At every opportunity, students are assessed on what they know and can do. Student achievement will not include components of effort, behavior, attendance, preparation, or time-oriented deadlines. Instead, student achievement is measured by mastery of competencies over time. As a result, each learning experience at Next outlines clear, non-negotiable learning outcomes, or competencies, that drive instruction. Competencies are transparent, rigorous, and require the transfer of knowledge and skills.
Read a student experience of a competency-based education here.
Learning is a Social Act
Next emphasizes and promotes that authentic learning is best realized within a social dynamic. To this end, Next is community-based, in that both students and staff will have distinct contributions to make with regard to collective learning. This model is reflective of the collaborative nature demanded of participants within the 21st century and also helps to cultivate specific habits of mind.
Process and Inquiry
Traditional approaches to learning emphasize answers. Next emphasizes questions. The work of our students is driven by important, real-world problems and questions. Regularly, these questions will be student-developed and connected to the interest of the learner. An emphasis is placed on the value of knowledge as a tool to make improvements to the student’s world. We will not pursue facts, skills, and knowledge taught in isolation, with no clear connections to the real world. Instead, students engage in inquiry-based processes that seek to connect student interest to the demonstration of competency.
Next values the unique needs and offerings embodied within each student and staff member. Therefore, Next refuses to adopt a “one size fits all” approach to learning. If learning is to be successful, then it must be, first and foremost, connected to the interest of the learner. Although Next will necessitate the use of standardized policies, procedures, and practices, it always explores exceptions to the norm and considers these exceptions through dialogue, reflection, and analysis with all involved parties.