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Competency Education

At Ridgewood High School, we believe that all students can learn, achieve and succeed. At Ridgewood, we realize that our students enter high school with unique talents and different sets of skills.  Drawing from best practices across the country, we created a Competency Education program that focuses on what students need to keep them in school as well as prepare them for college and careers.  The competency-based structure is designed to ensure students are successfully learning by prioritizing the most essential knowledge and skills, providing rigorous and engaging learning experiences aligned to clear outcomes, and ensuring that all students have access and various supports to reach those standards. By focusing on these competency-based practices, Ridgewood graduates students that are better prepared for college, career, and life.


Our Learning Model




Students at Ridgewood High School demonstrate their learning through multiple opportunities and through varied forms of performance based assessments.  Students actively learn and apply critical-thinking and problem-solving skills along with the critical skills of communication, collaboration, and cultural responsiveness to help them work in ever-changing, diverse workplaces.  In addition to being graded on academic performance, students receive grades related to meeting deadlines and other innovation skills critical to academic and life success.




Life & Career Innovation Learning







Student Success
Professionalism Project Quality Reading Career and College Readiness
  Presentation Writing  
Research Problem Solving
Collaborative Discussion Financial Literacy
  Globally Informed Citizen
Design Process














Competency Based Grading 


In a competency based system, students are evaluated on their performance and application of skills. Teachers use our Graduation Competency Rubrics to assess skills or concepts in multiple contexts and multiple ways.  Assessment rubrics are explicit in what students must be able to know and do to progress to the next level of proficiency.  Our rubrics were designed around student needs, life experiences, and the skills needed for them to be college & career ready.  Unlike a traditional grading system, competency based grading does not focus on “points.”  Rather, students move along a learning continuum based on their level of performance throughout their entire high school experience.

Competencies are student learning targets that represent specific concepts, skills, and knowledge taught and assessed across courses at Ridgewood High School.  Graduation competencies are those needed for a student to be college and career ready when they leave our district.  This includes core academic course competencies as well as knowledge, skills, and work-study practices.


How is a Student’s Grade Determined?


At Ridgewood High School, we understand that a quality grading system communicates student learning and provides an opportunity for reflection.  In a competency based model, attention is on student growth in learning, not student grades.  Students move from one level of learning to the next based on the evidence given for each competency.  This level system describes a student’s current status with regards to their learning.  RHS uses six levels to describe a student’s proficiency.  


Throughout the semester, performance assessments are given to students to assess their learning.  These performance assessments are linked to the competencies they are designed to assess.  A traditional letter grade is assigned at the end of each semester.  This grade is based on a collection of student evidence (including performance assessments). 

A student’s final grade is a reflection of the level of proficiency that a student has reached toward each of the competencies in the following categories: Learning and Innovation Skills (80%), and Life & Career (20%).


Pacing & Reassessment

Ridgewood High School does not see grading as a terminal event.  We understand that students learn at different rates and may need multiple chances to demonstrate proficiency in a competency.  A significant difference between traditional grading and competency based grading is that students have multiple opportunities to show proficiency of a competency before the grade is final.  This helps struggling learners really grasp the material before moving forward and allows high achieving students the opportunity to move ahead in their learning.


Students complete performance assessments after they have demonstrated readiness.  This makes formative assessments (classwork, homework, learning tasks) an important step in their learning. Not every assessment or task will be available for reassessment. Assignments that are designed as practice may or may not be required to be re-done. In most instances, assessments and tasks are ongoing, so students will have several opportunities to show growth and improve their scores. 

Any student who is issued a Not Met is allowed additional time, practice, and/or instruction to ensure the student has learned the necessary skills.  Students are not penalized by the averaging of assignment or assessment scores over time if additional interventions, including but not limited to additional time, practice, and/or instruction, are needed. 

Grading Scale

A     90-100%

B     80-89%

C     70-79%

NM (Not Met) 0-69%


Competency Grading - Performance Level Grading Scale



Level 9


Level 10


Level 11


Level 12

Not Met

< 1.7

< 2.3

< 2.9

< 3.5


1.8 - 2.1

2.4 - 2.7

3 - 3.3

3.6 -3.9


2.2 - 2.5

2.8 - 3.1

3.4 - 3.7

4 - 4.3


2.6 - ≥3 

3.2 - ≥3.6 

3.8 - ≥4.2

4.4 - ≥4.8


Each course is set at a specific level to show the expected skill performance based on the course requirements and outcomes.


2021-2022 Course Levels



Level 9


Level 10


Level 11


Level 12


English 1

English 1 H

English 2 H

English 4 H

English Skills

English 2

English 3


American Experience


Social Studies

World Cultures

Practical Law

American History



American Experience







Int. Math 1

Int. Math 2 H

Int. Math 3 H


Int. Math 2

Int. Math 3


Geometry in Construction

Algebra 2 in Business




Int. Science 2

Int. Science 3


Int. Science 2-Foods

Honors Chemistry

    Environmental Science  

World Language

Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Italian 3

Italian 4

Italian 1

Italian 2

Spanish 3

Spanish 4

PE & Health



Tech Ed & CS

Intro to Computer Programming

Geometry and Construction

  Web Development    




Algebra 2 in Business


Computer Concepts


College and Career Planning


Intro to Business




Intro to Art




Graphic Arts



Concert Band

Intro to Music

  Symphonic Band    
  Percussion Methods    



Educational Technology



Canvas is a learning management system that holds all of the course materials for classes. Teachers will use Canvas for formative work, summative performance assessments, communication, grades, discussion boards, etc. Students will access and submit their assignments through Canvas. Students will also be able to see the competency rubrics on Canvas to view their performance level on each competency skill in a performance assessment. Parents/guardians have their own separate log-in access to Skyward to view their student’s progress and work completion. It is accessible via an app or the district website


Canvas Contact: Mr. Kevin Konsler



Skyward is a Student Information System that is used for grades and attendance. Teachers will use Skyward to record the overall level for each performance assessment as well as the student's performance in meeting deadlines into Skyward. Students will be able to view their overall course performance based on the final percentage grade. Parents/guardians have their own separate log-in access to Skyward to check student grades. It is accessible via an app or the district website


Skyward Contact: Ms. Jennifer Tan


Administrative Contact 

Ms. Gina Castellano (Principal)

Ms. Maggie Molnar (Division Head of Teaching & Learning)



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