Three Ways to Scale Student-Centered Reforms in Your System

improving student learning in partnership with research towards large-scale change

Three Ways to Scale Student-Centered Reforms in Your System

Since 2014, New Hampshire educators can meet academic accountability requirements through a statewide Performance Assessment for Competency-based Education (PACE) system. Aimed at capturing a more authentic assessment of content knowledge, educators have developed and scored performance tasks with levels of reliability and validity comparable to state level standardized tests. As part of a William and Flora Hewlett Foundation funded research-practice partnership (RPP), Jobs for the Future (JFF) has been collecting data and insights on the scaling of state-mandated Work-Study Practices (WSPs) in New Hampshire. The extent of the diffusion of these approaches across the state has been striking. Some examples:

  • From fall 2017 to spring 2019, New Hampshire’s PACE system grew the number of performance tasks in mathematics, English Language Arts (ELA) and science from 14 to 112 — an 800% growth.
  • In that same time period, PACE went from no performance tasks scoring on WSPs — self-direction, collaboration, communication, and creativity — to 51 tasks that included at least one WSP proficiency score.
  • And in the 2018-2019 school year, the system developed six performance tasks that not only scored the WSP of self-direction but embedded self-direction instruction within content instruction.

From the start, the state’s PACE system was a key driver, providing a critical backbone for assessing competency-based efforts that sought to change how teachers taught and assessed content mastery. Throughout these scaling efforts the New Hampshire Learning Initiative (NHLI), a nonprofit intermediary whose mission is to catalyze education innovation in the state, has been instrumental in developing the relationships and building the infrastructure necessary to achieve this level of uptake. As the research partner in this endeavor, JFF has documented and observed several key mechanisms employed by NHLI that have amplified their ability to affect statewide, student-centered practice change.

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