When Next opened its doors in 2013, we were committed to a fully competency-based approach to instruction, grading, and assessment. This means that we do not use traditional organizational structures or grading practices. Students at Next truly move at their own pace, as they demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and understanding of the high school curriculum.Learn more
In 2005 the NH Department of Education began the process of moving toward a competency-based approach to teaching and learning. Beginning in 2008, all NH high schools were required to develop policies that would allow students to earn credit based on the demonstration of competency, not seat-time. High schools around the state quickly adapted to this new initiative while many also continued to use traditional methods of grading and assessment.
In traditional education students are grouped together in grade levels and classrooms and move through the content at the same rate. They all earn credit and move to the next level at the same time. At Next, we do not recognize grade levels and we do not keep students in the same classes for an entire semester or year. Students progress at varying rates and with varying levels of support. In short, they move on when they are competent.
In traditional schools, the curriculum is handed to the students. Although some choice about classes may be provided, there are typically defined pathways for how students earn credit. At Next, there are multiple pathways to demonstrate competency and earn credit. The curriculum at Next is not focused on structured content (all students learn the exact same things) or isolated skills. Instruction is designed around transferable ideas, important concepts, and real-world skills. Students work in collaboration with teachers to decide which pathways they will take to achieve these outcomes and whether or not to carve their own pathways.
In traditional schools, students earn credit by attending courses taught at school. At Next, school-based learning is just one way students can earn credit. Students can also design their own individual projects, enroll in classes taught by outside organizations, or partner with professionals.