Lawmakers Consider Expansion of Competency-Based Schools
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A Florida competency-based
education pilot program that started in 2016 and was expected to
expire at the end of the 2020-2021 school year could grow, if a
proposed law passed. HB
would rename the pilot, originally titled the "Competency-Based
Education Pilot Program," to the "Mastery-based Education
Program" and expand the experiment to all districts, not just
the five in the original program. The current bill would have an
effective date of July 1, 2020.
legislation would also allow participating schools and districts to
use an alternative interpretation of letter grades to measure student
success in grades 6 through 12. However, districts would also be
required to continue using a four-point scale for calculating a
student's grade-point average.
the program, students progress from grade to grade at their own pace,
based on mastery of concepts and skills laid out in Florida's Next
Generation Sunshine State Standards. The idea is that some students
would progress more rapidly through a course without having to meet
the minimum instructional hours' requirement, while others would take
more than 135 or 120 hours of instruction to work through the course
participating districts have tried out the experiment at least
partially in 64 elementary schools, two middle schools, 10 high
schools and one K-12 school.
bill, which has received unanimous bipartisan committee support, has
been placed on the special order calendar for a second reading
tomorrow in the House. If approved, it will move to the Senate for
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.