Transforming Education for High Need Students: Competency and Performance-Based Learning

January 20, 2011  • Education Innovation Forum and Expo

Diploma Plus (DP) offers targeted approaches to education reform that supports creating multiple pathways for over-aged and under-credited students to earn regular high school diplomas and graduate college- and career-ready. Diploma Plus opens small stand-alone schools and small learning communities built on the DP Four Essentials for success: a performance-based approach, a supportive school culture, future focus on college and careers, and effective supports for teachers and schools. Diploma Plus’ project aims to accelerate and deepen DP’s competency and performance-based system; validate the system’s effectiveness at raising student achievement; replicate the competency and performance-based model to additional and varying sites; and prepare for large-scale model replication. Key to the success of DP is the innovative competency and performance-based model in that DP schools use competency-based and standards aligned curriculum, instruction, and assessment to support a performance-based promotion and graduation structure that allows for individualized student pace and progress linked to standards and competency attainment and not measured by seat time. This focused and comprehensive approach seeks to provide the educational community with one pathway that can be effectively replicated in order to reengage additional numbers of over-aged and under-credited students to earn regular high school diplomas. In addition, the proposed strategy enables Diploma Plus to help support the turnaround of underperforming high schools, contribute to the overall success of district school turnaround plans, raise graduation rates, and increase student achievement.

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