Tasked by the Oregon Department of Education with defining proficiency for consistency in Oregon schools, the Business Education Compact (BEC) has released a workbook titled It's About Time – a Framework for Proficiency-based Teaching & Learning to guide teachers and administrators towards course plan design focused on student knowledge acquisition. The workbook, which is authored by BEC's director of the teaching and learning initiative Diane Smith, outlines a clear set of rubrics for curriculum designers to follow that have been field-tested by more than 150 working teachers.
The resulting framework will allow teachers to break down complex ideas into easily communicable chunks. It also makes it easier for instructors to provide support and intervention to students struggling with a particular area of knowledge, and keep them on track to reaching proficiency on learning standards. The detailed scenarios, on both elementary and high-school level, provide a road map to educators on what they can expect to see once the rubrics have been implemented. The scenarios could also serve as a useful guide for parents who want to make sure that their children are on the road to improved academic achievement.
"The rubrics define how students take ownership of their own learning and the roles of intervention and enrichment in meeting each student's needs. We found that using this framework to define proficiency helps educators reach students who have given up on learning, as well as our advanced students who were not receiving the challenges they require to be interested in school," said Tamra Busch-Johnsen, executive director for BEC.
The workbook also provides tips to school and district administrators on matters such as altering the school calendar, staffing policies, the language to use when crafting their course plans and how best to report and keep track of student learning.
It's About Time is designed to inform and support teachers, students, administrators and school board members who are willing to take bold steps to transform their classrooms, schools and districts so that all students' needs are met for them to be successful. It describes how to create a system in schools where students advance upon mastery.
Foundation funding for an independent evaluator provided the BEC with necessary resources for ground-breaking research and evaluation that validates the effectiveness of proficiency practice. From rural schools to urban schools, from small schools to large comprehensive high schools—the results are consistent: high gains in student achievement and success!
Tested and piloted in four Oregon school districts in 2010-2011 school year.
The Business Education Compact is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1984 with a goal to "Make Learning Real." The Compact aggressively partners businesses and education organizations to help build a knowledgeable, proficient future workforce.