Pre-testing and post-testing is the easy part; but how do you TEACH differently with Standards based grading? Proficiency Scales are all about helping students show growth in small steps instead of being overwhelmed by a year-end goal that seems way over their head. This video will walk you through one way to get your students understanding a scale. 

In this fourth grade geometry standard, students will be asked to draw points, lines, line segments, race angles, many aspects that define shapes and angles. At this grade level angles are a very new shape for students. They may have discussed angles a little bit when they are defining the difference between squares and triangles, maybe the special corners that squares have compared to other shapes like triangles or diamonds. But students haven’t really paid a lot of attention to angle sizes yet or the special names for them. There’s a lot of new content in this fourth grade standard, which is why I like to work backwards through my skill and make sure students know what attributes to identify and have all the vocabulary in place. Let’s see how you can differentiate this fourth grade geometry standard with a proficiency scale!

Level 1

When I introduced this fourth grade scale, I started with level one and two or back pulling on background knowledge that students have about shapes and lines from previous grade levels working up to level three. Level three is the grade level expectation. I understand that there are different kinds of lines and angles and control them. Level four is for your advanced students and we’ll get to that in a minute. The kind of question I would ask students at level one would be that they could identify different angles by name.

I want to point out just one aspect, some sub-skills of the standard and some vocabulary required for this standard so that I have something small to start with. I would ask students to match the names of these angles with the picture. They can redraw the angles roughly on a piece of paper, match the names to each one, label them any way that you would like them to do it. Just so you have a good idea of who is already familiar with this vocabulary and who isn’t. This is a great pre-assessment for you to plan your lessons and activities and know which students already have a foundation of understanding angles.

Level 2

A level two question, I would ask students to define these vocabulary words, identifying different lines and arrangements of lines. You’ll see the line ray, parallel lines, line segments, perpendicular lines, intersecting lines. there is a point there, if you noticed, the point will not matter to any of the words below. So make sure that your students also notice that there’s an extra picture that they don’t need.

I would ask students to maybe draw these again on their paper or maybe print out something with the shapes that they could label, see if they can correctly match each one. Use this as a mini quiz or a pre-assessment to see how much instruction you have to do and what kind of activities you’ll do to reinforce the vocabulary for each shape.

These two activities are a great introduction to the standard and help students become familiar with what the expectation will be. Starting out concretely with pictures of the shapes as much easier for them. Then giving them a bunch of words and asking them to draw the shapes, so now we’re asking them to do something a little harder.

Level 3

In this grade level expectation, students would have to know how to draw each shape and identify every vocabulary word. We started simply in level one and two by giving them the picture first and letting them try to match the words that might sound familiar to them. This gives them kind of an easy warm up to build their confidence and give you some important information to plan at level three you’d give them more comprehension. More comprehensive questions about the different kinds of lines and angles. So here again, I have some of those vocabulary words. There’s a lot of vocab in geometry, especially at this grade level and there’s a variety of ways that you’ll be practicing these words throughout your lessons in planning. But if you have any students that have already mastered a lot of this content, you’ll want to be ready to plan some special things just for them or some extension activities. Level Three Represents the grade level standard

Level 4

Any of your students that can already pass the grade level standard at level three is ready to do something more challenging. So one way, there’s a lot of ways you could extend these activities, but I asked students to draw multiple geometric figures to create one complex figure at other grade levels they have had to use make composite shapes and do some different things with geometry attributes. So you’re going to ask them to do that again. One thing that I do is ask students to form one picture and you separate colors. So it would be really hard for me to pull out the line and the line segment and the parallel lines and a picture that itself all have different lines. So I asked students to use red to show me their line in their obtuse angle and then they’re going to put the red color together with yellow and make a yellow segment.

Any yellow acute angle, maybe orange, that way I can pull out the shapes and make sure that they did it correctly and it also gives them a chance to be creative and put their pictures together in different ways. They may even have time to do multiple pictures. It depends how you want to extend the activity. The Ray and the intersecting lines, they would draw in green, perpendicular lines and straight angles would be drawn in blue parallel lines and right angles would be drawn in purple. You could use this as a small group activity, a mini guided lesson or an independent activity for your really high students. I always make sure that they’ve mastered the level three grade level standard first.

If you would like an assessment that’s already made for you to double check your student’s mastery, you can visit my website at I have a freebies tab where you can download this exact scale for fourth grade geometry and also an assessment that you can give your students right away and see whether they’re at level one level two, level three or level four mastery for this standard. I hope you enjoyed this example and it gave you some great ideas to use in your own classroom. Please visit my website and feel free to make any comments or questions that you have. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great year.

You can find this resource in my TpT store. Follow the links to download a FREE Leveled Assessment and FREE Scales for this math standard and more!

Thank you to J. Burgess for your feedback!

“This works well when assessing where students are in their understanding of the concept. I use this with personalized learning. It allows me to see where my students’ understanding is with a concept and where they can start on their pathway. Using this resource makes sure no student has to be taught a lesson they are already proficient in.” – August 2018

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