Accessibility Tools

Communicating Student Progress

Meeting the Needs of Every Student

Our purpose is to advance schools of innovation where a focus on student-personalized, competency-based learning provides something different for students and families by maximizing the potential of educators to develop the knowledge, skill and habit of mind in students to be successful in life.

EASTCONN Magnet High Schools are among a select number of districts who are leading Connecticut’s adoption of a personalized, competency-based learning model. Competency-based education (also at times referred to as mastery-based or proficiency-based education) is a model that supports students in progressing toward mastery of specific academic content knowledge and skills plus personal/soft skills. This model ensures that students advance along their learning path based on demonstrated mastery of skills rather than simply “seat time.”


Personalized, competency-based learning is an important shift from a school-centered approach where students are expected to comply with a “one-size-fits-all” model and all students advance at the same pace, to a student-centered approach where each student exerts their own voice and choice alongside their teachers to create an individualized pathway experience. A personalized, competency-based model of learning is a proactive response to the urgent, growing need for learners to graduate prepared to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world in their college pursuits, their career interests, and in their life.


Read on to learn how EASTCONN Magnet High Schools are creating rigorous, personalized, competency-based experiences that meet the needs of every student.


Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT) Performing Arts Magnet High School - Willimantic, CT

Through rigorous and unique educational experiences, conducted in a caring and safe environment, students learn to understand and embody the critical importance of our school's philosophical foundation: Respect Yourself, Respect the Work, and Respect the Community.

Quinebaug Middle College (QMC) Magnet High School - Danielson, CT

Inspiration, kindness, and respect are the fundamental principles of Quinebaug Middle College. Our democratic learning community offers opportunities to build self-confidence and academic success through responsible choice-making, personal wellness, critical thinking, and social and civic responsibility.


The mission of QMC is to provide a challenging, personalized, comprehensive learning environment that fosters the skills, knowledge, habits, and individual discipline necessary for students from diverse backgrounds to realize their ambitions and contribute in a positive, meaningful way to their community and culture. The QMC vision guiding the development of this program is based on the belief that student learning flourishes in an environment where high expectations and achievement are integral; where rigorous, relevant instruction is provided; and where the real-world application of skills is conducted in a community of strong, positive and caring relationships.

The Overview

Each score corresponds with the rubrics that are linked to the standards in PowerSchool. For example, if a student is Progressing towards meeting a standard on an assignment, the rubric for that standard will describe what Progressing means compared to the goal of Mastery.

Competency-Based Learning

Our magnet schools are grounded and continuously engaged in the development of a personalized, competency-based learning model. We emphasize learner agency driven by Portrait of a Graduate and academic standards and frequent feedback.

Communicating Progress

We made it easier to communicate student progress in PowerSchool by adding standards and "tagging" them within each assignment. This allows children and families to monitor progress and to see where students are in the process of meeting the standard.

Scoring Scale

There are five options to describe student progress:
Exemplary (E)

Mastery (M)

Progressing (P)

Beginning (B)

Insufficient Evidence (IE)

Portrait of a Graduate

EASTCONN's Portrait of a Graduate (POG) reflects our community's collective vision for student success. The vision is our declaration of - and blueprint for - what it means for our students to be college, career, and life-ready.

EASTCONN's Portrait of a Graduate is integrated throughout our magnet high schools. The POG is integral to the advisory curriculum at ACT and QMC, and ties into their capstone projects. POG standards are identified and incorporated into all courses and complement the content standards.


 - EASTCONN graduates proactively organize tasks and actions and thoughtfully make decisions, prioritizing short-term and long-term goals. They initiate and take action independently, leveraging resources to accomplish goals.

EASTCONN Graduates:
  • Set goals
  • Monitor and direct their own learning
  • Ask for help when needed
  • Have a growth mindset by reflecting on learning experiences and applying insights to future learning
  • Are self-motivated
  • Learn how to learn

Personally Responsible and Resilient - EASTCONN graduates initiate and take action independently, using resources to accomplish tasks. They meet challenges with grit and resolve and contribute to their communities in positive ways. They honor commitments and they own the outcomes.

EASTCONN Graduates:
  • Act responsibly with the interest of the larger community in mind
  • Demonstrate personal integrity, honesty, and ethical behavior
  • Persevere to accomplish difficult tasks and overcome academic challenges and personal barriers in order to meet goals
  • Are flexible and adaptable in varying circumstances
  • Incorporate feedback effectively


 - EASTCONN graduates seek, contribute and respond to feedback to achieve collective outcomes. They respect and value diverse perspectives that enrich their learning about themselves and others.

EASTCONN Graduates:
  • Respect and value diverse perspectives
  • Conduct themselves in a respectable and professional manner
  • Exercise flexibility and compromise to accomplish common goals
  • Leverage the group to create new ideas and increase innovation and quality of work
  • Assume shared responsibility

Effective Communicators
 - EASTCONN graduates are active listeners who articulate their thoughts and ideas, using a variety of media. They use communication for a range of purposes and audiences to inform, instruct, persuade, and motivate.

EASTCONN Graduates:
  • Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively, using oral, written and non-verbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts 
  • Engage in active listening and respectful discourse
  • Use multiple media and technologies for effective communication
  • Know how to judge their effectiveness and assess impact


Informed Critical Thinkers - EASTCONN graduates engage in analysis, evaluation, reasoning, and reflection to build understanding, solve problems, and identify alternative solutions.

EASTCONN Graduates:

  • Ask questions
  • Collect, assess and analyze evidence, arguments, claims and beliefs
  • Analyze, evaluate and synthesize information from multiple points of view
  • Reason effectively

Effective Problem-Solvers - EASTCONN graduates identify, evaluate and prioritize solutions to complex situations. They critically reflect on available solutions.

EASTCONN Graduates:
  • Identify, define and solve authentic problems and essential questions
  • Research and innovate to lead to better solutions
  • Reflect critically on learning experiences, processes, and solutions

Creative Innovators - EASTCONN graduates have original and imaginative ideas and put their ideas into practice in order to contribute to a better world.

EASTCONN Graduates:
  • Use a wide range of idea-creation techniques
  • Elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate their own ideas, in order to improve and maximize creative efforts
  • Demonstrate originality and inventiveness in their work
  • View failure as an opportunity to learn



Definitions & Frequently Asked Questions


Standards & Priority Standards
Standards: Broad learning statements published by state and national organizations that describe what students should know and be able to do based on content and grade-level.

Priority Standards: Standards that have been identified as key learning statements for each course.

Frequently Asked Questions

What remains the same?
Students will continue to receive feedback to improve their work towards achieving the standards for each course and engage in deeper learning. Students may revise and resubmit to demonstrate mastery. Each course will recieve an overall "grade" that calculates a GPA for college admissions.

Standards & Rubrics: EASTCONN magnet high schools are personalized, competency-based learning environments.

Standards are learning statements, published by state and national organizations, that describe what students should know and be able to do. Standards are identified and set the expectations for student learning for each course. Rubrics aligned with the standards communicate student progress towards mastering the standard.

EASTCONN magnet high schools - ACT and QMC - are personalized, competency-based learning environments.

This means three things:

  1. Course content is driven by EASTCONN's Portrait of the Graduate and academic standards. These standards outline what a student needs to know and be able to do.

  2. Students demonstrate their learning of the standards in varied, personalized ways.

  3. Using rubrics, students are provided continuous feedback through self-reflection, peer feedback, and teacher feedback.


Feedback & PowerSchool

Why is feedback important?

Feedback is one of the most meaningful tools in a student's learning experience. A student's ability to receive feedback and implement it is a skill set that translates to college, to careers, and to so many parts of life.

Students receive feedback every day, in conversation with staff and peers, through written directions on their work, in the classroom, in the hallways, and everywhere. Feedback provides insight into what is working, and what needs to be adjusted or improved upon, and guides future learning experiences. As a student builds their body of evidence demonstrating their learning and through the feedback/revision process, a student will be able to articulate where they are in their learning journey and where to go next.

Aside from teacher and peer conferencing, there are two places that are instrumental in receiving feedback on a student's progress toward meeting the standards: PowerSchool and Google Classroom. Each has its own purpose and levels of access.



John Hattie's Work

John Hattie's research is instrumental in identifying what practices have the greatest impact on student learning. This infographic from Corwin and Osiris (2019) highlights the differences in what impacts learning and how. The blue area, or zone of desired effects, indicates what has the greatest, positive effect on student learning. Among that list, you'll notice feedback is one of them!

What is PowerSchool?


PowerSchool is one of our ways to communicate student progress to families. PowerSchool contains the standards for each content area and is "tagged" to each assignment to reflect how the student is performing compared to the standard.

For example, a formative task where a student practices a skill for the first time might be communicated in PowerSchool as "beginning" or "progressing" toward the standard. This means that this is a learning area for the student to continue working on, and the student can reflect on their progress with feedback from the teacher and their peers.

When the time comes for a student to demonstrate their level of mastery towards a set of standards on a summative assessment, there will be feedback on multiple standards. It is this overall summative score that will factor into the student's "final grade" for the course.

Accessing PowerSchool

You can access PowerSchool by clicking here!

If you do not have an account yet, you can create one by following these instructions:

  1. Select "Create an Account" and fill in the top of the screen.

  2. Create your own username and password. Do not use an email address or spaces. The username and password are case-sensitive.

  3. Enter your child's name and the Access ID and Access Password that were provided to you as well as your relationship with the child where you see "Link Students to Account."

        NoteThe Access ID and Access Password provided above are case-sensitive.

  1. If you have more than one child using PowerSchool, you may enter their access IDs as well.

PowerSchool Tutorial - Scores

How To Access PowerSchool

Google Classroom

Teachers post assignments and announcements in Google Classroom. This is one of the places where students turn in work and receive descriptive feedback to improve. Parents are invited to join Google Classroom to receive reports about missing assignments, upcoming work, and class activities.


For more information and see a sample email summary, click here!


EASTCONN is a public, non-profit, Regional Educational Service Center, which has been serving the education needs of northeastern Connecticut schools and communities since 1980.

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