proficiency-based education

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Maine schools are at a crossroads.

Maine Public

Students in Maine will no longer be required to graduate under new, "proficiency-based" diplomas.

Gov. Paul LePage Friday signed a bill into law repealing the state's diploma mandate, which originally went into effect six years ago.

Under the old law, Maine students, beginning in the class of 2021, would have been required to reach "proficiency" in up to eight subject areas in order to graduate. However, teachers and parents criticized the policy, saying it was too demanding for educators and wouldn't allow some students to graduate.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Over the course of the past school year, we've followed the implementation of Maine’s proficiency-based diploma law through the lens of students and staffers at Oak Hill High School, near Lewiston. 

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

Three years from now, high school seniors in Maine will have to demonstrate proficiency in math, English, science and other core subjects in order to graduate. 

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

This year's class of high school freshmen will be the first to graduate with a new kind of diploma three years from now in Maine. To get it, they will have to show proficiency in a number of subjects. We've been following the transition to this new system at a small rural high school near Lewiston in a series we're calling, "Lessons from Oak Hill."

One of the most controversial changes has been replacing the traditional A-through-F grading system, and pushback from critics has already led some districts to respond.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

The legislature may have adjourned Thursday morning, but some educators and parents still have hope that the House and Senate will eventually act on a bill removing a state mandate for schools to implement "proficiency-based diplomas." It is unclear what effects such a change would have on local schools.

After months of debate, the legislature's education committee approved a bill Friday evening that would remove a mandate requiring Maine schools to implement "proficiency-based" diplomas. 

The law mandating the diplomas was originally passed in 2012. It says that current Maine freshmen need to reach proficiency in a number of subject areas, such as math, science and English, in order to graduate.

Parents, teachers and students packed the seats of a legislative hearing Monday to voice their opinions about two bills that would drastically change — or even repeal — Maine’s move toward proficiency-based diplomas.

Six years ago, legislators passed a law saying that for students to receive a diploma in Maine, they must reach proficiency in up to eight content areas ranging from English and math to health and art. This year’s freshmen are expected to be the first to graduate with the diplomas.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine lawmakers are set to consider delaying a system aimed at making sure high school graduates are proficient in key subject areas.
The Legislature's Education and Cultural Affairs Committee is set to hold a work session Wednesday on a bill to delay the system for another year.
A 2012 Maine law says that by 2018, all graduating students should show proficiency in eight subjects. Maine and Vermont were the only states with such systems as of last year.

Four years from now, the way Maine students are awarded diplomas will change.  The number of classes they pass will no longer matter.  Instead, they'll have to meet specific standards in up to eight subject areas.

Educators from around the state spoke out about the new diploma rules at a public hearing in August.  And the state is listening to their concerns.

AUGUSTA, Maine - What should high school seniors be expected to master before they are allowed to graduate? Lawmakers on the Legislature's Education and Cultural Affairs Committee heard public testimony on a proposal aimed at "proficiency-based" diplomas, which will be required as of 2017.

Under current law, students must show they've mastered the material in mathematics, English language arts, science and technology, and the other five subject areas that make up the state learning standards.