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Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements


Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements (PBGRs) are the locally-delineated set of content knowledge and skills connected to state standards that, when supplemented with any additional locally-developed requirements, have been determined to qualify a student for earning a high school diploma. Vermont’s Education Quality Standards (EQS) require that schools’ graduation requirements be rooted in demonstrations of student proficiency, as opposed to time spent in classrooms. This requirement took effect in Vermont beginning with the graduating class of 2020.

A Vermont Portrait of a Graduate

A Vermont Portrait of a Graduate (PoG) clarifies the expectations for College and Career Readiness as described in the Vermont Education Quality Standards. It specifies the cognitive, personal, and interpersonal skills and abilities that students should be able to demonstrate upon graduation. A Vermont PoG was developed collaboratively by over three hundred Vermont students, community members, and educators. It can be used as a tool for reviewing and refining proficiency-based graduation requirements, as well as a guide for making instructional decisions.

A graphic of the Vermont Portrait of a Graduate

Text descriptions of the Vermont Portrait of a Graduate image

Portrait of a Graduate Resources

The Vermont Framework for Proficiency Resources

Quality Criteria for Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements, Critical Proficiencies, Priority Performance Indicators, and Proficiency Scales

The purpose of these documents is to provide criteria to evaluate and discuss the quality of Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements (PBGRs), Critical Proficiencies (CPs), and Priority Performance Indicators (PPIs), key components of the Vermont Framework for Proficiency.

Proficiency Scales and Rubrics 

The purpose of the Vermont Framework for Proficiency: Developing Proficiency Scales document is to provide a process by which SU/SDs can develop proficiency scales that are connected to Priority Performance Indicators (PPIs). A proficiency scale should be designed to show a continuum of distinct levels of knowledge and skills relative to a specific performance indicator. These distinct levels are qualitative (not quantitative) and describe what the student can do (rather than not do) at each proficiency level. 

The Vermont Framework for Proficiency: Proficiency Scales and Rubrics provides information about the similarities and differences between proficiency scales and rubrics. Additionally, the document explains when to use each tool and specific suggestions for classroom application.  

Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirement Content Hierarchies*

The Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirement (PBGR) Hierarchies support equity by providing a cohesive and coordinated vision of student-centered learning across Vermont schools. The hierarchies serve as a foundation for the implementation of standards adopted by the Vermont State Board of Education, Local Comprehensive Assessment Systems, flexible pathways, and personalized learning plans.

The Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirement Hierarchies Development Process explains how content specialists, in collaboration with educators from the field, developed the revised hierarchies for each of the content areas.

* The World Language Hierarchy is currently under development. Health and Physical Education hierarchies will be developed once the new standards are released in the spring of 2024.

Proficiency-Based Graduation Content Hierarchies Feedback Form

AOE staff is interested in gathering educators’ feedback as they use the 2023 Proficiency-Based Graduation Content Hierarchies. Please share your thoughts through this form.

Priority Performance Indicators and Transferable Skills Connections 

Transferable skills are an essential set of skills and competencies that promote the integration and application of knowledge across contexts and are critically important to success in today’s world, particularly in post-secondary programs and career readiness. These documents outline connections between the transferable skills and the Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirement (PBGR) Hierarchy, which includes the PBGR, Critical Proficiencies, and Priority Performance Indicators. It is intended to exemplify how transferable skills related to Priority Performance Assessments can be embedded into instruction and performance assessments within a unit of study.   

K-8 Proficiency-Based Learning Hierarchies

Revised Kindergarten through eighth grade Proficiency-Based Learning Hierarchies are currently under development. 

Transferable Skills

The transferable skills identified in the Education Quality Standards can be organized in different ways. In the first document, Collaboration, Innovation, Inquiry, and Use of Technology are woven throughout the Performance Indicators. Using this model, students would need to have opportunities to demonstrate acquisition of those skills as a part of attaining their Transferable Skills Graduation Proficiencies. The Transferable Skills in the second document are the specific skills identified in EQS.

Special Education PBGR Resources

The PBGR Access Plan (PBGR-AP) was created to help educators and teams make local graduation requirements accessible for students with intensive needs. With input from stakeholders across the state, the PBGR-AP will replace the Multi-year Plan, which was based around credits/Carnegie units. The PBGR Access Plan will embrace the same spirit of accessibility that the Multi-year Plan embraced. The challenge for teachers will be to implement the PBGR Access Plan where necessary to make the graduation requirements accessible for students who are not able to access the PBGRs without some type of accommodation or modification to the PBGR Performance Indicators. A sample of a PBGR Access Plan for “Kevin” from the AOE Case Study Project and a blank template of the PBGR Access Plan that educators and teams can use for students who need help accessing the graduation requirements. 

Additional Resources


Email Pat Fitzsimmons or call (802) 828-5896.