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Hello Ken,
I am currently sitting on a committee trying to rewrite our schools report cards. We are currently trying to decide how many different qualifiers to use. We currently have a developing, meets and unable to assess. We are trying to decide if we should have one or two qualifiers above meets. We have had some very different and intense conversations and would like your opinion on if there should be two different qualifiers for above standards and if so should we also have two for below? Thanks for your support.

Trina Ertman


I do not believe that there are a ‘magic’ or right number of levels. Ideally I think we would
only use two (proficient/not proficient) but I think there are good reasons to identify
performance above proficient and to separate below proficient into close and a long way
off. How many levels you have above proficient depends on what purpose you believe
would be served by having more than one level. For example, the International
Baccalaureate program sees itself as a ‘high end’ program so uses seven levels including
three above proficiency.




What is your definition of proficient? If that were to be the performance grade on a report card
, how would you define it?

The Grade Doctor's


Defining performance standards clearly and concisely is one of our most difficult challenges. Two words sum it up for me "Got it" or "Nailed it" but we obviously need more formal language so here are two examples (not models) -
"This level of achievement describes assessment evidence that demonstrates skilled performance in relation to the learner outcomes from the Alberta programs of study. The evidence is characterized by a solid understanding of subject-area content, and it proficiently demonstrates the knowledge and skills at this grade level at the time of the report card."
"3 Proficient: The student demonstrates mastery of the grade level standards at the cognitive level the standard is written. The student consistently grasps and applies key concepts, processes and skills with limited errors. "
These generic descriptors form the base for the task.subject/grade level performance standards that teachers make clear through rubrics, marking schemes and exemplars.