We are always looking to get better in what we do in the classroom and as a building. We continuously improve our lessons, units, instruction and curriculum. Over the past six years we have all been working hard to improve student learning. We have added many hands-on projects, interdisciplinary and expeditionary units to help raise the bar of expectations and engage students. All of our new units are aligned to national curriculum standards. When we look at the state and national test scores of our students, we feel the instructional changes at the middle school have been very good for our kids. With that said we are never done looking at improving our practice. Current eighth graders around the state will be the first Maine students to graduate high school with the new “Proficiency Based Diploma”. If you are interested in learning more about this, you can read about it at the Maine Department of Education website here: https://maine.gov/doe/proficiency/about/proficiency-based.html . RSU5 has been working to get ready for this for several years with guidance and input from a committee of teachers, students, parents and administrators.
Proficiency-based grading gives parents and students more focused feedback about their progress. Traditional scoring doesn’t provide a clear enough snapshot of what students actually know and can do, because they mix together what a student has learned with the effort the student displays. With traditional grading, a student who tries really hard but still struggles to understand the work might get a B+. Another student who grasp the work, but barely puts in any effort, might also get a B+. Proficiency based assessment is different, because it sets clear targets for learning, measures progress towards these targets, and then assesses a student’s habits of work separately from the academic learning. Students will get one set of grades that show progress towards meeting academic standards, and a second set of grades for the Habits of Work (HoW) that the student is using.
Using standards based assessments helps us do a better job of teaching, because it focuses more specifically on what the targets being worked on are.
Standards-Based grades are:
4 - Exceeding the Standard
3 - Meets the Standard
2 - Partially Meets the Standard
1 - Does not Meet the Standard
HABITS OF WORK (HoW)
We strongly believe that a student’s success and achievement is closely related to strong work ethic, persistence and positive classroom behaviors. We have selected four key habits to teach, give feedback on, and assess.
The Habits of Work grades reflect the belief that if these behaviors are evident, then students will be successful academically and socially at school. These grades are based on the belief that students can develop behaviors which support their own academic and interpersonal growth.
Habits of Work Criteria:
Respect: respect for the ideas, feelings, and property of others
Preparedness: timeliness, organization, homework completion
Engagement: participation, interpersonal involvement, group-work
Determination: ability to self-assess; persistence, effective use of feedback.
Similarities and differences this year in PowerSchool:
- Students will not receive a letter grade score to go along with their 1-4 score.
- Everything else in PowerSchool will look very similar.
- There will be Habits of Work grades for all classes
- There will be an overall course grade
- There will be test/quiz/project/homework listed in powerschool
- Please click on the following link to get a tutorial on how to navigate PowerSchool as a parent. https://youtu.be/vaa_qimcCs8
If you have any questions about specific grades, please contact your child’s teacher. If you have login issues, please contact the FMS main office.