I wonder a few things. It seems like the educational system is getting mucked up with the need to grade. I have wrestled with this quite a bit and have yet to solve it. What I have come to believe is that the proficiency scale should NOT be a point for grading. The scale is like a marker of what a student can do or understand. To put a grade on the scale devalues the learning. Level 2 is not a deficient Level 3. That feels like rubric thinking to me. I want to celebrate the knowledge acquired at every level. So how do we grade then?

I think there is one more level of unpacking that needs to occur after the Proficiency Scale is created.

Standards turn into Proficiencies that are broken down even further into the components or knowledge needed to meet the proficiency. These components can be logically sequenced into a scale. Once the scale is in place, each level of the scale gets broken down even further... this is where performance indicators can come in to play. At this level, you can use Rubrics. It is about achieving a greater level of specificity.

Silly analogy from the summer:

House = Standard

Foundation, Walls, Roof = Proficiencies/Measurement topics

Take the "foundation" and now break that into specific concepts/Indicators

Rebar, Cement, Plywood forms, temperature, etc.

This is the level you assess at. What is the quality of the cement used?

To me, the key to all of this is in the unpacking process. A what point does grading occur?

Don't buy a house by just grading the foundation from the outside, go inside to view the quality of construction, look for cracks, water damage, etc.

WHAT ABOUT MEASURING PROGRESS? Moving forward on the learning scale. Can this be assessed? We want students to move forward to achieve Proficiency. I can't help but think that the Transferable Skills are the key. If there is a deficiency in a Transferable skill, progress will be compromised. Assess the components of an unpacked transferable skill as well.

Anyone still reading?

The beauty of this whole process is that it kind of forces you to really clarify what it is you want a student to know and be able to do.


This would be an interesting report:

Proficiency: Digital Audio Workstation usage for audio sequencing

Current Level of Study: Level 2 - MIDI

Percentage of knowledge acquired at this level 85%

Habits of Learning average level of Proficiency achieved: 2.25

  • Preparation Level 2

  • Participation: Level 3

  • Perseverance: Level 2

  • Self Reflection: Level 2

A thought:

I see many of the Habits of Learning indicators as being non-negotiable.

Student shows up on time - This could or should receive a grade.

Say a student doesn't show up on time on a regular basis... there may a direct correlation to their overall progress as a result. The grade then makes sense.

I am planning on using the bullet list of Habits of Learning with my students, in pursuit of level three habits. I broke the bullets list into levels and will teach these over the next few weeks. My thinking is that level 3 will become the norm. I am betting that their ability to meet level 3 Habits will have a direct correlation to how much content gets learned. I might be able to use that as my grading point.

It should improve my feedback as well.

Could a student be proficient at all of the Transferable Skills and still NOT make progress?

I don't think so. If proficient, learning takes place. I wonder if this is where we grade.

Content is the tool to provide a measurement of Transferable skills. Content will be acquired if transferable skills are proficient. (I need to expand on this thinking a bit)

This is hard stuff. I would suggest that you think about grading only when you reach the appropriate level of specificity in the unpacking process. Let the scale be like a Boy or Girl scout badge. The Learning Scale is not a rubric.

I hope I articulated this well enough. I am still trying to formulate a new level of thinking on all of this. Push my assumptions if you like. Hope this adds to your thinking.


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