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A New Grading System

posted Sep 3, 2014, 11:02 AM by scott elementary   [ updated Sep 2, 2016, 3:41 PM by Salem Keizer ]

September 2014


Dear Parents,


Last fall, Salem-Keizer elementary schools made the first step in switching to a proficiency grading system.


In proficiency grading, grades reflect a student’s mastery (or level of proficiency) of an academic standard. An academic standard is something students are expected to know and be able to do at the end of the school year. There are standards for all subjects, like math, language arts, etc.


This fall, elementary schools will complete the transition to proficiency grading with the addition of a couple features:


·         The proficiency scoring scale (aka grading scale) becomes 1 to 4



Exceeds proficiency at grade level


Proficient at grade level


Developing proficiency at grade level


Limited proficiency at grade level


·         Proficiency scores will show progress toward standards that take a full year to learn


The second point means that students are not expected to be proficient until the end of the school year because they won’t have received all the instruction it takes to reach a standard.


Typically, grades will be lower at the start of the year, and increase over time as students learn more. The goal is for students to reach at least a score of 3 (proficient) by the end of the school year after all instruction about a standard has been given.


Here’s an example: On the 3rd grade math standard, “Uses place value to round numbers,” a student’s proficiency score on the first progress report may be a 1. At the next progress report, it may be a 2, and by the end of the year, the student may receive a score of 3 or 4.


There are many benefits of proficiency grading. One of the greatest is that it helps teachers identify areas where students need more instruction to reach a standard. It also allows students to make progress toward the year-end learning goal at a pace suitable for their learning styles.


Please feel free to contact me or your child’s teacher for more information about progress reports and proficiency grading. Thank you again for supporting your students and our school!



Sara Casebeer