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Idaho is embracing an education model that favors mastery-based education rather than the traditional seat time based education. If you are wondering what the difference is, here are an brief explanation of each.
Seat time education is simply the amount of hours a student sits in a classroom regardless of how fast or slow it takes the student to learn the lesson. This forces all students to essentially learn at the same pace.
Mastery-based education focuses on learning the lesson, allowing students that master the lesson quickly to move on to another lesson, while other students continue on the same lesson until they master it.
Traditionally, schools use the seat time model where students sit in the same classes day after day for the same amount of time. There are also constant calls for lengthening the school day or moving to year around schooling.
The mastery education bill, HB 110, which passed the Idaho Senate on Feb 20, 2015 on a vote of 65-0-5 and the House on March 10 with a vote of 35-0, was signed into law on March 19 by Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter (R). The law took effect on July 1.
Mastery-based education will be implemented in several steps. There will be a campaign to make parents, teachers, administrators aware of the coming shift. The Department of Education will also create a committee made up of educators to identify and make implementation recommendations based on the possible roadblocks. The process will start as an incubators or pilot programs before rolling out to the entire state.
This is one step in moving away from the 19th century education model to a 21st century model that is more focused on the student than the system.