Transitioning to competency-based learning

Building community buy-in

Transitioning to standards, competency, or mastery-based grading completely changes the way a school community discusses student progress. Foresight, communication, and the right tools can help ensure a smooth transition so everyone starts the year on the same page. Alma was built for this.

“I love how easy it is to use as a parent communication tool. With the simple categories and live updates, I can quickly show my parents where their students are struggling simply by updating my gradebook”

Nicole H.
5th Grade Teacher

The Challenges

 Hesitation from families

Confusion and unfamiliarity over progressive grading practices can be disguised as resistance. You need ways to help engage families in the switch so they understand how their children are being assessed.

Insufficient tooling

With most legacy SIS platforms, the decision to switch to progressive practices may feel like an all-or-nothing choice. You need a flexible SIS platform that allows for both a gradual transition and full implementation.

Reluctant staff

Staff need to trust that the new system will not increase their workload, and that the set of standards meets the needs and goals of their learners. You need an SIS that prioritizes gradebook speed and the flexibility to accommodate any set of standards or homegrown proficiencies.


The Solution

Alma supports the transition that works best for your school, whether transitioning fully, launching a progressive practice pilot program, or just thinking about a switch. Alma’s easy-to-use interface makes communicating and understanding student progress simple – however you choose to measure it.

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More meaning, less mystery

Customize report cards to display standards-based grading alongside an overall class level grade to introduce the standards being assessed within each subject. Show exactly what the student knows, is able to do, and their next steps for progress.


Instill a growth mindset

Display grades on an A-F or 100-point scale and the academic targets associated with each subject. Teachers’ notes expand upon students’ progress toward learning targets and support needed so families can focus on growth over time rather than individual assignment grades.

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Commit to change

Fully commit to progressive practices by clearly communicating expectations with students and families. Build consensus on the what, why, and how of progressive grading to increase buy-in and help everyone feel better prepared.

“I love the visual simplicity of the grade book and the compatibility with Standards Based Grading. Not many grading softwares have the finesse for options and sophistication within ”

Lindsey M
Dean of Teaching and Learning


Alma is your partner in SIS

Guiding families through progressive practices takes patience, resilience, and understanding. Alma equips schools with intuitive features and tools necessary to effectively lead families through the transition.