This year we continue with our Student-Led Parent Conferences on October 20 which focuses on the beginning of this year's Personal Learning Portfolios (PLPs). You can set up an appointment for this at Open House (September 29th at 5:30 - 7:00pm), or call Megan at 888-1401. The portfolios are just one component of Vermont's Act 77 of which you may be aware calls for a transition to a more personalized education system in Vermont. At PAML we have been working hard for several years to prepare for the shifts that have been called for and are well positioned as we move forward.
Grading and reporting is a component that we have been working on. You may have heard your students talk about learning scales which are a part of a proficiency-based learning system (PBL). The idea behind grading and reporting based on profiencies is that we look at evidence of where students are and compare that to the particular profiencies they are working on. We still look at students' effort and work habits, but those skills aren't involved in the evaluation of a specific proficiency. We need to report on what students know, what they can do, and where they need to go in moving forward. This allows students to show us growth over time, and they will be able to redo and refine their work after feedback.
In order to do this effectively, we are now using a Learning Management System (LMS) called Schoology to track and assess learning. It is a technology tool designed to help shift from the idea of grades as something that always comes at the end of learning, to the idea that grades or, rather assessment, is part of learning. Schoology is a tool for us and it will be capable of sending grades to Parent Portal. By now you may have experienced the fact that your student's grades are not appearing in Parent Portal. We hope that by Friday, September 30, 2016, progress reporting will be seen through Parent Portal as usual. Be assured teachers are assessing students and grades are being recorded.
It may be of interest to you to sit down with your student and view their Schoology accounts with them. Each student has an account/password and they should be able to share that with you on their iPad. You can chat about grades as well as interests, goals, and plans. These are some of the conversations we are having with students as they work on their portfolios. We envision students understanding their learning, creating learning goals, and reflecting on their evidence of learning; all going together in this proficiency environment. I'll have more information on this in future posts. Please plan to attend Student-Led Parent Conferences on October 20th to learn more about your child's year at PAML.
Here are two more links for further information about PBL for you to peruse.
10 Principles of Proficiency Learning
Act 77:AOE - EQS Annotated.pdf