RSU 9 directors adopt blended grading system

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FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 directors voted 12-4 Tuesday evening to have the traditional 0-100 grades and 1-4 proficiency-based education grades.

Last week, the board voted unanimously to have administrators propose a plan that would incorporate both grading systems.

Proficiency-based education is an academic instruction, assessment, grading and reporting system that requires students to demonstrate they have mastered a defined set of skills before moving on to the next set.

Traditional assessments are based on grades of 0-100. Proficiency-based assessments are reported on a 1-4 grade; 1 for not proficient, 2 for partially proficient, 3 for proficient and 4 for exceeding proficiency.

Superintendent Tina Meserve stated the administration team worked hard to come up with proposal but felt staff should be involved in the process. Three plans were presented to teachers on Monday, Meserve said.

“We gave staff time to speak and ask questions. A vast majority of staff were in favor of the second option,” Meserve said.

Curriculum Coordinator Laura Columbia said teachers in grades six to 12 took part in the review.

“For practical discussion, we asked staff to review their first unit using the favored option. We have walked away with a recommendation,” Meserve said.

Under the proposal, a numerical range of 0-100 would be assigned to each proficiency level. Students would still need to demonstrate mastering skill sets, she added.

“For example, if a student exceeds a set of skills, they would get a numerical score of perhaps 90-100,” Columbia said.

The numerical range to be assigned to each proficiency-based level had not yet been finalized but it would be consistent, Columbia added.

In regards to issuing proficiency-based diplomas, Meserve noted it was not imperative to make a final decision because the Legislature had not completed rule-making on the new law.

A state law establishing proficiency-based education graduation standards went into effect in 2017, affecting last year’s freshmen. The Legislature passed a law in July which repealed the requirement that high schools issue proficiency-based diplomas.

Chesterville director Craig Stickney noted all three options had not been presented to the board.

“I haven’t had a chance to look at all this, so I am not going to vote for this,” Stickney said.

In other news, directors voted unanimously to hire Lisa Sinclair as principal of Cape Cod Hill School.

Director Iris Silverstein of Farmington also noted Mt. Blue High School teacher Dan Ryder was named a recipient of the 2019 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence on Monday.

Ryder is one of five teachers nationwide to earn the prestigious award. He will travel to Washington, D.C. in February to receive the award and $10,000 during the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala.

dmenear@thefranklinjournal.com

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