A System Model for High-Quality Teaching and Learning
The Albemarle County Public Schools' core purpose is to establish a community of learners and learning, through rigor, relevance, and relationships one student at a time. The Framework for Quality Learning guides and supports teachers' development and implementation of a system for high-quality curricula, assessment, and instruction as they act on this vision and facilitate all students attaining deep understanding of the disciplines.
Standards-based and concept-centered, the Framework for Quality Learning is rooted in Albemarle County Public Schools' Lifelong-Learner Standards, Virginia's Standards of Learning (SOL), and national standards within the disciplines. These various standards provide insight into what all students must know, understand, and be able to do in real-life contexts. By organizing standards around key concepts and understandings of the discipline, we engage the personal intellect and emotions of the students (Erickson, 2002). When students explore concepts over time as opposed to facts in isolation, they develop deeper understanding and are able to transfer knowledge across disciplines and situations.
The Framework for Quality Learning sets rigorous expectations for how students learn, analyze information, and communicate, leading to increased student engagement, content mastery, and higher-order thinking (Figure 1). Application of the Framework for Quality Learning advances the Division's vision:
"All learners believe in their power to embrace learning, to excel, and to own their future."
The Framework for Quality Learning incorporates best practices in teaching and learning as summarized by the National Research Council in How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (2002). The council found that student achievement increases when the following occur:
- Teachers determine and work with preexisting student knowledge and misconceptions.
- Students reflect on their learning.
- Classrooms are learner centered.
- Teachers teach for understanding rather than coverage.
- Teachers use assessment to inform instruction.
- Teachers consider what is taught, why it is taught, and how mastery looks.
- Schools and classrooms become communities of learners.