WEST virginia Legislature
2017 regular session
House Bill 3061
By Delegates Upson, Espinosa, Statler, Cooper, Rowan, R. Romine, Higginbotham, Hornbuckle, Thompson and Frich
[Introduced March 14, 2017;
to the Committee on Education.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-5E-8, relating to encouraging mastery-based education through the Innovation In Schools program; making findings and stating purpose; providing definitions; specifying duties of Department of Education with respect to program; providing for Innovation In Education/Mastery Based designations for award of grants and other financial assistance; requiring participation in incubator process; prohibiting penalties for student who transfers from mastery-based to nonmastery-based schools; and requiring institutions of higher education to recognize and accept high school diplomas on equal footing.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-5E-8, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5E. Innovation In education act.
§18-5E-8. Mastery-based instructional design and delivery strategies.
(a) The Legislature finds that under traditional models of time-based instruction, particularly in the STEM areas, students may accumulate knowledge and skill deficits as they progress through the curriculum which can eventually stymie their ability to be successful at higher levels. Conversely, students who master the curriculum objectives quickly are limited under the traditional time-based model from moving on to more challenging objectives or elective subjects for which they have demonstrated their readiness to undertake. The purpose of this section is to encourage and support schools through the Innovation In Schools program under this article to move from the current time-based model toward a mastery-based model of education that allows for more personalized and differentiated learning, creates a focus on explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives, and empowers students to progress to higher levels as they demonstrate mastery with additional focus on those who have not. This encouragement and support entails a multistep process involving building broader state-level awareness of mastery-based models of education, identifying roadblocks to implementing such models and possible solutions, and developing a process for supporting schools willing and ready to begin the transition. Therefore, the Innovation In Education program established in this article shall include, in addition to the principal focus areas listed in subsection (a), section two of this article, the area of mastery-based education as provided in this section.
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Mastery-based education" means an education system where student progress is based upon a student's demonstration of mastery of competencies and content, not seat time or the age or grade level of the student.
(2) "Incubator process" means a process where schools that are willing and ready to start moving toward a mastery-based model of education would form an initial cohort of not more than twenty incubator schools for mastery-based education. The incubator schools would receive support, including but not limited to, for program development, staff professional development, stakeholder education, specialized competency assessment, coaching and on-going technical assistance. The incubator process will provide data and best practices for continued implementation of mastery-based education.
(c) The State Department of Education shall perform the following activities to encourage schools to implement mastery-based education through the Innovation In Schools program:
(1) Conduct an awareness campaign to promote understanding and interest in mastery-based education for teachers, administrators, parents, students, business leaders and policymakers;
(2) Establish a committee of educators to identify roadblocks to implementing mastery-based education and possible solutions and to develop recommendations for the incubator process;
(3) Facilitate the planning and development of an incubator process to support schools that are awarded Innovation In Education/Mastery-Based Education grants pursuant to this article. The incubator process shall be designed to improve educational outcomes in the incubator schools by advancing student mastery of concepts and skills through the following core principles:
(i) Student advancement upon mastery of a concept or skill;
(ii) Competencies that include explicit, measurable, and transferable learning objectives that empower a student;
(iii) Assessment that is meaningful and provides a positive learning experience for a student;
(iv) Timely, differentiated support based on a student's individual learning needs;
(v) Learning outcomes that emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge along with the development of important skills and dispositions; and
(vi) Incorporating partnerships with post-secondary institutions and members of industry; and
(4) Develop and publish an application designed specifically for schools interested in initial consideration for becoming an Innovation In Education/Mastery-Based school. This application shall be separate from the application for Innovation In Education designation pursuant to section three of this article and may not require the an Innovation In Education plan pursuant to section four of this article. The application process shall be open to all schools including those currently designated as Innovation In Education schools who are interested in adding mastery-based education to their existing plan;
(5) Establish a process, which may include an on-site visit to schools which apply under subdivision four of this subsection, to assess the readiness of applicants to undertake the transition to mastery-based education. This process shall be used to identify an initial cohort of not more than twenty schools.
(6) Establish a process to deepen the understanding of mastery-based education of the schools selected for the initial cohort of schools identified under subdivision five of this subsection. The process may include, but is not limited to, visits to schools experienced in using mastery-based education. The process shall allow an applicant to opt-out of further participation prior to submission of an Innovation In Education/Mastery-Based application in accordance with this article; and
(7) Provide technical assistance to schools selected for the initial cohort in preparing an Innovation In Education/Mastery-Based application.
(d) In addition to any grant or other financial assistance awarded to a school designated as an Innovation In Education/Mastery Based school in accordance with this article, the school shall participate in the incubator process established under this section.
(e) All other provisions of this article for Innovation In Education designated schools also apply to Innovation In Education/Mastery-Based schools.
(f) A student attending a school that establishes mastery-based education who transfers to another school within the county or in any other county that does not have a mastery-based education program, may not be penalized by being required to repeat course work that the student has successfully completed, or by changing the student's grade, or by any other penalty related to the student's previous attendance in the mastery-based education program.
(g) An institution of higher education in this state shall recognize and accept on equal footing as a traditional high school diploma awarded to a student who successfully completes an educational program that uses, in whole or in part, competency-based education.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to encourage a limited cohort of schools to implement mastery-based education through the Innovation In Education program. The initial cohort size is not more than twenty schools. The Department of Education is given a range of duties from the identification of barriers and potential solutions to developing an incubator process to support schools awarded an Innovation In Schools/Mastery-Based grant. The schools must meet the same requirements and accountability as other Innovation In Education schools.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.