It is widely known that Boothbay Region High School will be moving towards proficiency-based grading in the year to come. However, many students, parents, and teachers do not know what this change will entail. As a student of Boothbay Region High School, I had always been very against standards based grading with a lot of different concerns: such as, What will colleges think looking at only standards? How will parents and students be able to make sense of the new four-point scale?
When preparing to write this editorial, I held a very strong opinion against the proficiency-based grading and went to the school principal, Mr. Welch, to get further evidence. While talking to Mr. Welch about the proficiency-based grading, I realized it was not going to be the same grading we had in middle school, and that the opinions of most of those against the new system are mostly based on misinformation.
How will proficiency-based grading work? Teachers and administrators are still in the process of figuring that out, but what I have gathered through my interview with Mr. Welch is that there are two possible options. The first would be the standards that students are required to meet and their GPAs would be completely separate. This would mean that students would choose pieces of school work that they felt exemplified proficiency in the standards. These would not affect the student’s GPA at all.
The second option is that the GPA would be based on the standards. Each standard would be worth a certain amount of points that would be entered into the grade book and would count towards the student’s overall GPA. The issue with this option, is the question of whether teachers would individually come up with the conversion of points from a four point scale to a 100 point scale, or if there will be a school-wide conversion chart. My recommendation if this were the option the school was going to go with, would be a school-wide conversion chart so students know the expectations are the same in every class.
How will the school decide if a student is proficient in the different categories? The implication of a program known as Richer Picture will allow for students to submit the work they have done in the classroom that demonstrate their proficiency. Even though the administrators and teachers have been working hard to come up with the system that will work best for the students, there is still work to be done and much to be decided. More information will be presented later in the year when more has been decided.
I personally believe that the school should have the proficiency-based grading and the GPA separate from each other so that it does not affect the students’ GPAs. This would allow for a compromise between those who are in favor of the standards and those who are not. This way students would still have to meet all of the standards for graduation, but their GPA would be calculated the same way as before.