Today is my 36th birthday. While my age has ticked a new mark, I’m only one day older than I was yesterday. Keeping track of years to mark age is not a very precise way to measure age. I think this precision is worse when we are younger, say school aged.
Yet, despite the imprecise nature of using years to measure age, and our knowledge that different kids mature at different rates & at different times within different domains, we continue to use age-graded systems in our schools. We use a convenient system at the expense of accuracy. We continually fall victim to the sunken-cost trap.
I do not believe competency-based learning is a panacea. I think this strategy maintains emphasis on school being about particular outcomes instead of experiences and thinking. If school were to become about helping kids be better thinkers (instead of meeting particular content standards), I imagine there might be new ways to structure school that we can’t even imagine in the standards-based movement.
Not yet. We’ll see what 37 brings.