Grading Maine students by 1, 2, 3, instead of A, B, C

NOW: Numbering grading system

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --

Parents in some Maine school districts are now seeing proficiency-based grading on their child's report cards and they are concerned how it may affect their child's educational future.

Proficiency-based education refers to any system of academic instruction, assessment, grading and reporting that is based on students demonstrating mastery of the knowledge and skills they are expected to learn before they progress to the next lesson, get promoted to the next grade level or receive a diploma, according to the Maine Department of Education.

The goal is to cut down on the amount of remedial classes a student would have to take in college.

Under this system, students receive term grades of 1, 2, 3, or 4, with 4 being the highest, instead of A, B, C, D, and F.

Districts decide what level constitutes proficiency in which subjects.

The Maine Legislature enacted the new system in 2012 to begin with classes in 2015. Maine statute requires all districts to begin awarding proficiency-based diplomas in 2021. 

According to Rachel Paling, the Director of Communication for the Maine Department of Education, there are 9 school districts that have indicated in Maine DOE’s November 2016 Annual Implementation Report that they will be awarding proficiency-based diplomas beginning in 2018: RSU 2, RSU 24, RSU 14, RSU 60, RSU 61, RSU 75, RSU 82, Winthrop Public Schools and Yarmouth School Department. 

Paling said RSU 16 and Falmouth Public Schools plan to award proficiency-based diplomas in 2019. 

RSU 38 is using the system in grades K-5, and is using both the proficiency-based and traditional grading for high school students now, according to Superintendent Donna Wolfrom.

"It's good for the district," said Wolfrom "It provides a cohesive, consistent system and gives a clear idea of what a student knows and can do."
 
Many parents have questions about how this grading system will translate for college applications.
 
"The Maine colleges are familiar with it, but what we need to see is when you get applying to some place in Oklahoma or Washington state, how are they going to handle it?" said Maine Education Association president Lois Kilby-Chesley. "It's going to be an interesting transition to see how this works."
 
The Great Schools Partnership in Portland, ME states on its website that students with proficiency-based grades and transcripts will not be disadvantaged in any way in the college admissions process.
 
68 New England colleges and universities wrote statements acknowledging that, including Harvard, Tufts, and MIT.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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