What is Proficiency-Based Education?

Proficiency-based education refers to any system of academic instruction, assessment, grading and reporting that is based on students demonstrating mastery of the knowledge and skills they are expected to learn before they progress to the next lesson, get promoted to the next grade level or receive a diploma.

In Maine, academic expectations and “proficiency” definitions for public-school courses, learning experiences, content areas and grade levels are outlined in the Maine Learning Results which includes the Guiding Principles, expectations for cross-disciplinary skills and life-long learning, and eight sets of content-area standards, including the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics.

The general goal of proficiency-based education is to ensure that students acquire the knowledge and skills that are deemed to be essential to success in school, higher education, careers and adult life. If students struggle to meet minimum expected standards, they receive additional instruction, practice time and academic support to help them achieve proficiency, but they do not progress in their education until expected standards are met.

See the Standards Resources page for additional information.