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Falmouth schools rethink grading system, learning methods

A classroom in Falmouth.
Kate Ackerman
A classroom in Falmouth in 2019.

An evolving curriculum, known as the CLIPPER Experience, will empower students to advocate for themselves as they learn.

Falmouth teachers are reevaluating how they grade K-12 students as the school district explores tweaking its teaching methods.

Since 2018 the district has been working to transform its curriculum by empowering students to become "leaders in their own learning" as they approach graduation. The vision, known as the CLIPPER Experience, will offer students more choice in how they learn and apply technology.

"Historically, we were presented with a lesson or a syllabus, and that's what we followed," assistant superintendent Sonia Tellier said. "I think as students start to become comfortable with how they learn and advocate for what they need when they're learning, I can see them wanting to explore some of the other options."

Those could include recording a video response to a problem instead of writing it longhand, or splitting into groups based on preferred individual approaches to skills, creativity, and problem-solving.

The district is working to ensure that its curriculum aligns with state education standards. "It's not a place where students can choose not to learn about set standards at their grade level," Tellier said.

The district will pursue further development in May, and expects to present the curriculum to parents before implementing it within two years, Tellier said.

Patrick Flanary is a dad, journalist, and host of Morning Edition.