Why Proficiency?

Proficiency. Competency. Mastery. Standards-based.

Whatever you call it, educators across the United States are looking for a better way to engage students, measure learning, and assess performance. And if you're reading this page, you probably feel the same way.


Proficiency based education (sometimes called competency-based, standards-based, or mastery learning, depending on where you live) is grounded in the following principles:
  • Teachers are in the business of helping every child reach their potential (not just the "smart" or "talented" ones).
  • Timely and targeted feedback is essential for student learning.
  • Students deserve to know what success looks like in any subject area. No more "guess for success."
  • The three Ps -- progress, process, and product -- are all important! But lumping them all together into a single score or letter grade does not help students understand how to improve.
  • Equity. When compliance data (e.g. showing up on time, raising your hand, sitting still, etc.) are reported separately from performance...the playing field is more level for all students.


Move From a Culture of Compliance 
to a Culture of Learning

A Culture of Learning...

Serves Students
Proficiency scoring and reporting informs students what they know and how they can improve skills. Rubrics define what it means to attain proficiency and mastery as well as define why a student may not yet have gotten there. When reviewed beforehand, rubrics provide students with a road map for performing well on assignments and focusing on the learning targets.

Invites Parents into the Learning Process
Proficiency scoring and reporting communicates to parents what their child knows and how they can improve skills. Parents can then support their child to develop those specific skills. Proficiency based scoring and reporting shows parents that we truly want them to be our partners in the learning process.

Treats Teachers as Professionals
Proficiency scoring and reporting allows teachers to focus on learning objectives. Rubrics bring transparency to the grading process and reduce parent concerns about subjectivity. Teachers are far better able to assess who has truly learned the standards/material and meet all students where they are. 
Learn More
Rethinking Grading
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The Perfect Assessment System
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How to Grade for Learning
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* SmartEd Systems has no connection to these authors, financial or otherwise. We just really like the books!