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B E YO N D R E F O R M

The variety of speeds at which learners move through the curriculum is addressed through a structure that allows for grouping and regrouping of learners at any point in the learning process, regardless of the time of the year (Schwahn & McGarvey, 2014). Unlike tracking (which traditionally places learners on a fixed path based on prior performance or perceived abilities), the Performance Based System allows for fluidity in the learning process. Because learners are grouped by what they’re currently working on, not by traditional grade level, they work in mixed-age groupings on specific content or skills. For example, a ten-year-old learner who is reading at a third-grade level but doing sixth-grade mathematics would be grouped for each content area with learners of various ages who are performing at roughly the same level. These grouping structures, in addition to allowing for more focused instruction and opportunities for acceleration, support a more collaborative and cooperative learning experience for all learners. For many learners, these grouping structures help to enhance self-efficacy, personal empowerment, and intrinsic motivation. In Lindsay Unified’s Performance Based System, learning is the constant and time is the variable. Because time is flexible, the district can meet and engage all learners at their respective levels to ensure that everyone learns. Lindsay Unified has implemented four foundational concepts in its Performance Based System. Together, these concepts have brought about a dramatic shift in the learning paradigm, leading

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learning outcomes only as they are able to demonstrate mastery of those learning targets. Lindsay Unified’s system is also distinguished by its focus on learners’ empowerment and ownership of learning. Learner agency, a core component of this model, fosters a culture of shared responsibility, advocacy, and transparency in which learners and learning facilitators co-construct learning and assessment. This agency begins with the shared vision and norms of the learning environment and extends to the learning experiences. Learning experiences are structured by the needs of the learners and include formative feedback between the learning facilitator and learner to ensure a path to rigorous learning and mastery of content. The Performance Based System removes the arbitrary structures of its predecessor such as seat time as an equation of learning, point values for assignments, and teachercentered classrooms in which the teacher is the keeper of the knowledge.

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Beyond Reform  

Like many school districts, Lindsay Unified School District faced difficulty meeting the needs of increasingly diverse student populations....

Beyond Reform  

Like many school districts, Lindsay Unified School District faced difficulty meeting the needs of increasingly diverse student populations....