Higher education and workforce development are not the only places where competency based education programs are making waves. In 2008, Pittsfield High School in rural New Hampshire was rated one of the state's lowest-performing schools based on students' standardized test scores. As a result, the school qualified for a $1M federal School Improvement Grant. Rather than doing more of the same, the entire district opted to implement a new instructional approach - a student-centered, competency-based model where teachers function as coaches rather than lecturers and students are evaluated based on mastery of competencies rather than rote memorization. Two years later, standardized test scores still haven't risen, but other metrics indicate that the experiment is working. Dropout rates have decreased while graduation and college-going rates have increased. The Atlantic's Emily Richmond takes a closer look at what happens when students take control of their own learning.
The students take over
Dec 10, 2014