- The rural Lindsay Unified School District in Tulare County, CA, had high dropout rates and a student population that was over 80% low-income, nearly half English learners and 30% children of migrant workers, but performance-based learning has improved outcomes over the last seven years.
- EdSource reports students in the district work independently, proceeding through academic topics based on lists posted on the classroom walls that show what students have accomplished and what they should do next, while teachers — called learning facilitators — provide individual and small-group support.
- Teachers can help students who are below or above grade level in their classrooms and they also collaborate with their colleagues to allow advanced students to sit in on lessons in higher-grade classrooms when appropriate, and student outcomes are up — the graduation rate rose from below 70% to 82% from 2010-11 to 2013-14.
Performance-based learning is one strategy schools have identified to better engage students in their learning. When students have greater agency in the pace at which they proceed through their lessons and they clearly see where they are going, they tend to be more invested in the learning process. This is one way schools are helping students develop grit and perseverance. Everything is placed along a path and difficulty never equals long-term failure.
At Summit Public Schools, a charter network, Facebook engineers helped create a personalized learning platform that puts students in charge of their education. Students see a year’s worth of content in their online learning management system and decide which subject and unit to focus on each day while teachers help them pace themselves and master the material.