While some students need more time, others need less, so classroom structures and instructional practices need to change, said Susan Center, District 116 director of teaching and learning.
Algonquin-based Huntley Community School District 158 and Round Lake Area Unit District 116 are among 10 school districts chosen for a pilot program to test competency-based graduation requirements. Competency-based learning means educators assess and advance students based on demonstrated mastery of specific skills, abilities and knowledge instead of merely classroom time.
“It’s not about going faster,” State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said. “We are talking about deepening their experiences. For some kids, it may mean that they finish high school in less time, but for all children we hope that they will have more opportunities when they leave high school.”
Participating districts last week shared how far they have come in developing plans for next school year.
This fall, officials aim to begin developing personalized learning plans for students starting in sixth grade, provide more flexible class scheduling, and develop extensive internship, job shadowing and service partnerships
Round Lake High School began using standards-based grading and mastery learning about seven years ago as part of an overhaul to boost lagging student achievement.