The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) released a Statement of Principles for Model Legislation in States. The principles are fully aligned with Digital Learning Now!, a framework for state policy released in 2010.
The principles are a useful guide not only for state policy makers but for district and network leaders as well.
Statement of Principles for Model Legislation in States
1. Shift to competency-based education from seat-time.
- Competency education, where students advance upon mastery, is required for systemic transformation to student-centered, worldclass learning. Seat-time regulations are a barrier for online and blended learning programs that seek to enable anytime, any place, any pace learning. Mastery-based learning is critical for changing from a time-based system to a learner-centered system.
- Develop regulations to provide flexibility from seat-time and enable competency-based education models. Update regulations to enable competency education and credit flexibility for all schools (online, blended and traditional).
2. Increase access for each student and permit the entire continuum of student-centered, online and blended learning.
- Ensure each student has access to a full range of highquality online courses, full-time online learning programs and new learning models using blended learning.
3. Design outcomes-based accountability and funding incentives.
- Focus on outcomes based on student learning (increasing proficiency, student growth, closing the achievement gap, graduation, college and career readiness).
- Enable funding to follow the student to the program and course level.
- With quality assurance based on outcomes, consider pay for performance models with weightings and incentives for serving “hard” (challenged or at-risk) students.
- For pay for performance, consider approaches that offer a percentage upon enrollment and completion but do not create performance-based pay for 100% of the funding amount.
4. Increase access to excellent, effective teachers.
- Provide true teacher reciprocity for online teaching.
- Support professional development for new learning models using anytime, anywhere online and blended learning.
5. Provide room for innovation.
- While requiring accountability for outcomes, policy should also ensure opportunity for emerging technologies and new approaches.
- Care should be taken to guard against overly prescriptive policies and practices that stifle innovation.
iNACOL is student-centered and makes policy recommendations based on doing what is right for kids to have access to a world-class education. iNACOL believes in competency education as a critical design and foundation for student learning. In competency-based learning, students advance upon demonstrating mastery, have clear and explicit learning objectives, have systems of assessments that are meaningful to students, include differentiation and immediate support as they need it, and are required to demonstrate acquired knowledge, skills and dispositions to be successful. Globally, the highest performing nations have competency based education systems – not seat-time based systems.
iNACOL encourages quality assurance through outcomes based on student learning (increasing proficiency, student growth, closing the achievement gap, graduation, college and career readiness). iNACOL believes policy should not prescribe inputs or create barriers for innovation.
iNACOL believes students should have access to the continuum of highquality learning opportunities through online and blended learning to allow for multiple pathways for students. iNACOL encourages policy that supports innovation and new learning models toward achieving student-centric learning. iNACOL seeks to inform practice in helping to build capacity in field.
iNACOL seeks systemic transformation through sharing promising practices in policy and practice, understand interventions, steps and activities that are working for student learning (we care about kids). iNACOL believes that teachers are important – we have more than 4,000 members – and 2,000 members are educators in online and blended learning programs. Teachers matter most. Our advocacy supports teacher-led, personalized learning using online resources to differentiate instruction.
Tom is a iNACOL director