STUDENTS WORKING AT INDIVIDUAL PROFICIENCY LEVELS
Students in mainstream Barbadian schools work at year level. This means that they follow the Barbados National Curriculum, supported by the National Attainment Targets. Students are expected to complete the syllabus for subjects being taught at each year level and in June each year, they sit end of year school examinations which promote them to the next year level.
In each subject, students have different achievement and ability levels so their profiles reflect mixed and varying competencies at year end. The bar chart below illustrates this profile. There are subjects in which the student is strong academically, is challenged academically, or where there are higher or lower interest levels. Examination grades do not take into account where students have missed crucial information due to illness, quality of teaching or any other factor which impedes the satisfactory completion of the curriculum.
When students transfer to Lockerbie College, our detailed admission process looks critically at each student's proficiency levels across all subjects. Lockerbie College then creates a customised programme of study for each student, which takes them back to their individual levels of subject proficiency. It's from those levels that we start to build meaningful knowledge through offering academic support to ensure that there are no loopholes in foundational information.
Backtracking to proficiency levels will certainly take time, it often requires personal attention and it can increase the cost in the short term. However, just as houses built on sand will fall, new knowledge placed on patchy understanding or incomplete competencies, will not produce a high, end result. Returning to proficiency and building from there is the only way forward and this creates the platform from which the end result is always a positive one. The truth is that more often than not, academic results and a student's sense of fullfillment and self-worth are closely intertwined. In raising one, the other follows.
THE PICTURES BELOW EXPLAIN THE NEED TO BRING BACK COMMON SENSE!
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CHALLENGING THE GIFTED AND TALENTED
It is worth mentioning that when we look at the proficiency levels of some students, we see incredibly high achievement and ability. Proficiency surpasses what is expected as a certian age or class level. These students are gifted and talented and to keep them challenged, they need to be taught above their class level. Their proficiency is so high that we place these students in accelerated programmes of study in the subjects where they show high aptitiude. Students at LockerbieCollege sit exmas when they are ready and some students are prepared for external examinations like CSEC earlier than their chronological peers.
Finally, we answer the question: "What happens when abilities and proficiencies differ across subjects?" Invariably this does happen and more often than many people realise. The student gifted in Mathematics is helped to 'get ahead', while he or she may be working alongside peers in other subjects.
DESIGNING FOR THE 'WHOLE CHILD'
When we look at the 'whole child' in this context we design and customise a programme where each student works at the correct level in each subject. Some subjects may be taught a year in advance of age, others at age level and some require additional support where we need to strengthen proficiency.
At Lockerbie College we realise that no two students are the same; no two academic journeys and no two timelines. No student is kept back, suffering boredom in the process and no student is pushed ahead, before they are ready, and set up to fail. We look at each student in his or her own right and customise learning for him or her because the jouney to individual success is what is important.