Parents' guide to graduation

Elementary Grading

Understanding grading practices will help parents know how students are doing in school.

Example Elementary Progress Report

Example Elementary Progress Report

Grading Practices

Grading practices have changed since most parents were in elementary school. Many school districts in Oregon, including Salem-Keizer, now use proficiency scoring to report student progress.

Self management, social awareness, and responsible decision making are still important measures of student performance, and they are reported separately from proficiency scores. They are shown on the elementary progress report as “social emotional learning.”

How It’s Different

Proficiency scores can’t be compared to the traditional letter grade system many parents are familiar with.

Traditional letter grades show a student’s performance on a list of tasks, such as homework, quizzes, participation, tests, etc. It compares students against a classroom average or a percentage range, but it doesn’t show if a student is learning what they need to learn every year to stay on track…proficiency scoring does show this.

Proficiency scores show how much a student has learned in relation to an end-of-year standard. It also shows how much further they have to go before they meet the standard.

In a proficiency-based scoring system, student scores are based on progress toward achieving year-end content standards. For this reason, proficiency scoring is sometimes referred to as “standards-based grading.”

How Proficiency Grading Helps

Because proficiency scoring shows progress toward standards, proficiency scoring helps increase student learning. It helps teachers find gaps in learning and focus instruction in those areas.

It’s a way for teachers to individualize instruction and meet each student’s unique needs and allows each student to make progress toward the year-end learning goal at a pace that matches their individual learning style.

How It Works

Proficiency scores at the elementary level are reported on a scale of 1 to 4. A score of 3 means the student has mastered a standard, or reached proficiency.

The goal is for students to reach at least a score of 3 (proficient) by the end of the school year after all instruction about a standard has been given.

Proficiency Level Scale

This scale shows academic and social emotional proficiency levels.

4 Exceeds proficiency at grade level
3 Proficient at grade level
2 Developing proficiency at grade level
1 Limited proficiency at grade level
/ Taught, but not assessed
X, Blank Not applicable at this time