Here are two common classroom scenarios: A student is bored while waiting for classmates to finish a test and, therefore, becomes disruptive, or a student is frustrated due to misunderstanding the material, but the class moves forward, anyway. One student wants to speed up past the group and one wants to slow down from the group. In either scenario, the student is left feeling unmotivated. But what would the scenario be if schools were not structured around groups, but rather the individual?
We’re all familiar with basic video game design: A player participates individually, and when a level is complete, moves on to the next level, right? Adams 50 School District in Westminster, Colorado, has taken a similar approach in how students progress from level to level.
Students are tested and placed in one of 16 performance levels. They then move through the levels at their own pace, not according to a school calendar or their peers. There are still curriculum expectations, but students decide how to learn that content; they could write an essay, prepare a presentation, or work in a group and demonstrate key knowledge and skills.
Is this an approach you would like to see in more schools or in your own school? Do you think individualized curriculum is the master key to student success? Can this approach hold up against the Common Core and state standardized testing?
To learn more about how Adams 50 implements this approach to learning, read our story on the Adams 50 website.