Th-01: Progressing: Implementing Proficiency Grading During a Pandemic

By Bradford Dykes (Grand Valley State University)


Proficiency grading (aka specification, standards-based, or mastery grading) is an approach where students' work is assessed on if it demonstrates proficiency of a list of clear objectives. Final grades are based on the degree of proficiency each student has demonstrated for these objectives by the end of the course rather than by using points and partial credit. While proficiency grading has been around for while (e.g., Dick & Reiser, 1989), this approach has been recently gaining in implementation throughout higher education, particularly within the mathematical sciences and being featured in a special issue of Problems, Resources, and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies (PRIMUS, 2020). In this poster, I share my experiences with implementing a proficiency grading approach during the pandemic (the good and the frustrating) in one section of a general education introductory statistics course and three sections of an upper-level R computing elective for statistics majors/minors and statistics and data science graduate students. Sections had approximately 30 students and were taught during the Fall 2020 with adjustments made in the R course for Winter 2021. Illustrative materials and syllabi will be made available.

Dick, W., & Reiser, R. (1989).Planning effective instruction. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.  
PRIMUS. (2020). Taylor & Francis. Retrieved April 16, 2021, from


Th-01 - Progressing - Implementing Proficiency Grading During a Pandemic.pdf