Posted by: crudbasher | September 5, 2012

High School Switches From Variable Learning To Variable Time

I love this! I really didn’t expect to see a school like this, especially one run by the teacher’s union. This school will create a program based on skill competency rather than just seat time. It’s something I have been advocating for a few years so I really hope this works well. (see The Learning Equation)

Of course I am not totally satisfied. 🙂 There are some limitations in this model such as you are still forcing the student to learn what you want them to know, not what they want to know. Still I did have an interesting though. Would peer pressure help motivate kids? What I mean is if a student has a friend in a class and they know that friend will be moving to the next level, would they work harder to stay with them? Would their friend help them along? Could peer pressure work to the student’s advantage?

It’s a great leap in the right direction! Bravo!

(cc) Marting Gommel

  • School Ditches Factory “Assembly Line” | New Haven Independent
    • Sixty-five freshmen are about to embark on a new journey to reimagine a high school education—one that may take three, five, or even six years, depending on how quickly they learn.
    • “We’re pushing all the assumptions of how school is supposed to work,” said Erik Good, who’s steering the experimental journey.
    • The journey begins a week from Wednesday as the academic year begins at High School in the Community (HSC). The radical restructuring is taking place as the Water Street magnet school becomes a “turnaround”—a school with special permission to reconstitute its staff, extend the school day, and overhaul the school rules in order to lift lagging student performance.
    • Instead of entering “freshman year,” incoming students will be placed at the “foundation level” of a new “competency-based learning” system. That means students have to demonstrate mastery of certain skills in order to move up.
    • School will no longer be a “Henry Ford assembly line” where all kids get shuffled through at the same speed, Good said. Instead of getting promoted based on seat time, students will progress at their own pace, once they’re ready.
    • “In a competency-based approach, you have to master certain content skills in order to earn your diploma,” he explained. The goal is to “make sure that all students graduate college-and-career-ready.”
    • In a traditional school system, “time is fixed” at four years, “but the learning that each child gets is varied.”

      In the new approach, Schaefer said, the “learning is fixed,” but the time students take to learn is variable.

      “Some kids are going to be out of here in three years,” Good said. Others could take six.

    • Schaefer said one big challenge of a competency-based school is to set up an adequate support system for kids who don’t meet the standards.

      HSC has an answer for that: It plans to add two hours of mandatory after-school help per week for kids who are falling behind. Half of teachers will stay after school for an hour on Tuesdays and the other half on Thursdays.

    • Good said students will still get grades, though they won’t be As, Bs and Cs. They’ll likely be a new four-point scale based on the new standards. The standards will be aligned with Common Core State Standards, the new national curriculum states have agreed to adapt to.
    • The new system will treat kids like individuals, and enable them to learn at their own pace, he said. When the incoming students emerge from HSC, they’ll have something to show for it, he said.

      “These outcomes are really going to be amazing.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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