The primary and the crucial difference between a competency based system and a traditional model is that students advance when they are ready rather than according to a mandate that they keep up with other students in their grade level cohort according to a prescribed timeline.
The skills and knowledge students need to demonstrate in order to receive their diplomas from Map Academy will be the same high standards they would need to reach if they remained in a traditional high school. Map Academy’s curriculum and instruction are aligned to the Common Core and Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, and students will pass MCAS and fulfill graduation requirements in the same core academic areas as traditional high schools. Competency based education revolves around identifying students’ specific academic needs and tailoring goals, instruction, and assessments accordingly. This includes levels of student engagement. As students engage with the material and with school more, their experience with Map Academy and their teachers will advance as well. At Map Academy, our competency based model will hold each student to high academic standards while ensuring that they do not have to spend time learning content they already know and practicing skills they have already demonstrated.
Many Map Academy students will come from traditional models where they are considered overage and under credited. Instead of requiring students to repeat entire grades or courses, we will assess and document competencies in which they can demonstrate mastery and create personalized roadmaps that focus specifically on each student’s needs.
School performance is the result of the intersection of academic and social emotional strengths and weaknesses. However, in a traditional environment students’ social emotional/ behavioral deficiencies often adversely affect their performance, which means that academic assessments do not give an accurate picture of what students actually know and are able to do.
At Map Academy, we will recognize that academic and social emotional growth are inextricably linked and will prioritize both academic and social emotional competencies. At Map Academy, it’s not the content that’s different. It’s the way we deliver instruction and assess student progress that transforms the traditional paradigm.