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Here’s what personalized learning looks like in Florida

• ExcelinEd

Graduating class

Traditionally, education systems are oriented around calendar days and seat-time requirements. This outdated method demands all students move at the same pace, regardless of how long it actually takes a child to master a subject. Competency-based education is a system of instruction where students advance to higher levels of learning as soon as they demonstrate mastery of concepts and skills regardless of time, place or pace.

Through Competency-Based Education programs, instruction can be personalized so students can advance to higher levels of learning as soon as they demonstrate mastery of concepts and skills. Asking students to demonstrate competency in order to advance will ensure each child will graduate when he or she is ready for college and career.

Currently, Florida has existing Competency-Based Education pilot programs in Lake and Pinellas Counties. This year, state lawmakers are looking to expand those existing pilot programs to other school districts and offer participating districts more flexibility so students can advance when they’re ready without being held back by seat-time requirements.

Yesterday, two pieces were published highlighting Florida’s existing Competency-Based Education programs. Take a look to learn more about these exciting programs:

Florida lawmakers push personalized learning
Orlando Sentinel
By: Leslie Postal

…at Windy Hill [Middle School in Clermont], administrators say teachers and creativity remain key. “Yes, the teacher is teaching, it just looks different,” said Principal William Roberts.

Since the school began phasing in personalized learning, discipline problems have dropped, likely because students are more engaged in their classes, which emphasize student choice in assignment, projects and collaborative work, Roberts added.

“You have more control,” agreed eighth-grader Carlos Molina, 13. “You can do your own work at your own pace.” (Continue reading)


Lake County Schools: Designing a Strategy to Bring Personalized Learning to Scale
By Chris Sturgis

…Lake County Schools has developed a comprehensive definition of personalization as creating the environment where “learners drive their own learning and connect learning with their own interests and aspirations.” It includes:

  • become active participants in the design of learning and identify goals and objectives for their own learning plans;
  • develop the skills to use appropriate technology and resources;
  • build networks of peers, experts, and teachers for support;
  • demonstrate mastery of content in a competency-based system;
  • monitor the progress of their learning; and
  • redefine learning activities and goals based on individual learner needs.

This is an interesting definition that has integrated personalized learning as an approach (meeting students where they are, responding to their interests with instructional experience in which they have agency, voice and choice) with competency-based learning (a school infrastructure designed to ensure students are successful by providing consistently aligned instruction and assessment, increasing ownership through transparency, and offering timely support when students are struggling). (Continue reading)


Visit ExcelinEd’s Policy Library to learn more about Competency-Based Education.

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