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ERIC Number: ED564063
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
Proficiency-Based Pathways in Three Pilot Programs: Examining Implementation and Outcomes
Lewis, Matthew; Steele, Jennifer L.; SantibaƱez, Lucrecia; Stecher, Brian M.; Hamilton, Laura; Faxon-Mills, Susannah; Rudnick, Mollie
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Proficiency-based or competency-based approaches to education are undergoing a resurgence in both K-12 and higher education settings, spurred in part by advances in digital learning technologies. These approaches allow students to progress at their own pace through a diverse range of personalized learning experiences aligned to students' interests. In a proficiency-based system, students receive credit not as a function of how much time they spend studying a subject but, rather, based on demonstrations and assessments of their learning. This study focuses on three distinct approaches to proficiency-based education. It attempts to extend the research base by describing the implementation of three diverse technology-enabled models and by providing evidence about students' experiences and learning outcomes under each model. Description of the research location. The study examines proficiency-based pathways implementation in five settings. To obtain a quasi-experimental estimate of the pilot interventions' effects on student performance in the targeted subject areas, the authors adopt a distinct approach for each site to reflect the differing scope of implementation across sites. This study highlights the role of instructional technology in facilitating proficiency-based educational approaches--both the ways in which technology is transformative and the ways in which it may be useful but less essential. It also lays bare some of the challenges in bringing proficiency-based models to scale. Though the analyses of students' outcomes are still under way, the quasi-experimental analytic results will provide new evidence on the near-term effects of proficiency-based approaches and pave the way for studies designed to yield more-robust causal inferences. A table is appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; High Schools; Grade 8; Elementary Education; Grade 9
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE); RAND Corporation