UMPI Transitions to New Learning Approach to Match Changes Happening at High School Level

By Gluckman, Nell | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), February 13, 2014 | Go to article overview

UMPI Transitions to New Learning Approach to Match Changes Happening at High School Level


Gluckman, Nell, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


BANGOR, Maine -- In order to keep in step with a major change that public high schools will embark on before 2018, the University of Maine at Presque Isle will move to a new system for evaluating students' learning.

This style of educating, called proficiency-based education, requires that students demonstrate a mastery of certain predetermined skills, such as public speaking or using the scientific method, before they can move on in their academic career.

By law, students who graduate from high school in 2018 and thereafter will have to show that they have mastered the Maine Learning Results, a set of standards that hit on a range of content areas from math and English to career development, before they can graduate. The standards are aligned with the Common Core standards, which have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.

"Maine's public high schools are transitioning," said UMPI President Linda Schott at a press conference at the University of Maine System office on Thursday morning. "We know that there will be students graduating from those high schools and we want to be positioned best to receive them."

To help facilitate that transition, and to attract students to Presque Isle, UMPI will adopt a similar style of educating.

"Students will learn and professors will teach differently," Schott said. Students will have more "choices about how they acquire and demonstrate learning."

Schott acknowledged that the details of how this will look for students have yet to be worked out. University officials also announced Thursday that they have received a $197,946 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation, a charitable organization focused on higher learning, which will be used to train 19 UMPI faculty members on proficiency-based education.

Those faculty members will figure out how to adopt this new system in time for a small cohort of freshmen who will enroll in the program next fall.

Ray Rice, a UMPI English professor and interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, said that instead of taking regular courses with credit hours, students will most likely join integrated learning communities. …

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