Can Proficiency Scales work outside of core subject matter?

Yes! One of the Phoenix schools I worked with adapted scales to their special circumstances, their Spanish Immersion program. Think ESL, ELL. Together we brainstormed a few ideas during our professional development session. We settled on creating a separate scale that students could refer to all year, to assess themselves in their second language development.

Most of their students were advanced or gifted. This can be a fun challenge but they had some trouble trying to figure out how to combine the language requirement and vocabulary expectations within their content standards. Their Spanish vocabulary knowledge and usage was assessed separately from the content standards.

This felt more ‘fair’ to students and teachers who had to assign subject grades.  We reasoned that this approach had more long term value for the whole school because not every teacher in the school had Spanish immersion students. This approach also worked for some of their ESL language learners.

Here’s what we came up with…

It can be SO hard to have objective conversations with students and parents about language goals and expectations. What a relief to have a clear reference for everyone!

Click on this link if you would like to download these scales for free.

What special search situations do you have at your school?

If you would like a free consultation with me to brainstorm some options, feel free to email me at

I am really looking forward to putting our heads together!


Melanie LiCausi

Thank you to Suzanne O. who had lots to say about

Mrs. L’s 4th Grade ELA Bundled Resources

This resource has helped my online students understand their learning expectations. The have starting using the proficiency scales with pictures and they are recognizing what they need to do to the scale progress upward on the scale. This was a huge time saver for me and helped my students better understand what a power standard is.”August 2020

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