• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The authors participated in a bold, statewide school improvement initiative that re-examined the role of a critical variable in twentieth century educationùtime. Progressive educational policy changes in New Hampshire have put into motion the most dynamic approach to the delivery of education of any state in America. This statewide effort to create a system of personalizedstomized learning cannot properly function in the 20th century model of teaching and learning where time is the constant and achievement is the variable. The steps that New Hampshire has taken will provide the foundation for a new delivery model where time is the variable and achievement is the constant. The New Hampshire vision is built on the assumption that students can learn through a variety of experiencesùtraditional classroom instruction being but one mode of delivery. Out-of-classroom Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO's) provide alternatives to classroom instruction. These can include internships, private instruction, on-line learning and other forms of independent study. But, at the core of this vision, is the idea that student achievement (and, by extension, teacher effectiveness) should be measured in terms of mastering competencies, rather than the traditional measure of ‘seat time.’ Although competency-based models have been attempted, the New Hampshire story is unique in that it offers a unique case of large-scale implementation. Bramante and Colby offer the reader the ability to understand a new context for the reinvention of education and how these challenges affect all levels and aspects of our system of public education. Education professionalsùfrom classroom teachers to policy makersùhave much to learn from the lesson of New Hampshire.

Competency-Based Learning
Competency-based learning

The 20th century model used the Carnegie Unit as a measure of learning. The 21st century model uses competency as a measure of learning. We define competency as a student's ability to transfer content and skill in and/or across content areas.

Competency-based learning asks students to learn important content information and skills. It also requires that a student demonstrate that learning by applying the content and skills in unique ways. Rather than assume that the magic number of hours defined by the Carnegie Unit yields true understanding, we should be identifying the learning competencies, benchmarking what mastery of those competencies looks like, and moving our students to mastery in a continuum that is not time dependent.

The Carnegie Unit has been used in both ...

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