Say NO to the adoption of a Proficiency-Based Reporting System in MSAD 75

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This petition is intended for residents of Topsham, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, and Harpswell- the four towns that make up the MSAD 75 school district. Please take time to understand the concerns parents and students have raised, regarding how proficiency-based learning is impacting our schools and community.  

Maine Law states that all high school graduates must receive a proficiency-based diploma. It does NOT state that districts must adopt a proficiency-based reporting system district-wide.

After piloting the proficiency-based reporting system in MSAD 75, there are still many questions that have gone unanswered. In fact, when a proficiency-based reporting system was first piloted at the middle school, parents believed it was not an option, but a requirement of the state.  As parents discovered that this was a choice at the district level, they began sharing their concerns in writing and publicly, however, their voice has not been heard. The student representatives on the school board report that students are not understanding this new system as well.  In the months to come, the school board will be voting on whether to adopt this reporting system district-wide. The Superintendent, Brad Smith, stated at the school board meeting in December that once a proficiency-based reporting system is adopted district wide, letter grades would no longer be reported. Many students, parents, educators and community members have concerns with the adoption of this grading system.

If you believe the school board should vote against adopting PBL district-wide based on one or more of the reasons listed below, please sign this petition and let your voice be heard:

1. There is no evidence that this reporting system is a better way to explain where students are in their learning. Many parents report that they are less informed about their student's progress.  Where is the research to prove the effectiveness of this approach?

2. Administration has not been able to clearly answer questions of parents/students around what constitutes a 1, 2, 3, or 4.  How can this be a fair system with so many inconsistencies? 

3. Students are unsure of the path to proficiency and beyond.  How can students be held accountable for their own growth when the steps to get to the next level are unclear?

4. Student motivation is greatly reduced since they may retake tests until they show proficiency.  How does this prepare students for the real world where deadlines are a reality?

5. There will no longer be an honor roll to acknowledge students for their academic achievements.   How will this impact students who are motivated by making the honor roll? 

6. Instead of an honor roll, students will get acknowledged for their HOW scores, which stands for Habits of Work. (For example, participating in class, coming to class with a sharpened pencil, walking into class quietly, arriving on time are a few ways in which students are scored).  Should schools be scoring and tracking student behavior daily throughout their educational career? Is a students ability to following the school standard operating procedures and behavioral expectations an indicator of their success in life?  How does this impact students with a 504, an IEP, or other students who struggle with behavior?  

7. This reporting system limits opportunities beyond high school. Many colleges across the nation use the GPA of applicants to determine admission into their programs. Also, this effects opportunities for students relying on scholarship money that is determined by GPA.  In addition, most colleges have no idea how to interpret a HOW score.  How will this reporting system impact opportunities after high school, especially for students applying to highly competitive colleges/programs across the country? 

8. Parents are searching for alternatives.  Many already have left MSAD 75 and enrolled their children into private schools because they do not understand or see the benefit of this reporting system for their children's future.  While it was more common to see this at the high school level, now parents are looking for other options as early as middle school.  How will this impact funding for our schools?  Why should parents and students in our community feel as though the need to look elsewhere? 

9. Districts across Maine have adopted and then dropped this type of reporting system because of the many problems associated with it. What were the reasons for dropping this reporting system for those districts?

10. Administration has not reported out the total costs associated with adopting this new grading system.  What is the total costs to tax payers in consultation fees, trainings for administrators, teachers and support staff, and technonlogy needed to report out to parents and students (the EmPower reporting tool and training that goes along with using this tool)? Clearly, there is much more training needed, and how much will that costs?  

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