Vermont Agency of Education Briefs
At the Agency, we recognize that many school systems have moved beyond discussing the "what" and the "why" of proficiency-based learning. Others, however, are still in the initial stages of implementation. Regardless of where educators are along this continuum, it is important to revisit these questions at different points in time to help ensure a shared vision for the future. These briefs can be used to provoke important conversations among educators. Questions to consider include: How do these documents align with our thinking? How are they different? What might be missing?
Proficiency-Based Grading Practices and Transcripts
- Proficiency-Based Grading and Transcripts: Responding To Parent and Community Concerns: This document was created in order to respond to common questions related to proficiency-based grading practices and transcripts.
- Research Brief: Proficiency-Based Grading Practices: The information in this document should be used to inform rather than dictate decisions related to grading practices in a personalized and proficiency-based system. Focus questions with related research are provided. Specific sections of this document could be selected for discussion based on the specific needs of a school community.
- Vermont Proficiency-Based Grading Practices: This document provides current examples of proficiency-based grading and reporting practices in Vermont. The intent is to share resources and materials so that leaders and educators in school systems can support one another on the path to proficiency.
Vermont Stories: The Road to Implementation of Proficiency-Based Learning
Vermont educators are working hard to implement educational systems that are personalized and proficiency-based. Below are blogs in which educators share their stories about this journey.
Franklin West Supervisory Union, located in northwestern Vermont, serves the communities of Fairfax, Fletcher, and Georgia. They are passionate about sharing their story every day. Readers follow their educational journey and enjoy a close-up look at what is happening in the classroom and beyond through their blog, The FWSU Story: A belief in what is possible.
CVU Learns: One School's Journey to Standards Based Learning is a blog written by educators, Stan Williams and Emily Rinkema, unless otherwise noted. Posts include relevant topics such as Assessing to Develop Skill, Not Identify It and Proficiency, Personalization, and a Cocktail Napkin: or, how PBL became PPBL.
Transparency: Operating with a Clear Instructional Vision to Put Policy into Practice is the first in a three-part series written by Andrew Jones, director of curriculum at Mill River Unified Union School District in Vermont. A set of educator specific proficiencies and performance indicators drafted with teacher input are described. The goal is to use these proficiencies and indicators to guide the overall implementation of proficiency-based learning.
Supporting Teachers with Making Sense of Proficiency-Based Learning is the second in a three-part series from Andrew Jones, director of curriculum at Mill River Unified Union School District in Vermont. This post explains how a district-wide teacher learning system supports ongoing efforts to implement K-12 proficiency-based learning practices.
Providing Flexible Pathways and Personalized Learning Options for All Students is the third in a three-part series from Andrew Jones, director of curriculum at Mill River Unified Union School District in Vermont. Educators at Mill River are looking for ways to completely rethink what it means to learn and go to school. The Trailhead Project that is described in this post leverages the unique characteristics of each school to provide dynamic learning opportunities for students in this district.
Proficiency-Based Learning Resources
Proficiency-Based Learning (Competency-Based Education) Across the United States
The map below, created by iNACOL, indicates competency education is advancing across the country. Even in many of the states with little or no interest in exploring competency education, there are educators pursuing a better way to organize education so that students receive the instructional support they need.
A Snapshot of K-12 Competency Education State Policy Across the United States
Organizations that Support Proficiency-Based Learning
- Achieve-National, resources about competency-based pathways, graduation requirements, and college and career readiness.
- Competency Works, Learning from the Cutting Edge, resources to support the understanding of competency-based education, personalization, and related policies.
- Great Schools Partnership, resources for developing efficient standards-based systems that prepare all students for 21st-century colleges, careers, and communities.
- Innovation Lab Network, a collaborative effort among states that are taking action to identify, test, and implement student-centered approaches to learning.
- Innovative Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), resources on key topics that equip and empower leaders to catalyze and scale personalized, next generation learning models.
- Nellie Mae Education Foundation, a knowledge base of materials created by funding projects that provide evidence of student-centered learning that enables every student to develop the skills and knowledge they need for the future.
The Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education currently partners with nearly three dozen schools around Vermont, supporting them as they move towards a tech-rich, student-centered model of young adolescent education.
- Up for Learning: Communicating School Redesign, a statewide campaign by and for all Vermonters who are dedicated to redesigning our public schools so that our communities will thrive, now and in the years ahead.
Note: Competency and proficiency-based learning are used interchangeably in the resources above.
"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly." by Buckminster Fuller
Email Pat Fitzsimmons or call (802) 828-5986.