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Standard Reference Reporting and Proficiency Scales

Standards Reference Instruction, Grading, & Reporting

For several years, at the elementary level, information on student progress has been reported out using a standards-referenced system which focuses students’ learning on standards (key skills and knowledge) of a given content area (i.e. math, reading, science, health, etc.). The purpose of using a standards-referenced system is to provide students, parents, and educators accurate feedback regarding where a student is at in relation to important learning targets (aka: priority standards).


Proficiency scales are used to further clarify where students are at on their learning journey in relation to a specific priority standard. A proficiency scale takes a priority standard and breaks it down into four parts that identifies what skills, knowledge, and vocabulary a student possesses in relation to the standard. 


To help clarify this we will use the example of riding a bike.


In this example our Priority Standard is:  Ride a bike independently


The Proficiency Scale in relation to this standard might be (general description as it relates to academic content in parenthesis):

  • Score 1.0: Student can, with training wheels and adult support, ride a bike (Student is emerging in skill and knowledge. With help the student can achieve partial success with simpler processes and vocabulary related to priority standard).
  • Score 2.0: Student can generate power to propel bike independently but requires assistance of training wheels to stay up (Student has built foundational knowledge and vocabulary that is a prerequisite to demonstrating understanding of priority standard).
  • Score 3.0: Student can ride bike independently without the help of an adult or training wheels. **This is the goal for students** (Student has mastered the skills, vocabulary, and understanding required to meet the expectations of the priority standard)
  • Score 4.0: In addition to score 3.0 performance such as  can ride with no hands, do a wheelie, perform tricks, etc. (Student applies knowledge and skills that go beyond what was taught).


The scores you see in PowerSchool are reported at the priority standard level. 


Learning is an ever-evolving process. The information in PowerSchool provides insight into your child’s learning in relation to a priority standard at that point in time. Scores are not finalized until the end of the year.


CLICK HERE to access information on Powerschool, including how to access and interpret Standards Reference Grades via the PowerSchool program/


For Examples of West Ada Proficiency Scales click below.

Kinder Math Proficiency Scale Example

1st Grade Math Proficiency Scale Example

2nd Grade Math Proficiency Scale Example

3rd Grade Math Proficiency Scale Example

4th Grade Math Proficiency Scale Example

5th Grade Math Proficiency Scale Example


CLICK HERE for answers to frequently asked questions about Standards Reference Instruction, Grading, and Reporting


For additional information on Standards Referenced Reporting and Proficiency Scales CLICK HERE


Sources Used: West Ada School District Elementary Standards-Reference Instruction Parent Guide CLICK HERE , District 100 Proficiency Based Grading CLICK HERE).