Month: April 2018

Extended reading about PBE

In my quest to find unbiased research (as in not paid for by some organization that financially benefits from the PBE restructuring of our schools), I’ve run into a few pieces that shed a bit of a light. Unsurprisingly, most of them specifically mention that there’s no real evidence-based research showing the supposed benefits of standards, competency or proficiency-based education. Often, what is shared (and sometimes posed as a success story) is anecdotal and not necessarily something that is easily replicated — because each student, each teacher, each school, each school district (especially here in Maine) is unique.

COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION: An Overview for Michigan’s Superintendents (Source: — Maine is cited throughout

PRELIMINARY IMPLEMENTATION OF MAINE’S PROFICIENCY‐BASED DIPLOMA PROGRAM (Source: — Not a research paper, but an article that cites quite a lot of other education research

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From A’s and F’s to 3’s and 4’s: Why ‘proficiency-based grading’ is so controversial in Maine

The new grading system is not mandated as part of the diploma law. But nearly two-thirds of Maine’s districts adopted some form of proficiency-based grading.

One district that chose to stick with traditional grades was Yarmouth.

“We took the emotion out by not jumping on the bandwagon and adding 1-4 grading, and saying that makes our school better,” Yarmouth Superintendent Andrew Dolloff said. “I just don’t see how that makes your school better.”

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Proficiency-based diploma under scrutiny

An excerpt from the article: one interviewee, Laurie Edminster “said her job is to implement software systems for college admissions offices that track applicants and all their information. She said she asked an admissions officer at a Boston university about proficiency-based grading systems, “and she rolled her eyes at me. She said, ‘We put those in a separate pile because we can’t differentiate students.’ Admissions software does not track a separate HOWLs grade (habits of work and learning) so it will not be used in the admissions process, and here we are making a big deal of separating it out.”


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