This post originally appeared at the Foundation for Excellence in Education on March 27, 2015.
The goal of a high school biology student should be to learn biology, or at least learn all the course has to offer.
That sounds simple enough. But in reality, it is not how the public education system works. Instead, the goal is to have the student sit in a biology class for a specific amount of time (often about 180 days), regardless of how long it actually takes the student to master the material.
An advanced student has to slow down; a struggling student has to keep up.
Inserting an artificial time restriction into learning forces students to adapt to someone else’s learning schedule. A better approach is to allow students to progress at a flexible pace so they can move on when they have mastered the material. Idaho is taking a bold step in this direction. The state recognizes the need for education to be more personalized in order to reach their goals.
Earlier this month, the Idaho legislature unanimously passed HB 110, which directs the Department of Education to begin Idaho’s transition to a mastery-based education system. And last week, Governor Butch Otter signed the bill into law.
This is another stride towards implementing Governor Otter’s Task Force for Improving Education, and it is an important step forward in preparing Idaho students for success in the 21st century. (more…)