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Issue 41: March 2018

Planning for Proficiency: Planning Backward

Unit Design in a Proficiency-Based Learning System

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What does it mean to ensure that all students meet the standards for graduation? How will teaching and learning be different? How will students and teachers engage with each other in the day-to-day classroom? How will classroom practice change to ensure a more equitable, personalized, and rigorous learning environment? The GSP "Moving from Standards to Practice in a Proficiency-Based System" graphic provides a framework for a "backward-planning" model of unit design that guides students' achievement of graduation standards in a supportive, personalized environment. 

View/Download the Planning for Proficiency brief by Great Schools Partnership

Flex time: Schools break out of scheduling ruts to improve learning for students, teachers

by: Linda Jacobson @lrj417

Newer designs accommodate instructional needs and teach students time management skills.

With more schools shifting some portion of student learning to online platforms, administrators and teachers are finding that the traditional six- or seven-period day in high schools and some middle schools no longer meets their needs. Just as schools are redesigning spaces to accommodate today's learners, they are also implementing innovative schedules that allow for the type of flexibility that both students and teachers want.

Read the complete article on EducationDIVE

New Technical West High School: Turning Challenges into Opportunities for Cleveland's Students

Many schools in hard-hit economic areas, in both urban and rural settings, struggle just to graduate their students from high school, let alone implement innovative instructional models that develop students' deeper learning skills, such as the ability to solve complex problems, collaborate, communicate, and direct their own learning. Despite numerous challenges, New Technical West High School (New Tech West) in Cleveland, Ohio, is doing precisely that by implementing an instructional model focused on research, analysis, and interdisciplinary inquiry that empowers students to personalize their learning and graduate from high school prepared for college and a career.

Read the complete article by the Alliance for Excellent Education

Definitions of Different Types of Competencies - Mastery-Based Learning

State standards provide the foundation - the grade-level learning progressions that teachers use to design their curriculum - but schools determine how standards will be implemented, including which standards must be met In an ideal world, every student would meet every standard. But the reality is that teachers may not have the time to address every standard as comprehensively as they might want to, and not every student will master every standard. Mastery-Based Learning Simplified recommends that schools prioritize the most essential knowledge and skills, and then work backward to design the curriculum. By using prioritization and the principles of backward design, schools can certify achievement of essential standards and significantly increase college and career preparation.

Read the complete article on the State of Connecticut's website