Category: State Directives

School districts in Maine rethink PBL

With the change in the law, districts throughout the state are reassessing where they stand and where they want to go.

York schools recently decided that they weren’t ready to move to a full PBL implementation, and will be granting credit-based diplomas and using a traditional grading system. The principal sent out a letter to the parents, explaining his and his vice principal’s thoughts on the matter and what it means for the students in the district.

Just as in our district, RSU9 is now revisiting PBL and its efficacy and implementation.

Per comments online and the latest school board meeting, it looks like MSAD75 (Topsham – Mt. Ararat) is also moving back to 0-100 — and they are reopening the conversation for PBL in younger grades, as well (not just high school).

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Legislators vote to ease Maine’s proficiency-based education mandate, allow more ‘local control’

AUGUSTA — Six years after Maine became one of the first few states to adopt new high school graduation standards, lawmakers are poised to roll back those requirements by allowing school districts to decide whether to issue proficiency-based diplomas.

Both the House and the Senate voted Tuesday night to eliminate the state mandate that students demonstrate proficiency in eight key areas – including math, English and science/technology – to graduate. Rather than repeal the 6-year-old reform law altogether, the bill would enable school districts to choose whether to continue using proficiency-based standards or revert to the traditional system of courses, A through F grades and credits to qualify for graduation.

The bill has not yet been sent to the governor.

Read the full article:

https://www.pressherald.com/2018/06/27/lawmakers-vote-to-eliminate-proficiency-based-education-mandate-in-maine/

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Frustrated Maine Parents Rally Against Proficiency-Based Learning

A state law passed in 2012 is radically changing education in Maine, and few seem to understand it

Frustrated Maine parents rally against proficiency-based learning

 

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Meltzer: Education law fixes are flawed: Mandates called ‘ridiculous, absurd’

From the article:

 

“Nobody does all the learning results,” she continued. “We know no one is doing it because you can’t do it. So, districts have been picking and choosing.”

School districts across the state have taken three different approaches to the proficiency law, according to Meltzer.

“Many of the wealthier, well-performing districts that don’t get a lot [of money] from the state are doing what they always did,” she said. “They’re not doing anything different, but they’re calling it whatever it is the state says they have to call it.”

“Then there were a lot of districts that said, ‘We’re just going to wait and see what we absolutely have to do.’”

Meltzer said another group of school districts, including the MDIRSS, have tried to adopt parts of the law that they think are worthwhile.

And she said that, as with the original law, the proposed amendments were drafted without a thorough, statewide discussion of educational goals and a consensus on how to achieve them. In addition, she said, it isn’t at all clear what some of the proposed amendments mean.

“What does it mean to have multiple pathways for career education at elementary, middle and high school, for example? I don’t know what that even means.”

Meltzer said she and other curriculum coordinators around the state were “really energized by the idea that we would hold ourselves accountable for certain things we felt were important for kids to leave school with.”

But she said the Department of Education has lacked the money, personnel and leadership to help school districts implement a uniform program of proficiency-based learning standards.

Meltzer: Education law fixes are flawed: Mandates called ‘ridiculous, absurd’

 

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Proficiency diploma requirements changing?

A 2012 reform measure should be retooled, say Maine education officials, sending tremors through districts where transition has already begun.

 

https://www.pressherald.com/2018/03/04/state-backs-away-from-proficiency-based-graduation-standards/

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Opinion piece on proficiency-based education and Maine law

Below is a link to nice overview that explains that Maine’s LD 1422 (passed in 2012) mandates a “proficiency diploma” for graduation — it does NOT mandate Proficiency-Based Learning/Proficiency-Based Education as the only means for districts to meet this requirement. You can view Maine’s statute here.

A key excerpt from the post (linked below):

This method [proficiency-based learning/education] is not part of the law, nor is it a recognized system validated through rigorous and objective research. Rather it is an amalgam of tools and methods that the department has embraced and advertised as necessary to put the law in place. It [Maine’s Department of Education] mounted an entire website devoted to it and sent out a slew of consultants to help schools adopt it. Bearing the education department seal of approval, this method has permeated almost every school and classroom in the state without legislative mandate or public discussion and debate. It has erroneously become viewed as having the weight of law.

 

The proficiency-based diploma: There was a better way

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