Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More Proficiency Scales

I think I am a little obsessed with proficiency scales.  I blame my district for switching over to a 4-point scale and expecting us to just easily switch over and completely understand what mastery means for each of the standards. I don't understand how a district can switch something as big as a grading system without giving us any guidelines or training on how to do that. We received maybe one professional development day two years ago on proficiency scales and nothing else about how to justify the grades we give. Honestly, I am surprised that more parents don't complain and question why their children are receiving the "3" or the "2" or why not the "4". There's little or no consistency between teachers about what these words- meets, approaches, falls below, and exceeds- mean. What approaches in your room might meet in mine, but that's not the way it's supposed to be.
We have three new teachers (new to our school, but not new to teaching) on our team next year. Last year was quite a mess in terms of even agreeing what the standards mean, let alone being consistent with our grading system.  Because we are a newly formed team,  we decided to take a step back and look more closely at our standards together. We decided we needed to "unwrap" them and come up with some learning targets that we could all agree upon. (I feel like this is something that our district should have done for us, but that's a whole other story.)
Once we created these learning targets, we decided upon their depth of knowledge. We used Webb's Depth of Knowledge scale. From there we created the proficiency scales. We are going to use these scales to create our Common Formative Assessments and to guide the activities we do to teach the standards. These scales give up common language to use to talk to the students about their learning. The scales allow all of us to be more consistent across the grade level with our grading. It should eliminate the discrepancies we saw last year from room to room in terms of grading.
We only did the scales for our 1st Quarter standards, so we aren't finished yet. But, since I am so excited about these scales, I decided to post them as a freebie on TpT. Get the freebie here. Hope it's something that might be valuable to you.

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