“Schools use proficiency-based learning to raise academic standards, ensure that more students meet those higher expectations, and graduate more students better prepared for adult life.” --The Great Schools Partnership of Portland, Maine
Act 77 and the State Board of Education’s Education Quality Standards (EQS) state that Vermont public schools must provide students with flexible and personalized pathways for progressing through grade levels and to graduation. The notion of Proficiency-Based Learning is a key component of this, requiring that students advance based on demonstration of attainment of skills and knowledge, rather than based on time spent in a classroom.
Proficiency-Based Learning can take many forms, and is already a critically important part of many school and SU/District instructional models statewide. Classroom activities that give students opportunities to demonstrate what they know and can do, support student-specific assessments of proficiency. Methods of relaying progression in learning to students and their families, through proficiency-based grading models and report cards, for example, can create a deeper and more accurate sense of each student's strengths and areas of need. As educators in Vermont, our long-term goal is to identify elements of Proficiency-Based Learning models at work within and outside of the state, apply them to benefit all of Vermont’s students, and support the instructional and systemic shifts that this scale-up will require.