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Knowledge From the Field

Cracking the Code: Synchronizing Policy and Practice for Performance-Based Learning

Published: July 2011

Publisher(s): International Association for K-12 Online Learning

Author(s): Patrick, Susan; Chris Sturgis

Funder(s): Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Stupski Foundation

View Report (32 pages; 431KB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Digital Learning


The report describes what states are doing to advance performance-based learning, outlines emerging policy issues regarding performance-based learning, and proposes a framework for guiding state leadership.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

=States are creating room for performance-based learning through seat-time waivers, credit flexibility, and comprehensive competency-based learning policy.

=State policies should be guided by the following principles: drive policy by student learning outcomes; guard high academic standards; expand student options; create shared vision among stakeholders; offer districts and schools flexibility, and commit to continuous improvement.

=Emerging issues in state policy include: redefining the Carnegie units into competencies; creating personalized learning plans; the need for student-centered accountability and assessment models; learning empowered by technology; supporting educators in the transition to a competency-based system; financing a competency-based system.

Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Competency-Based Learning; Elementary and Secondary Education; K-12; Online Learning; Performance; Personalized Learning; Policy; Proficiency; School Reform; Standards; Student-Centered

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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