Oregon State Superintendent of Schools Susan Castillo just sent out a report about recent state-wide test results. In her cover letter she wrote, “Education in Oregon, and around the country, has changed dramatically in the past ten years. We are increasing expectations from elementary through high school to ensure all of our students graduate ready for college and career…We are implementing educational models based on proficiency, personalization, and individual growth.”In my last blog, I discussed the new report calling for replacing seat time with competency. It outlined state efforts and state plans to bring proficiency-based education into more public school systems and expand it where it exists. It envisions “vibrant education system where all of our children experience the joys of learning.” The article about the report is worthy of note. “We are proposing what amounts to a vital change in current methods of instruction and measurement so that students can move ahead when they demonstrate knowledge,” said Susan Patrick, co-author of the report… “Unfortunately, many states and school districts are still handcuffed by rigid regulations that prevent them from moving toward the student-centered, performance-based approach.” To repeat: “Unfortunately, many states and school districts are still handcuffed by rigid regulations that prevent them from moving toward the student-centered, performance-based approach.” Later from the article: “Successful implementation of competency-based standards not only will help students have a positive experience with learning, but also will “increase [the nation’s] productivity” by decreasing the dropout rate and closing the achievement gap, the report argues. “With approximately $600 billion spent annually in the U.S. on K-12 education, why wouldn’t we want to create incentives for our schools so that every dollar going to fund education was based on students’ outcomes, performance, and growth in learning toward world-class expectations, rather than on seat time?” the authors ask. “What would it take to unleash innovation to allow practitioners, educators, and administrators to create competency-based pathways of learning for each student, regardless of where or how long they sit?” “As one participant in the …forum expressed: “The problem is quite simple—we are measuring the wrong end of the student, related to learning.” Get it…(smile) [If not, just keep re-reading it!]
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