FARMINGTON — Results of a survey were shared Monday night at a Regional School Unit 9 forum at the Mt. Blue Campus.

Later in the forum, attendees were asked to split up to discuss proficiency-based education.

Superintendent Tina Meserve said 373 students in grades six through 12, 129 family and community members and 110 educators returned surveys, with most respondents saying they had positive opinions.

“Kids really value multiple opportunities to relearn,” Meserve said. “They want the chance to learn.”

Laura Columbia, curriculum coordinator in RSU 9, said similar questions were asked of each group in the survey.

“When we compared the results, students’ and educators’ data was more closely aligned than family and community members,” Columbia said. “Where we see alignment is important.”

“When talking about grading students the goal isn’t rewards and punishments,” Meserve said. “The goal is to shift focus so students will know what they know so they can continue to grow.”

At an RSU 9 follow-up forum on proficiency-based education, comments from a survey drew the attention of many. (Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden)

Parents were drawn to the survey comments posted on the Food Court walls. Grouped into categories, they were also color coded to indicate which group had made the comment.

“All the parents are looking at the comments,” Meserve said. “People care more about the words than the actual percentages.”

Columbia said the survey results will be available on the district website — www.mtbluersd.org.

Each group took notes on concerns identified and solutions or possible next steps.

Some concerns raised were:

  • District procedures surrounding reassessments.
  • The number of grades in a grade book.
  • The middle school has a four-quarter grading system, but some courses are trimesters and students do not always realize the difference, which can affect their grades.
  • Not all assignments fit into a 0-to-100 scale.

Columbia said she wants to refine the grading system, keeping what works.

“I don’t want a third year of change,” she said.

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