Defining Student Proficiency

  • February 23, 2018
  • Blog

Defining Student Proficiency

How do we know when a student is “proficient”? Most prominent authors (Marzano, Stiggins, Guskey, etc.) who write about standards-based and standards-referenced grading suggest that ultimately the teacher’s judgment is absolutely critical, but we must still keep close records. Measured judgment, supported by ample evidence, leads to the most accurate and meaningful grades. However, keeping track of each student’s progress relative to every standard with traditional gradebooks and spreadsheets is a monumental task: it either takes an incredible amount of time or is simply never accomplished.

How Forefront Helps Teachers Measure Proficiency

Forefront empowers teachers so that they remain at the center of classroom instruction and can make informed decisions. We help teachers organize and process classroom assessment results, ensuring they have full access to all the information that they need in order to make these very important decisions and understand student performance. The platform is customizable for instructional/assessment curriculums, aligning each task with standards and discrete performance levels to quickly and easily put assessment results into the right baskets.

In line with the ideas of standards-based grading, Forefront places the most value on the most recent information. While the majority of traditional gradebooks average grades equally or apply weighted averages for different types of assessments, Forefront uses the date of the assessment to determine which evidence is most current. The system does not ignore older data: information that is 2 weeks old weighs at ⅓ the weight of the most recent data, data at 3 weeks old weighs at ¼ the weight, and so on. Teachers can also exclude assessments in Forefront so that those assessments have no impact on the calculation of progress toward proficiency.

The Wider Debate

Forefront’s sophisticated tools are not designed to replace teachers, they are designed to inform and empower teachers. Teachers should remain at the center of classroom instruction and have rich, detailed information from meaningful assessments to inform impactful action.

What do you think about the debate on student proficiency? Should teachers play a central role in measuring student proficiency? We would love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below.

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Our team and tools help schools implement standards-based grading, streamline assessment systems, and use meaningful data to drive decision-making.

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