Board of Education Adjusts for Competency-Based System

Board of Education Adjusts for Competency-Based System

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Kim Johnson ReportingIt looks like more Utah students are going to have to "knuckle down" to graduate in the future. The state board of education has adjusted some of its proposed reforms as it moves toward a competency-based education system.

The Board has spent the last year taking public input on their sweeping reform proposals which they call Performance Plus. And they got an earful from parents worried about students not being able to choose their electives in the future. So the board decided NOT to get involved with "elective requirements" and will instead leave them in the hands of local school districts.

Here's a synopsis of what the board has decided to adjust. Students would be required to get C's or better in 15 units. And the method of grading would change to an "all or nothing" type system.

Instead of a grade reflecting a student's performance for an entire year, as it does right now, credit would only be earned by one final pass or fail exam. That exam would either consist of a CRT--Core Curriculum test--or other tests determined by the state board of education.

Middle school students, 7th and 8th graders will have to earn C's or better in at least 12 units of credit in pre-algebra, science and English.

Leaders in Utah's largest teachers union say they have reservations about the reforms.

Pat Rusk, UEA President: "The implementation on the ground is still up in the air. When you ask questions about how this is going to happen there are still no answers. So to jump on board and say this is a good idea when you have no idea what it’s going to look like is still difficult."

Mike Leavitt: "In decades to come, Utah will have a unique education system in that we will measure what students know and learn, as opposed to how much time they spend in school."

Nothing mentioned here is set in stone. The board meets again October 29th for a final vote on these reforms proposals.

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