3 Pivot Points to a Performance-Based Education System

Tom Vander Ark:

In education, there’s a lot up in the air right now: standards, testing, employment practices, budgets, student technology, online learning, and federal policy. It’s conceivable that if we took advantage of the uncertainty, a few places could emerge with a better and cheaper education system. Here’s three pivot points that could anchor next generation systems:
1. Merit Badges: the goal of college and career readiness and development Common Core standards will require most states, district to make lots of course and curriculum. States could use the opportunity to replace the 100 year old seat time and credit system with a new merit badge system–a bundle of assessments would be used to demonstrate learning of a bundle of competencies. Take ratios and fractions as an example; a merit badge would describe what students need to know and a combination of ways they can show it including content-embedded assessment (e.g., game score), performance assessment (e.g., project), adaptive assessment (e.g., online quiz), and an end of unit test. Mastery-based learning and merit badge evidence would replace grades and courses as the primary mechanism to mark student progress.