Seat-time vs. Demonstrating Competency: Key Questions for Ohio Leaders
This emphasis on seat-time over mastery contributes to the disconnect between a national graduation rate of over 80 percent and only one in four high school seniors testing proficient in math. Our current system sends mixed messages and false signals to students and their parents. - The Path to Personalized
Since the passage of SB 311 in 2006, Ohio has actually been one of several states that does permit students to earn high school credit based on demonstrated proficiency in subject area competency (CBE), rather than seat time. The resulting Credit Flexibility "Credit-Flex" plan went into effect in 2009 and all districts were required to have a policy on credit flexibility. Far more sophisticated than the old "testing-out" concept, a student's personalized "Credit Flex" plan can assume a variety of forms, such as distance learning, foreign travel or on-line courses.
The National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) has found that locally schools and districts face many implementation challenges when shifting to new norms of demonstrating knowledge and skills. According to NCSL, states must consider the following key questions:
- To what extent will students advance on demonstrated mastery? Will some students or all students advance based on demonstrated mastery? If the answer is some students, will they be students in certain grade levels (e.g., only high school), students in certain subjects, or students who are struggling or advanced, or would advancement be based on individual student preference?
- To what extent will summative assessments, used to validate determinations of mastery for advancement, be administered at the point of readiness? At the far edge of the continuum, competency-based pathways would mean that states would assess students at the point-and at any point-that they are likely to demonstrate a mastery level of performance. This timing, however, represents a significant departure from traditional statewide annual, often end-of-year summative assessment. How far does the state envision going toward this point?
- How will state education funding systems adjust to students moving at their own pace? Changing how students are organized and how they move through the system may impact traditional school funding approaches.
Phillips, K. and Lockett, E. (2017) The Path to Personalized Learning: The Next Chapter in the Tale of Three States.
Tallahassee, Fla.: ExcelinEd., p. 1.