AUBURN — Grades 7-12 in the Auburn School Department this fall will return to the traditional 0-100 grading system, ditching the controversial 1-4 Proficiency-Based Learning system.

Shelly Mogul, curriculum director for Auburn schools, said Wednesday that the department will implement recommendations from a task force that looked into complaints about Proficiency Based Learning.

One recommendation is that grades 7-12 move back to an online grading platform called PowerSchool, and getting rid of the existing online grading platform, Empower,

which many parents, students and teachers found confusing, Mogul said.

The second recommendation is to reinstate traditional grading for the upper grades.

Proficiency-based learning emerged from a state law requiring high schools to use new standards for awarding diplomas. Under PBL, students are assessed on having mastered skills, or standards, in each subject.

The Class of 2021 will be the first to graduate with PBL diplomas.

PBL grading is 1 for not proficient, 2 for partially proficient, 3 for proficient and 4 for exceeding proficiency.

PBL has been controversial in Lewiston as well as Auburn. Lewiston Superintendent Bill Webster in March announced grading for high school students would return to traditional 0-100 scoring..

While the familiar grades will be reinstated in Auburn, Mogul cautioned that the state law concerning PBL diplomas remains in place. That means high school graduates in 2021 will have to prove they’re proficient in math, English, social studies and science.

While Auburn grades 7-12 teachers will go back to grading students in the traditional way, teachers will also record students’ proficiency. Mogul expects that next year in PowerSchool parents will see traditional grades, “but there will be a tab where they can see the scores on standards required for the diploma.”

A committee of about a dozen middle and high school teachers, which Mogul called a grading guidelines group, will meet Monday and Tuesday to come up with how teachers will score proficiency, she said.

One of the challenges is that even a passing grade may not ensure a student’s proficiency, Mogul said.

“If I give students a test and a student gets an 82, I can’t take that score and convert it to 1-4,” Mogul said. “It’s more complicated than that.” How proficiency will be scored “is something that will have to be worked out,” Mogul said.

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