TOPSHAM — Some parents in School Administrative District 75 have started a petition hoping to convince district officials to abandon proficiency-based education.

The parents said they’re concerned about how a full switch to the system will translate to a transcript for college.

Brandy Robertson gave the example of her middle school student, who was given a 1 based on a learning goal she said her child was not yet expected to be proficient in. She picked up a petition that had started on and began to collect more signatures through Facebook.

“The original had 214 verified people from our district,” Robertson said. “Now 301 people have signed the petition.”

The school board acknowledged it had received the petition at a meeting Thursday night.

With proficiency-based standards, students must show they are proficient in subject areas defined by the district. Grades are given in 1 through 4 instead of the traditional A through F.


In SAD 75, students have learning goals meant to measure proficiency in their subjects.

District teachers have worked to create performance scales to measure students’ learning goals. The scales help identify the knowledge and skills associated with scores between 1 and 4. To determine a score, teachers match student performance to the scales and assign a score accordingly.

How the district moves forward for graduation requirements will be at the center of discussion for the next two months. Six years after adopting new high school graduation standards statewide, legislators put the decision back in the hands of local districts in June. It left an immediate decision to be made for incoming high school freshmen. SAD 75 has already clarified the standard for those freshmen.

Mt. Ararat High School students are still graded A through F scale, but this year’s freshman and sophomore classes were slated to be the first with proficiency-based graduation requirements after an introduction to the system at the middle school level.

“Right now grades 9-12 will utilize the system that’s been in place,” interim Superintendent Dan Chuhta said. “We wanted to be fair to those students to know the graduation requirements.”

SAD 75 plans to address the future of proficiency-based learning. The district will distribute survey for families at parent-teacher conferences to gauge views on how the district should handle proficiency. A workshop focused on the topic is scheduled for Oct. 25.

“We’ll take the first two months of the school year to essentially make a plan,” Chuhta said.

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