Spaulding High School, and all public high schools in the state of Vermont, is implementing a Proficiency-Based Learning system in the 2016-2017 school year. Proficiency-Based Learning is a key component of a flexible and personalized pathway, set forth by Act 77, and Vermont’s State Board of Education Quality Standards. The goal of Proficiency-Based Learning is to raise the bar for all students, improve clarity, and create equity. By improving clarity and making learning goals more explicit, more students will have a chance to be successful and acquire the necessary skills needed in adult life.

This posting will be an attempt to inform our community about this new system and to answer the questions it is sure to generate.

Please email your questions to Mr. Ferland at: jferlshs@u61.net


Below are examples of questions which have been asked to this point.  Click on a question to reveal the answer.


Yes. The grading scale will remain as it has been in the past, however, students will now be graded on a scale of Exemplary-No Evidence reflecting a student’s success in attaining proficiency in a specific standard. A student must achieve a minimum level of Partially Proficient to earn credit in a course. If a student fails to earn credit, their grade will be still be used to calculate their GPA. The Exemplary-No Evidence Scale is represented below:

Exemplary = 4.0

Partially Exemplary = 3.5

Proficient = 3.0

Partially Proficient = 2.5

Developing = 2.0 (no credit given)

Beginning = 1.0 (no credit given)

Incomplete/No Evidence* – 0.0 (no credit given)

*No Evidence is defined in one of two ways (contact the teacher for clarity if needed):

  1. Student has not turned work in to provide evidence.
  2. Student has turned in work but the work does not address the standard being assessed.


Yes. Student grades will be weighted for students taking those courses. The grading scale will remain as it has been in the past, however, students will now be graded on a scale of Exemplary-Beginning reflecting a student’s success in attaining proficiency is a specific standard. As stated above, a student must achieve proficiency, or exceed proficiency, to earn credit in an AP or Honors course. If a student fails to earn credit, their grade will still be used to calculate their GPA. For AP and Honors courses, the Exemplary-Beginning Scale is represented below:

Exemplary = 4.33

Partially Exemplary = 3.83

Proficient = 3.33

Partially Proficient = 2.83

Developing = 2.33 (no credit given)

Beginning = 1.33 (no credit given)

Incomplete/No Evidence* – 0.0 (no credit given)


*No Evidence is defined in one of two ways (contact the teacher for clarity if needed):

1. Student has not turned work in to provide evidence.

2. Student has turned in work but the work does not address the standard being assessed.


Transferable Skills are behaviors that students learn and demonstrate in order to achieve success in all walks of life. A successful Spaulding High School graduate will be one who has demonstrated proficiency in subject content areas and in the behaviors of a productive community member.  Instituting Transferable Skill assessment conveys to students and the larger school community the importance of acquiring and habituating these behaviors. A separate Transferable Skills grade allows a teacher to keep feedback on academic achievement separate from feedback on behavioral achievement while highlighting the importance of both.

The Transferable Skills standard appears in every class. The standard communicates the degree to which the student demonstrates certain behaviors. At Spaulding High School, the behaviors currently being assessed are:

  • Respect
  • Perseverance
  • Accountability/Responsibility
  • Effort

The rubric being used to assess student performance in these four behaviors can be found on page 13 of the Parent & Student Handbook on the school’s website at shsu61.org.


At the end of each quarter, students must have Transferable Skills’ grades of 3s (Usually) or 4s (Consistently) in all assessed areas for each course. Students who meet these criteria are fully eligible to participate in all extra-curricular activities.

Any student who receives a 1 (Rarely) or a 2 (Occasionally) in any Transferable Skill for any course at the end of a marking period will be notified by school personnel (Guidance Counselor, Athletic/Activities Director, Principal, or Teacher Advisor). Barring the presence of of extenuating circumstances*, the student will become ineligible to participate in all extra-curricular activities. Should the student choose to continue with, or begin, an activity, he/she must meet with the Athletic/Activities Director to be placed on probation.

Probation consists of:

  • Continue (or begin) practicing/meeting with his/her team’s group
  • No participation in games/contests/competitions (may sit on bench at home games)
  • No early dismissal from school to travel with team or group to away events (after school/Saturday travel is okay)

Individual course Transferable Skills will be reviewed by the Athletic/Activities Director at the first progress report of the next marking period. The review will result in one of the following:

  • If the student is receiving a 3 or a 4 in all Transferable Skills for each course, then he/she will be reinstated to full participation
  • If the student is receiving a 1 or a 2 in any Transferable Skill for any course, the he/she will be declared ineligible for the remainder of the marking period


If students do not immediately meet proficiency during the course, they will have additional learning opportunities that will be planned out between the individual student and the teacher. Students may have different learning opportunities, review past learning opportunities, and/or access help and instruction during Academic Advisory, Math Tutorial, and/or Proficiency Support Group.

Math Tutorial is available at the following times:

1. Before School (7:05 AM – 7:35 AM)
• Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (Room 106)
2. After School (3:05 PM – 3:35 PM)
• Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (Room 104)

Proficiency Support is available at the following times:

1. After School (3:10 PM – 3:40 PM)
• Monday, Wednesday, Thursday (Room 210)

Students have many supports they can access, but they are responsible for their own learning, and need to take responsibility for seeking out appropriate supports and following through with plans.


If students have not met proficiency by the end of the course, students may be granted an Incomplete. An Incomplete will be granted by the teacher if:

• The student has extenuating circumstances.
• The student has Consistently or Usually met Transferable Skills expectations.
• The student has arranged a reasonable plan with the teacher.

An Incomplete will be granted for a two week period. Generally, extensions will not be granted at the end of quarter four.


Student transcripts and student report cards will look very similar to the format used under the traditional letter grade system. The only difference to the student transcript is that a letter grade (A-, for example) will be replaced with words (Proficient, for example). Transcript statistics, such as, Grade Point Average and Class rank, will still be prominently featured at the top of the transcript. Samples of freshman transcript and an upperclassman transcript are linked below:

Freshman Transcript

Upperclassman Transcript

Similarly, student report cards will appear much as they have in the past. One change is that the student’s Transferable Skills grades will be displayed on the report card, along with the student’s grades in the Proficiency Standards for each course. Two areas of note in regards to student report cards:

  • The GPA Summary is representative of a student’s final grades in their courses. A Quarter 1 grade, for example, from a semester long course, is not reflected in a student’s cumulative GPA. This was true under the traditional grading system and it is still true now.
  • Students in semester-long or year-long courses should view in-term grades (Quarter 1, for example) as a progress report grade, not a final grade.

A sample report card is displayed below:

Sample Report Card

Note: A hard copy of the First Quarter Report Card will be issued to students during Advisory on Monday, November 7, 2016. Students will also receive a hard copy of a report card template detailing any Proficiency-Based additions to the report card. The distribution of these hard copies will occur only during the first quarter. Report cards will be available electronically, as always, on Infinite Campus.


Proficiency based learning does not mean that students do not have deadlines.  Students are expected to turn in learning tasks or complete assessments when due, as outlined by the teacher.  If a learning task is not turned in, “missing” will be recorded.  If an assessment is not completed, NE (No Evidence) will be recorded.  If record keeping is not kept for learning tasks in IC, communication directly to the parent and student should happen, especially if a pattern is developing.  Transferable Skills – Accountability & Responsibility will also reflect istudent consistency in turning in learning tasks.


Students who do not initially meet the desired level of proficiency may develop a reassessment plan with the teacher.  The reassessment plan may include strategies such as meeting with the teacher, completing additional learning tasks, and/or revisiting earlier learning tasks.  If a student has not yet met the desired level of proficiency after the plan but has made some progress, additional plans may be arranged.


The rubric for transferable skills focuses upon the consistency demonstrated in the categories of accountability & responsibility, effort, perseverance and respect. Each category must be scored at least once every two weeks for each course.  This score indicates the student’s consistency (consistently, usually, occasionally, rarely) in each area during that time frame.  At the mid-quarter and end of the quarter marks, a posted score is given, which summarizes the overall student performance to date.

See rubric below:



Transferable skills are used to provide feedback on respect, accountability, perseverance and effort - these are areas that help students be successful in academic life and in life after high school.  Scores are also used to determine athletic & drama eligibility.  The transferable skills do not have any direct impact on a student earning credit for a course (although the habits of transferable skills might!).  Students who show proficiency in meeting the standards in a course, as outlined by the Course Performance Outline, will earn credit for the course; students who do not show proficiency, will not earn credit - regardless of what the transferable skills scores are.