Rethinking High School Graduation Requirements: Project & Microcredentials – Vander Ark on Innovation – Education Week

This is a bold approach that needs to be further developed. A new paradigm for high school education.
    • The five states that make up the New England Secondary School Consortium have made progress on redefining success by developing proficiency-based diplomas.

    • Chris Sturgis notes that many schools use capstone projects, exhibitions, or portfolios that provide evidence that students have met the level of proficiency.

    • Given all this opportunity, how do we reconceptualize what graduates should know and be able to do?

      • Another way to frame and communicate learning expectations is to ask students to complete and present 20 projects (or, more broadly successful learning experiences) — four to six per year over three or four years including:


      • Solve a local problem (community service)
      • Launch a business or sustainable initiative (entrepreneurship)
      • Build a mobile app (for the business/initiative)
      • Secure and serve a customer with marketing services
      • Share a global context (comparative analysis across time/subjects)
      • Propose solutions to 3 global problems (see case for studying UN’s #GlobalGoals)
      • Complete an online course
      • Complete 2 college courses
      • Demonstrate computational thinking
      • Demonstrate application of data analysis
      • Conduct a science experiment and publish the results
      • Publish 40 editorials, reviews, or reflections (individual)
      • Publish 2 major works: papers, books, or sites (team)
      • Explain 10 emerging implications of artificial intelligence on lives/livelihoods
      • Produce and present public art (performance, exhibit)
      • Apply to a valuable postsecondary experience (college or equal)

      • Self-directed learners
      • Skilled communicators
      • Design thinkers
      • Persistent innovators
      • Data & AI literate
      • Empathetic collaborators
      • Resourceful problem solvers & entrepreneurs
      • Global citizens
      • Experienced project managers
      • Healthy conscientious neighbors

    • If graduation requirements were described as 20 projects and 10 microcredentials, it would allow students to attack the requirements in their own way and at their own pace often working in teams and cohorts.

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