The proficiency scale is the primary tool for determining a student’s level of proficiency at any given moment. Classroom assessment should always be guided by proficiency scales since every proficiency scale has a quantitative structure that is designed for classroom assessment.
To illustrate, consider the proficiency scale in figure 2.1.
The proficiency scale in figure 2.1 is for the measurement topic of estimation for third grade mathematics. The core of a proficiency scale is score 3.0 content. Score 3.0 represents proficiency. In other words, it represents what a student should know or be able to do to be considered proficient at this third grade topic. In this case, the score 3.0 content involves rounding to the nearest 10 or 100. Additionally, score 3.0 provides performance examples that would demonstrate proficiency. Score 2.0 contains necessary vocabulary terms that students will need to understand in order to reach proficiency at score 3.0. It also identifies basic skills that will be directly taught, such as identifying multiples of 10 and 100. The score 4.0 content illustrates an example of a task that could be used to demonstrate competency beyond the score 3.0 proficiency level.
These three-‐tiered proficiency scales are designed to make CA construction relatively easy, and they can help teachers design multiple types of assessments. This means that a proficiency scale does not limit the types of assessments teachers can design.