Picture this, beginning of freshman year in high school and I am trying to navigate my way through the new system of proficiencies. Having taken 3 high school classes the previous year I thought I had some idea of what I was getting into, and I might have, but for the implementation of proficiencies.
Through my experiences in my freshman year has come a new understanding of the proficiency system and the ideals around which it was created: personalization, more opportunities to get credit for outside learning experiences, and updating education to the 21st century.
I managed to stumble through freshman year and began to formulate a rough plan for the rest of my time in high school, a personalized plan. Then when I began talking to people about my plan I found out that my plan wouldn’t work. You might ask why if proficiencies personalize your learning experience. The answer to that question is content, the requirements for graduation are based around content and even more specific content than in the old Carnegie system
So with a new system and a new world why are we clinging so strongly to ideals from more than 100 years ago?
People are scared of change that has been and will continue to be a fact, but sometimes change is necessary. This is one of those cases where change has become necessary. The world has changed to a place where skills and flexible thinking are more important than memorizing information so our education system must mirror that. The requirements to graduate from schools and therefore what students learn in schools needs to be based around the transferable skills, what I like to call “life skills”.
Basing the graduation requirements around transferable skills will not only improve the education that people are receiving to something more worthy of the 21st century, but will also give students more freedom to pursue a more personalized path. Replacing required content with required skills will give students the opportunity to take classes that are relevant to what they want to pursue in their career and life intrests. It will also give students more chances to have their out of school learning experiences recognized.