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Progress and Proficiency: Redesigning Grading for Competency Education

Abstract

"Any school that has begun the journey toward competency education, breaking free of the limitations of the time-based system, will eventually come face-to-face with grading policies and practices. Along with the excitement of creating a new grading system that ignites a dynamic culture of learning will come opportunities to engage students, families and the community in creating a shared vision about the purpose of school. Challenging the traditional system of grading practices, rooted firmly in the American culture with its exhilarating A+ to the dreadful F, will prompt questions, fears, and misconceptions. There are likely to be lively community meetings and even a letter or two in the local newspaper. There will also be the mutual delight when a competency-based grading system is put into place that allows students and teachers to work together toward a shared vision of learning. Most importantly, there will be cause to celebrate as students make progress toward proficiency.

This paper is part of a series investigating the implementation of competency education. The purpose of the paper is to explore how districts and schools can redesign grading systems to best help students to excel in academics and to gain the skills that are needed to be successful in college, the community, and the workplace."

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