The “C3” Proficiency-based Teaching and Assessment System

The premise: Proficiency-based teaching and learning, coupled with clear and effective assessment empowers learners and gives relevance to learning. However, there are practical concerns as well; if it’s really only about remembering, understanding, and applying the content and a kid can show that he/she can do that through standardized tests and measurements, then do they really need to go to class?

State law requires that grades accurately judge what a student “knows” about the subject and cannot be inordinately influenced by outside factors such as behavior or attendance.

However, this simplistic vision doesn’t address what makes proficiency learning so meaningful. Proficiency should not be simple regurgitation of facts found in a Google search, but instead, proficiency is a holistic approach that measures not just what a student knows, but what a student can do with what he/she knows.

We call this system “C3” – short for Content, Create, Community. In this system, Content learning targets get the bulk of the weight in any class and, rightly, if a kid never came to class, but could, indeed, regurgitate back the content learning targets at a proficient level, then he/she likely deserves the full 60% of the grade that he/she would get. That’s a D. It’s passing, but it’s not proficient. Real proficiency happens when students engage BEYOND the Content; when they Create, and when they work interdependently with their peers and with experts in a Community.

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