Proficiency-Based Learning Simplified is designed to help schools create efficient and effective systems that will ensure all students graduate prepared to succeed in the college, careers, and communities of the 21st century. For this reason, our model is focused on prioritizing and assessing the most critically important knowledge and skills, while also balancing high academic standards with the need for flexibility, responsiveness, and creativity in the classroom.
For proficiency-based learning to be effective, schools and teachers have to prioritize. They will need to determine what knowledge and skills students absolutely need to acquire before they graduate from high school, what content knowledge students need to learn in each subject area, and what essential benchmarks students need to meet as they progress through their education.
Connecticut’s Common Core of Learning (adopted 1997, revised 1998) and the accompanying Connecticut Framework K–12 Curricular Goals and Standards describe what high school graduates should know and be able to do as a result of completing a K–12 educational experience. The Connecticut Core Standards (adopted 2010) updated the Common Core of Learning in English language arts and mathematics. Cross-curricular skills are embedded throughout the content-area standards, and the Foundational Skills and Competencies and Aspects of Character describe the cross-curricular, skill-based standards students are expected to learn and acquire over the course of their K–12 education.
Foundational Skills and Competencies
All educated citizens must possess a core of basic, enabling skills and competencies that provide a foundation for broader acquisition of knowledge. These foundational, cross-disciplinary skills and competencies, applied in diverse ways, form the heart of an academic experience as each contributes to the development of understanding within and among the disciplines. Moreover, these skills and competencies are necessary for productive participation in society, and for life- long learning.
Students develop the proficiency, confidence and fluency in reading needed to meet the literacy demands of the 21st century. As a result of education in Grades K–12, students will:
- Read a variety of literary, informational and persuasive texts with understanding and meaningfully analyze, interpret, evaluate, and enjoy them.
- Read to understand, including identifying main and subordinate ideas, details and facts; to interpret; and to respond to a variety of written materials.
- Read to analyze, including making comparisons, drawing inferences and contrasts, and identifying sequence.
- Read to evaluate, including separating fact from opinion; recognizing propaganda, stereotypes and statements of bias; recognizing inconsistency; and judging the validity of evidence and sufficiency of support.
- Use the features and structure of books and other reference materials, such as table of contents, preface, introduction, titles and subtitles, index, glossary, appendix and bibliography.
- Improve comprehension by using a variety of strategies, including self-correcting, questioning, predicting, reviewing, and reading ahead.
Students develop the proficiency, confidence and fluency in writing needed to meet the literacy demands of the 21st century. As a result of education in Grades K–12, students will:
- Produce written materials which develop thoughts, share information, influence and persuade, and create and entertain.
- Use the conventions of standard English to communicate clearly.
- Demonstrate the use of elements of effective writing, including setting, purpose, presenting in a logical organization, and elaborating by selecting and using detailed examples, illustrations, and evidence.
- Select forms of expression for different audiences, including using appropriate style and voice.
- Improve their own writing, including redrafting, restructuring, revising, correcting errors, and editing.
- Gather information from primary and secondary sources to write reports using that information and the quotes, paraphrases, and summaries accurately.
Speaking, Listening, and Viewing
Students develop the proficiency, confidence, and fluency in speaking, listening, and viewing needed to meet the literacy demands of the 21st century. As a result of education in Grades K–12, students will:
- Comprehend verbal and nonverbal presentations at the literal, inferential and evaluative levels.
- Listen and view in order to analyze, clarify and establish context;
- Understand spoken instructions, give spoken instructions to others, ask meaningful questions, and answer questions correctly and concisely.
- Speak using appropriate conventions (usage and word choice), forms of expression (style and voice), and tools (technology and media).
- Deliver oral and visual presentations using a coherent sequence of thought, clarity of presentation, suitable vocabulary and length, and nonverbal communication appropriate for the purpose and audience.
Students develop the basic computational skills and mathematical techniques essential to understanding the numerical world and solving quantitative problems. As a result of education in Grades K–12, students will:
- Demonstrate number sense by using numbers for counting, measuring, comparing, ordering, scaling, locating, and labeling.
- Add, subtract, multiply, and divide with whole numbers, fractions, decimals and integers; make estimates and approximations, and judge the reasonableness of results.
- Understand and use ratios, proportions and percents.
- Make and use measurements in both customary and metric units to approximate, measure and compute lengths, areas, volumes, mass, temperatures and time.
- Organize data into tables, charts and graphs, and read, interpret and draw conclusions from the data.
- Understand and apply basic algebraic and geometric concepts.
Problem Solving, Reasoning, and Creative Thinking
Students explore information and arguments from various points of view to think critically and creatively and to solve problems. As a result of education in Grades K–12, students will:
- Apply prior knowledge, abstract thinking, curiosity, imagination and creativity to solve problems.
- Use inductive reasoning to make, defend and evaluate conjectures and arguments, and deductive reasoning to justify assertions and verify tentative conclusions.
- Use problem-solving skills to formulate problems, identify patterns and trends, and make and justify decisions and predictions.
- Examine, define and redefine ideas and problems from a variety of perspectives.
- Create, imagine and explore new ideas to generate alternative strategies, consider advantages and disadvantages, and select among alternative possibilities.
- Assess the results of selected actions and respond constructively to unanticipated events or outcomes; and apply defensible criteria to make aesthetic and other qualitative judgments.
Learning Resources and Information Technology
By the end of Grade 12, students will be independent, competent and confident users of information and technology and able to apply related strategies for acquiring basic skills and content knowledge, communicating ideas, solving problems and pursuing personal interests. As a result of education in Grades K–12, each student will:
- Identify and apply a wide range of educational technologies to conduct research, communicate information and ideas, create original works, organize data, and solve problems.
- Use effective and efficient strategies to explore and use an information- and technology-rich environment to gain knowledge, deepen understanding, and solve complex problems.
- Use technology to enhance essential skills and facilitate learning in the content areas; and apply the skills necessary to locate, evaluate, interpret, and synthesize information from print, nonprint, and electronic sources.
K–12 Content Standards
- Students will define their information needs and identify effective courses of action to conduct research, solve complex problems and pursue personal interests.
- Students will apply principles of organized information systems to learning endeavors.
- Students will demonstrate a command of information skills and strategies to locate and use effectively print, nonprint and/ or electronic resources to solve problems, conduct research, and pursue personal interests.
- Students will apply evaluative criteria to the selection, interpretation, analysis, reorganization, and synthesis of information from a variety of sources and formats.
- Students will use appropriate technologies to create written, visual, oral, and multimedia products to communicate ideas, information, or conclusions to others.
- Students will evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of their own choices and use of information and technology for problem solving and communication.
- Students will demonstrate the responsible and legal use of information resources, computers, and other technologies, recognizing the attendant social, economic, and ethical issues.
Working Independently and Collaboratively
Students work and learn independently (effectively allocating time, energy and resources) and collaboratively as part of a team (contributing to group efforts and understandings). As a result of education in Grades K–12, students will:
- Set rigorous, challenging and reasonable learning goals.
- Set priorities, allocate time and follow schedules to meet objectives.
- Assess progress and make necessary adjustments to meet goals.
- Demonstrate friendliness, adaptability, empathy and politeness in group settings.
- Develop productive and satisfying relationships with others based on mutual respect.
- Employ a variety of strategies for constructively resolving conflicts and participate actively in reaching group decisions and meeting group goals.
- Communicate ideas to justify positions, persuade others, and responsibly challenge existing procedures, policies and opinions.
- Work toward agreements by resolving divergent interests and opinions.
- Work effectively with women and men from all backgrounds.
- Understand the concepts of prejudice and bias, and the effect each has on interpersonal relations.
Aspects of Character
Responsibility and Integrity
Students demonstrate a sense of ethics and take responsibility for their commitments and actions. As part of education in Grades K–12, students will:
- Demonstrate honesty, dependability, and self-control.
- Assume responsibility for their behavior, think before they act, consider the possible consequences on all people affected by their actions, and assume responsibility for the consequences of those actions.
- Develop criteria for making informed judgments and decisions, and uphold their beliefs in order to conduct themselves in a moral, ethical, and legal manner.
- Assume primary responsibility for learning, including identifying their needs, and setting reasonable goals.
Effort and Persistence
Students demonstrate the effort and persistence needed to be successful in school, work, and life. As part of education in Grades K–12, students will:
- Develop initiative to accept challenges and responsibilities which will help them grow and to which they can make a contribution.
- Persist on their own, without the need for close supervision.
- Persist until new material is mastered or until a job is done, and experience the pride of accomplishment that results from hard work.
- Act through a desire to succeed rather than a fear of failure, while recognizing that failure is a part of everyone’s experience.
- Take the risks necessary for fulfilling their ambitions, and persevere in the face of challenge and obstacles.
- Respond constructively to criticism, being willing and able to incorporate suggestions from others into their efforts to grow.
Students actively explore the world of ideas. As part of education in Grades K–12, students will:
- Demonstrate inquiring attitudes, open-mindedness and curiosity.
- Create and explore new ideas and adapt existing ideas to generate alternative possibilities.
- Demonstrate independence of thought necessary for leadership and creativity.
- Pursue lifelong learning.
Students demonstrate respect for themselves and others. As part of education in Grades K–12, students will:
- Appreciate their worth as unique and capable individuals and exhibit self-esteem.
- Develop a sense of their effectiveness and a belief in their ability to shape their future.
- Demonstrate a sensitivity to, and respect for, the perspectives, opinions, needs and customs of others
- Judge others on their merits and be tolerant, appreciative and accepting of individual differences.
Citizenship and Sense of Community
Students are active, constructive members of the larger community. As part of education in Grades K–12, students will:
- Develop a sense of belonging to a group larger than friends, family, and coworkers.
- Stay informed about and participate in decisions regarding school, community, state, country, and world.
- Develop an understanding of the importance of each individual to the improvement of the quality of life for all in the community.
- Understand and appreciate their historical and ethnic heritage as well as the heritage of others within the larger community.
Download the Connecticut Common Core of Learning (.pdf)