What is Proficiency-Based Learning?
Proficiency-Based Learning, or PBL, is the practice of instructing and assessing students based on predetermined expectations of what the student will know and be able to do. These expectations are called “standards” or “proficiencies.” Assessments, such as performance tasks, quizzes, tests, presentations and projects provide students the opportunity to demonstrate their progress in meeting or exceeding the stated standard.
In addition to teaching the content in a particular course, SBHS teachers provide opportunities for students to practice the Student Learning Expectations. These are skills that are transferable from one content area to another and transferable to all aspects of life. These include:
- Clear and Effective Communication
- Creative and Practical Problem Solving
- Responsible and Involved Citizenship
- Informed and Integrative Thinking
Why Are We Moving to Proficiency-Based Learning?
The State of Vermont has required that all students, beginning with the class of 2020, graduate based on proficiencies. We also believe this is preferred educational practice and in the best interest of all students. The focus of proficiency-based learning is on students’ demonstration of desired learning outcomes. Students gain the skills, abilities, and knowledge required in an area of study, along with those necessary to be successful in college, career and civic life. Proficiency-based learning is designed to identify and address gaps to provide equitable learning opportunities for every student. Read more about “What is proficiency-based learning?”.
SBHS students in the class of 2020 and beyond will be introduced to graduation proficiencies through courses in their first two years of high school and assessed at the graduation level via courses and experiences during their final years of high school. Teachers will teach and measure content specific standards as well as the Student Learning Expectations. Classroom-based assessments will be used to determine students’ proficiency in each of the Proficiency Based Graduation Requirements. Course grades and demonstrated proficiency will determine eligibility for a SBHS Diploma.
How will we verify proficiency?
SBHS Grading Purpose Statement: The primary purpose of the grading system at South Burlington High School is to clearly, accurately, consistently, and fairly communicate learning progress and achievement to students, families, postsecondary institutions, and prospective employers.
Students deserve clear and explicit feedback about their current level of proficiency and progress toward graduation.
How is the PBL report card the same and different?
SBHS will continue to provide traditional grades and GPA and will also report out on progress toward proficiency. In terms of the reporting of proficiency, SBHS will track the student’s progress toward meeting particular content standards and the school’s Student Learning Expectations (SLE). Teachers will report out students attainment of the content area and SLE proficiencies in the following way:
- Can demonstrate all elements of the standard (Proficient)
- Can demonstrate some elements of the standard (Developing)
- Can demonstrate the basics of the standard (Beginning)
- Not Assessed (N/A)
Student Learning Expectations
South Burlington High School’s Student Learning Expectations (SLE) are transferable skills that reach across the content areas and prepare students for college, career and life in general. Educators use a diverse array of proficiency-based assessment tools to measure both content and the SLEs throughout the year and report on the SLEs via proficiency-based reporting (class of 2020 and beyond).
Clear and Effective Communication
Creative and Practical Problem Solving
Responsible and Involved Citizenship
Content Area Proficiencies
From the Desk of Principal Patrick Burke:
2020 Vision: Proficiency Based Learning at South Burlington High School
Moving Away from Exam Weeks at SBHS