Maine has been shifting to standards-based learning, known in New Hampshire as competency-based learning, reported the Mount Desert Islander. As a result, they have been making great progress in teaching students lifelong skills like time management and taking responsibility for their actions as well as the academic skills that prepare them for college, career, and civic life. Some school districts have found the transition challenging, but say it’s well worth the effort:
“We’re shifting away from an understanding of grades as compensation, as reward, as judgment, as punishment and away from a system that has been broken for a long time,” said Julie Meltzer, the school system’s director of curriculum, assessment and instruction.
“We’re designing a system that is going to successfully support all kids,” she said. “Everybody is in good hands. We’re getting better at what we were already pretty good at.”
“I think this is the most important work I’ve ever done… It’s the most honest, most ethical and most responsive system you can put in place,” Julie Keblinsky, dean of curriculum at Mount Desert Island High School, said of implementing a standards-based system of education.
New Hampshire districts have been involved in competency-based education for as many as ten years now and many have seen students flourish. Starting more recently, Maine’s Mount Desert Island High School is already happy with the progress:
Keblinsky said two big advantages of the standards-based system are that students know exactly what is expected of them academically and grading is much more consistent.
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