become+proficient.+GCHS+teachers+will+be+using+proficieny+scales+in+all+classes+in+the+2018-19+school+year.+
English Instructor Brenda Evans explains how she will teach an outcome to her English 9 students. Each outcome is accompanied by a proficiency scale that details components students must learn to become proficient. GCHS teachers will be using proficieny scales in all classes in the 2018-19 school year.

English Instructor Brenda Evans explains how she will teach an outcome to her English 9 students. Each outcome is accompanied by a proficiency scale that details components students must learn to become proficient. GCHS teachers will be using proficieny scales in all classes in the 2018-19 school year.

Provided by Robin Hundt.

Provided by Robin Hundt.

English Instructor Brenda Evans explains how she will teach an outcome to her English 9 students. Each outcome is accompanied by a proficiency scale that details components students must learn to become proficient. GCHS teachers will be using proficieny scales in all classes in the 2018-19 school year.

Lillian Becker, Contributor

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GCHS is moving towards  standard reference grading with the addition of proficiency scales into teachers lessons. Tammy Heflebower, an expert in the field who has conducted several professional development sessions in Glenwood, said that standard reference grading is “a system in which teachers give students feedback about their proficiency on a set of defined standards.”   

The use of proficiency scales is projected to be enacted next year and will change the method used by teachers to let students know what they must learn. According to Principal Richard Hutchinson, the grades that a student receives should be accurate and should reflect a student’s knowledge, and this is the purpose of the shift. Proficiency scales will make it easier for the student to see exactly what the teacher wants the student to do and take the guess work out of it.

A proficiency scale will be created for every outcome. Hutchinson is a supporter of this and has instructed his staff to try out a proficiency scale at least once this semester.

“We just want to make sure that when a student gets an ‘A’ out of a class, they can demonstrate that they can do ‘A’ level work,” said Hutchinson. “We can let parents and students know what is expected that way. We are not guessing what the teacher wants from the student.”

The proficiency scales need to be developed which is on the teachers this year. But in the long run, this is a definite benefit to all students. The scale is put into numbers to show the grade: one, two, three and four. At the end of the semester, the numbers will be put into a conversion chart to give the student a percentage, so students do not need to worry about the loss of GPA’s. The best score a student could receive would be a four while a one would be failing.

“To earn a four,” the student needs to be able to think on a higher level and take what they have learned to be incorporated into something else. It is not a memorization game anymore,” said Hutchinson. “This is a new thought process for students and teachers.”

Hutchison believes right now we have too much of the “etch and sketch” model which means the teacher will tell the students what they need to know, when they need to know it by and how to recite it back to them in test form. Under the current model, students take the assessment and promptly forget all they learned.

History instructor Jaci Johnson, who is a member of the Building Leadership Team (BLT), agrees with the benefits of this new standard reference grading.

“Students are trying to reach their goals, opposed to students competing with one another to receive that average grade,” said Johnson. “Teachers have to understand how to communicate that within the staff and also how to give an opportunity for students to show that they understand those standards.”

Johnson looks at the proficiency scale as a chance for our higher performing students to grow academically. This will not just be about passing, but learning skills for students to take with them after high school.

BLT member and weights instructor Cory Faust also agrees with the benefits of this paradigm shift in grading.  

“Standard Referenced grading ensures that we communicate clearly what we are going to assess and it helps us to line up our teaching so students know where they stand,” said Faust. “Hopefully we use our class time better knowing what the student needs to work on.”

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