The Challenge

Proficiencies. Wow this is hard. I’ve had countless conversations with my Partner Teacher, Beth Fialko Casey, and every time, I find myself more confused. I do not know what to do. I get what proficiencies are. However, I struggle with developing a way to assess them. I know I have done this (to some degree, anyways) since I began teaching, but it just seems more complicated. The process feels too wordy. The process is overwhelming, and all we have done so far is develop, well almost develop, a Critical Thinking rubric.

So, what have I done… well, to start, I have been more deliberate in allowing my students to rewrite work. I am proud that I have done this. What I am not so proud of is my inability to provide rapid feedback, which I know is important in proficiency based learning. I have also been slowing down my lessons and having more conversations with my students about the material. I know, you’re probably thinking, “ah, why wouldn’t you do that?” To be honest, lack of time and pressure. My 10th grade history cohort has a pacing document for the year. It is broken down to each quarter for what we need to cover. See, pressure. I know I will cover the material, but it does not go without some added stress at times.

This leads me to my next challenge that I have been experiencing with proficiencies: content v. skill. Is one more important than the other? Do we, as in BHS, define proficiencies based off of both or choose one to focus on? Also, who decides the proficiencies: teachers, students, administrators, departments, grades? I know that these are difficult questions to answer, and some may not have a concrete answer. Regardless, I am excited to be part of the proficiency work this year, and cannot wait until Beth and I are able to execute and measure some proficiencies.

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