CCSU Office of Curriculum & Instruction

New!  Essex Westford School District Proficiency-based Learning and Graduation Requirements Framework.

Proficiency-based learning (PBL) refers to systems of instruction, assessment, grading and academic reporting that are based on students demonstrating mastery of the knowledge and skills they are expected to learn. Proficiency-based Graduation Requirements (PBGR) are those proficiencies the district determines represent a set of expectations that a student will demonstrate before earning a high school diploma.

The Essex Westford School District has adopted the following conceptual framework as a roadmap to transition to a K-12 proficiency-based learning system and develop proficiency-based graduation requirements in accordance with Vermont Education Quality Standards.


The Essex Westford School District has adopted the Vermont Transferable Skills as cross-content proficiencies and has identified Content Area Proficiencies for each content area.

During the 2017/18 school year we are working to develop Performance Indicators at specific grade spans for both the VT Transferable Skills and the EWSD Content Area Proficiencies. Essex High School has developed Course Proficiencies for each course which serve as a Performance Indicators towards meeting K-12 Content Area Proficiencies.

Learning Targets are considered the objectives that teachers set for their students as they design units and lessons and move students towards achievement of proficiencies.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to those who participated in the joint vertical team meetings throughout the 2016/17 school year. Thank you to Reed Dyer, Great Schools Partnership coach who helped to support this work through meeting facilitation, resources and consultancy work.

Below are the new EWSD K-12 Proficiencies. You may download a PDF version of this framework from this link EWSD Proficiency-based Learning and Graduation Requirements Framework – Spring 2017.

Vermont Transferable Skills

  1. Clear and Effective Communication
  2. Creative and Practical Problem-Solving
  3. Informed and Integrative Thinking
  4. Responsible and Involved Citizenship
  5. Self-Direction


EWSD Content Area Proficiencies


  1. READING: Comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate a wide range and level of complex literary and informational texts.
  2. WRITING: Produce clear and coherent narrative, argument, and informational writing for a range of purposes and audiences.
  3. RESEARCH: Conduct short and sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  4. SPEAKING AND LISTENING: Effectively initiate and participate in a range of discussions by responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives and effectively argue a distinct perspective by using information, findings, and supporting evidence.
  5. LANGUAGE: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage, using general academic and domain specific vocabulary words and phrases when writing or speaking for a variety of purposes and tasks.

Sources:  Literacy Common Core State Standards (CCSS)


  1. CONCEPTS & PROCEDURES: Explain and apply mathematical concepts and interpret and carry out mathematical procedures with precision and fluency.
  2. PROBLEM SOLVING: Solve a range of complex well-posed problems in pure and applied mathematics, making productive use of knowledge and problem solving strategies.
  3. COMMUNICATING REASONING: Clearly and precisely construct viable arguments to support their own reasoning and to critique the reasoning of others.
  4. MODELING & DATA ANALYSIS: Analyze complex, real-world scenarios and can construct and use mathematical models to interpret and solve problems.

Source:  Math Common Core State Standards (CCSS); SBAC Claim Statements


  1. PATTERNS: Observe and describe patterns in natural and human designed phenomena and use those patterns to support claims about the observed or predicted relationships among phenomena.
  2. CAUSE AND EFFECT: Investigate, explain, and evaluate potential causal relationships by using evidence to support claims and predictions about the mechanisms that drive those relationships.
  3. SCALE, PROPORTION, AND QUANTITY: Describe and represent the significance of changes in observable and non-observable phenomena in terms of relative scale, proportion, and quantity.
  4. SYSTEMS AND SYSTEM MODELS: Investigate and analyze a natural or human designed system in terms of its boundaries, inputs, outputs, interactions, and behaviors and use this information to develop a system model that can be used to understand and empirically evaluate the accuracy of models in terms of representing the underlying system.
  5. ENERGY AND MATTER: Analyze evidence from a variety of sources (investigations, models) to predict, connect and/or evaluate the cycling of matter and flow of energy within and between systems in order to understand, describe, or predict possibilities and limitations of systems.
  6. STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION: Use evidence to support claims about the relationship among structure and function of natural and human designed objects.
  7. STABILITY AND CHANGE: Investigate and analyze static and dynamic conditions of natural and human designed systems in order to explain and predict changes over time.

Source:  Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Cross-cutting Concepts

Global Citizenship

Social Studies

  1. SOCIAL STUDIES INVESTIGATIONS: Design, conduct, and apply disciplinary knowledge by developing questions, evaluating evidence and sources, and communicating conclusions.
  2. CIVICS: Understand the history, principles, and foundations of different forms of government, analyze how they function, and evaluate how people participate individually and collectively within these systems.
  3. ECONOMICS: Apply economic reasoning to understand ways in which individuals, businesses, governments, and societies make decisions to allocate and use resources.
  4. GEOGRAPHY: Understand physical, cultural, and human geography and analyze the interdependent relationships between human and environmental interactions.
  5. HISTORY: Evaluate historical change and continuity over time by understanding significant events, individuals, groups, documents, and ideas to support investigations about the past.

Source:  National C3 Framework for Social Studies Standards

World Languages

  1. INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION: Engage in conversations and informal written correspondence on a variety of topics using appropriate grammar and vocabulary.
  2. INTERPRETIVE COMMUNICATION: Understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics.
  3. PRESENTATIONAL COMMUNICATION: Present information, concepts and ideas, orally and in writing, to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics using appropriate grammar and vocabulary.
  4. COMPARISON OF PRACTICES, PRODUCTS AND PERSPECTIVES: Compare the nature of language and the culture(s) of the target language with one’s own.

Source:  American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Standards

Physical Education

  1. MOTOR SKILLS PERFORMANCE: Demonstrate proficiency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
  2. APPLYING CONCEPTS AND STRATEGIES: Apply knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance to accomplish an active lifestyle.
  3. PHYSICAL FITNESS: Demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve and/or maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
  4. SAFE AND RESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR: Exhibit responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
  5. BENEFITS of PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Recognize the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.

Source:  National Physical Education Standards

Health Education

  1. CORE CONCEPTS: Comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
  2. ANALYZE INFLUENCES: Analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology and other factors on health behaviors.
  3. ACCESS INFORMATION: Know how to access and evaluate information, products, and services to enhance health.
  4. HEALTH ADVOCACY: Use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks to advocate for personal, family, and community health.
  5. SELF-MANAGEMENT: Demonstrate the ability to use decision-making and goal-setting skills to practice health-enhancing behaviors.

Source:  National Health Education Standards

Visual & Performing Arts

  1. DISCIPLINARY LITERACY: Demonstrate arts discipline concepts, skills, terminology, and processes.
  2. CREATING: Conceptualize, generate, organize, develop, refine and complete artistic ideas.
  3. PERFORMING/PRESENTING/PRODUCING: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
  4. RESPONDING: Perceive, analyze, interpret and evaluate artistic work.
  5. CONNECTING: Relate artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context such as societal, cultural and historical influence to deepen understanding of the arts.

Source:  National Core Arts Standards