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Proficiency-based Learning

As defined on the Maine DOE website, the term "Proficiency-based Learning" (PbL) refers to systems of instruction, assessment, grading and academic reporting that are based on students demonstrating proficiency of the knowledge and skills they are expected to learn before they are promoted to the next grade level, or receive a high school diploma.

The goal of proficiency-based learning is to ensure that students acquire the knowledge and skills that are deemed to be essential to success in school, higher education, careers and adult life. If students fail to meet expected standards, they typically receive additional instruction, practice time and academic support to help them achieve proficiency. These standards include content-specific knowledge and skills as well as cross-curricular skills. Examples of cross-curricular standards include such skills as critical thinking and problem solving as well as dispositions like perseverance and curiosity.

The SPSD Proficiency-based Learning System is built according to these beliefs:

  • Students have concrete and transparent learning targets with multiple opportunities to show their proficiency.
  • A proficiency score is based exclusively on a student’s understanding and is not impacted positively or negatively by a student’s Habits of Work; however, both are equally important for ensuring student success.
  • In order to provide more accurate and meaningful feedback, student learning is measured over time as opposed to an isolated point in time.