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Proficiency Based Learning

Transforming to Proficiency:  Element 1

Standards and Indicators

What are graduation standards and performance indicators?

Graduation standards reflect the broad, integrated concepts of each discipline and require students to demonstrate, apply, and evaluate knowledge in multiple ways—what we refer to as “transfer.” Performance indicators break down the more comprehensive graduation standards into learnable and measurable targets. They target knowledge applications from classroom assignments, projects, and assessments over a range of courses and throughout a student’s high school years. Over time, Demonstration Tasks on performance indicators are used to certify achievement of a graduation standard.

You can see samples of the relationship between standards, performance indicators, and learning targets here.

Why are graduation standards and performance indicators important?

The work of identifying standards and performance indicators is the foundation of the first three Principles of Proficiency Based Learning:  Clear Learning Expectations; Common Standards; and Standards-Based Reporting.  Identifying the standards and performance indicators we will work with allows us to communicate clear and consistent learning expectations with each other, and to students and families.  It ensures that all students will be measured on knowing and being able to do the same things, and that reports on learning will be based on their progress towards a clear and common end result.

What supports and resources will help to create and house the identification of standards and performance indicators?

For a broad overview of the work entailed in developing standards and performance indicators, you can check out this webinar:

Webinar:  Proficiency-Based Learning Simplified: Developing Effective Graduation Standards and Performance Indicators

Additionally, these resources will support the process of developing standards and performance indicators:

Development Resources: 

And, these resources represent the existing bank of standards and performance indicators from which you can draw:

Standards Resources:

Once identified, standards and performance indicators will be uploaded to the platforms we use to document curriculum and instruction and to report grades.  Right now, that list includes Infinite Campus, Rubicon Atlas, and Schoology.

If I wanted to learn more about this, what other learning opportunities could I look for to deepen my understanding?

The Great Schools Partnership ( and the League of Innovative Schools (LIS) member site at the New England Secondary Schools Consortium (; username: lakeregionme; password: nessc1) have tons of resources available on every aspect of Proficiency Based Learning.  

To better grasp the context, meaning, and implications of content area standards, there are any number of workshops and conferences devoted to disseminating and unpacking those standards.  The standards websites listed above may contain links to those learning opportunities; so too will the websites and publications for the content area professional associations.

And, of course, many schools in Maine are doing this work.  You can always check out the websites of other schools and districts in the area, and from the list of schools on the LIS website, for examples of how others have identified their standards and indicators.

If I have more questions or need support, whom can I ask at LRHS?

At this point, most of the content leaders have had at least some exposure to the concepts of standards and performance indicators in a professional learning context.  If they don’t have the answer, you should bring your questions right to Erik and Maggie.

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