Standards based grading means that you can pre-assess and post-assess your elementary students to document their progress; but how do you TEACH differently? 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 third grade standard numbers in base 10, students need to use place value understanding to round whole numbers to the nearest 10 or hundred. When I introduced this standard, I show students the levels of the scale and I always start at the bottom number one and work up through four.  One and two help the students to access their background knowledge. Let’s see how you can visually build on last year’s content for student’s to make lasting connections that facilitate progress in the standard.

Level 1

Anything they learned about whole numbers, how to compare numbers that would help them understand rounding, which is the third grade expectation at level three. Level fours are for my advanced students who need a challenge or my students who are doing really well who’ve already mastered the grade level expectation. An example of a level one problem would be this, it’s a number seven closer to 10 or five.

This kind of question shows me that my students understand the number line or the space between specific numbers and how to measure that space and differences is the number 25 closer to 15 or 32

They may or may not be able to think of a number line to do this problem. Turn to a friend and tell how you know this could be done very informally just to make sure your students understand how to compare numbers. You could ask them to write the answers on a piece of paper if you want to collect it for planning purposes or they could just share in class.

Level 2

This level two question asked them to compare numbers on a number line, so it’s very visual but you’re still accessing their prior knowledge about comparing numbers. Each number on the line where it should go, so they’re going to want to copy this down on a piece of paper. Circle the end of the number line that’s closer to the number. Is 3 closer to 0 or 10? Is 45 closer to 0 or 100? What you’re doing is helping students connect the concept that some numbers are closer to one end point than another and then you’re going to connect that concept to rounding to tens and hundreds. At this point it should seem pretty easy for them to make that jump.

Level 3

The level three questions that you’ll be asking over and over are rounding specific numbers to the nearest 10 or hundred. Now you want to make sure that they understand 10 doesn’t mean just 10, 10 could mean 10, 2030, 40, 50 etc. Hundred doesn’t mean just hundred but could be 100, or 200 or 300 so you’ll want to try this pretest with different numbers, but I started simple.

Round three to the nearest 10 or the nearest hundred. Round 114 to the nearest 10 or the nearest hundred. It’ll be interesting to see which of your students understand to look at only the tens place in 114 and not go down to a hundred so see which ones get it right. If you have them, write it down on a piece of paper, you can go over it together or collected at the end of class.  This little pretest can help you determine who is going to need the most help mastering this standard and what kind of instruction you’ll have to give them. Level four is for your students who have already mastered level three.

Level 4

Maybe they’re going to master it really quickly or you already have some gifted students that you plan extra activities for. An easy way to extend this standard but keep them on the same topic is to have them apply rounding to different place values.

They’ll see this again in higher grades, but there’s no problem in starting it early. You can even challenge all of your students, not just the gifted ones, to go a little further once they understand how rounding works.

Here’s an example problem round 14,378 to four different places.

If your students can do this, then they really have a solid foundation for understanding how to round place value and how to pick out the numbers in each place to pay attention to. It can be very tricky when you have a long five digit number, but you’re asking students to pull out numbers from the middle, like the three hundreds or the seven tens so see who in your class is ready to do this. This will give you an excellent idea of how to plan for the rest of the standard.

I hope you found this example helpful. If you’d like to see more scales or assessments that are already done for you, please visit my website, I have a freebies tab where you can download samples of things to try in your own room. I also have scales and assessments created for you with every math standard at my teachers pay teachers store. You’ll find a link on my website to that as well. Have a great year teaching.

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 Jodi W. for your feedback!

 “Using this to provide a way for students to self-evaluate and reflect on their learning. Together with your math assessments the students and I can have meaningful conversations on how they can better achieve their learning goals and what the next steps will be.” – Jan 2017

Not sure yet?
DOWNLOAD the FREE PREVIEW from each page to try in your classroom first!

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I’ve gotten great feedback so far and I’d love to see how you’re using these in your classroom! Feel free to post a picture on my Facebook page or Facebook discussion group! (Differentiation with Proficiency Scales)

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