Monthly Must Reads

Susie Bell, director of member engagement at MTC, is compiling our “Must Reads.” She is hoping to engage our members schools in the latest resources and conversations on mastery learning and education today. If you would like to get a discussion going on one of these topics, please do so in our closed Facebook group for member schools.

Please get in touch with her if you have ideas or suggestions:

Still Dissatisfied, More Optimistic, Fully Committed

Stacy Childress, New Schools Venture Fund

Diane Tavenner, Summit Public Schools

Jeff Wetzler and Aylon Samouha, Transcend

A comprehensive report on the state of education and lessons learned from the field about the possibilities that change can bring, with a full set of systems change strategies outlined. This report expresses urgency for change while providing concrete suggestions for systems leaders to engage in to ensure change happens. This piece also lends credibility to systems change already happening in schools—with the clear message that stakeholder engagement must be the driving force behind shaping the innovations that will replace traditional, outdated modes of teaching and learning. We are grateful to these authors and their organizations for producing this powerful and bold guidebook to promote continued transformation across our country’s educational institutions.

Graduate Aims Database:  How might we design learning environments to cultivate specific learner outcomes?

Note: This section of Transcend links to an external site and requires users to submit their name and email address.

As a follow-up to last Month’s highlighted Must Read, Defining Graduate Aims by Transcend Education, this component of Transcend’s model is a deeper way to understand the meaning behind developing the graduate aims, and includes measurement methods, as well as learning resources that can support students’ achievement in that specific area. In particular, Transcend focuses on six graduate aims domains, each of which are published in a document that is thoughtfully organized and easily understood. The six domains are:

  • Empathy: A Social Emotional Factor
  • Purpose: A Social Emotional Factor
  • Agency: A Global Competency
  • Critical Consciousness: A Global Competency
  • Self-Regulation: A Social Emotional Factor
  • Self-Awareness: A Social Emotional Factor

This is a fabulous resource that can support schools from start (defining the aims, or mastery credits) to finish (measurement tools to determine students’ attainment of each mastery credit area) in the creation of learning environments to support students’ holistic development.

What’s Happening with Competency-Based Transcripts and Rethinking College Admissions in the United States?  from iNACOL

This article from June 2018 seeks to highlight the efforts across the country (including MTC’s efforts) to redesign the manner in which student learning and performance is communicated to colleges and employers. The writers describe the current landscape related to higher education’s acceptance of alternative forms of documenting students’ learning and growth during their time in high school, citing efforts being made by MTC, the Great Schools Partnership and the New England Secondary School Consortium, and other organizations across the country. The authors also include many resources for further exploration around documenting student learning in competency-based systems.

Defining Graduate Aims: A Collection of Research and Resources for Design Teams

What learning outcomes will best prepare students to thrive in and transform the 21st century?

Transcend’s 2017 publication is a “must-read” for MTC member schools who are designing the personalized instructional approaches necessary to support all learners in achieving success in the 21st century. Three distinct lenses inform this powerful resource (excerpted):

  • Empirical Evidence: What light do research processes and on-the-ground practice shed on the questions?
  • Equity: How can we ensure that our inquiry process includes all of the relevant voices (especially those who are too often marginalized by traditional power structures) and, wherever possible, that our process serves to question or disrupt systems of oppression?
  • Exception As the Norm: How can our insights and our inquiry process avoid treating people as a monolithic “average” but consider every learner and every member of the system as a unique individual, particularly ensuring that we honor important differences among learners?