Schools up student power in directing course of education

Educationdive | February 11, 2019

While most schools guide students into the courses they think are best for students, Quaker Valley High School near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is letting students have a greater say in the direction of their own education, the Washington Post reports. The school, which has fewer than 700 students, allows special education students to try Advanced Placement (AP) courses if they wish, allows students to take up to 20 AP exams, waive prerequisites, choose their own teachers and has eliminated the “gifted” label. Listening to what students want has worked well for the school so far, but primarily because the district is comparatively small and isolated, has an “enlightened” school board, and a history of visionary leaders who have challenged teachers and students to think creatively, according to the article. SoundOut, an organization created to promote “meaningful student involvement, student voice and student engagement,” defines student voice as the “the individual and collective perspective and actions of young people within the context of learning and education.” In their Student Voice Toolbox, a summary of research on the topic, author Adam Fletcher states, “Engaging student voice may be the most powerful lever available to improve student learning in schools.” Part of the reason is that increasing student voice in the classroom and in school encourages independence, collaboration, and a more personalized learning environment.

Spotlight

The US Department of Education offers a clear definition of CBE: “Transitioning away from seat time, in favor of a structure that creates flexibility, allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning. 

Spotlight

The US Department of Education offers a clear definition of CBE: “Transitioning away from seat time, in favor of a structure that creates flexibility, allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning. 

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