In an effort to move away from teacher-driven, seat-time based education, the State of Maine has adopted a new approach to demonstrating college-and-career readiness: Proficiency-Based Learning. Rather than a credit-based, linear model to education, the PBL model encourages student-driven, anywhere/anytime education that encourages community involvement to solve real-world challenges. Students will demonstrate content and skills knowledge in their discipline in a way that proves proficiency, rather than an aggregate “passing grade” that may gloss-over failed standards. Teachers, students, parents, and community leaders help design instruction and assessments that help a student demonstrate their learning in a way that accentuates his/her strengths. This helps students see relevance of in-school concepts and their connection to the community and world in which they live.
This model encourages (very nearly requires) involvement from a variety of community stakeholders: business, para-educational groups, teachers, parents, administrators, and government. The Maine After School Network sees this as a brilliant opportunity for expanding out of school learning, not only as a means of further education, but as a way for students to prove their mastery of content objectives in a setting that is more comfortable for the student. Through educational and community partnerships, students and teachers can achieve the anytime/anywhere learning that is promoted by the Department of Education’s Strategic Framework.