Lindsay Unified School District

REAP seeks partners who are taking ambitious steps to make dramatic changes in the quality of education available to rural students. In the 2010-2011 school year, REAP implemented the Incentive-Based Scholarship Program and comprehensive set of college track programs at Lindsay High School. By the 2012-2013 school year, all LUSD students in grades 7-12 who meet REAP eligibility requirements will enroll in our program. We have made a commitment to offer the REAP program to Lindsay Unified graduating classes of 2013-2023.

In the 2009-2010 school year, Lindsay Unified School District made the bold decision to move from a time-based educational model where students get credit for “seat time” to a performance-based model, where credit is based on genuine proficiency. We believe LUSD is a central part of the public education revolution in the San Joaquin Valley.

The Performance-Based System addresses shortcomings in traditional education.
What is performance-based education?
Performance-based education is an innovative, student-centered approach to learning that addresses the shortcomings of traditional education. In a performance-based system students work at their performance level rather than their grade level.

They advance through the curriculum only when they have demonstrated mastery of the required knowledge or skills, allowing them to excel in subjects they are strong in, and spend more time in subjects they do not yet fully understand.

Students no longer move through a subject without having established genuine proficiency and the foundational understanding required to be successful in the next level of understanding. Advancement becomes focused on grasp of the material, rather than the amount of time the student has spent in the classroom.

The system encourages student success because students are ready for the material they are working on, and students know they must achieve proficiency to move forward. Once the student moves forward, they are set up for more academic success because they are ready for the new material and they can build on their previous comprehension.

This system also frees teachers to think outside the box. Teachers group students strategically. Those who need extra help get extra help. Students who continuously want to move ahead of the class can do so, and even begin taking college classes once their measurement topics are complete. Perhaps most importantly, teachers know specifically what a student knows when they enter the classroom and are able to more easily meet students at their current level of understanding.

What is a standards-based school?
The traditional public education model requires teachers to follow state standards, but fails to effectively align these standards with instruction beyond required standardized tests. A student can earn a B in one teacher’s math class, and could very well have earned an A for the same quality of work in a different teacher’s class.

LUSD has developed and formally adopted a guaranteed and viable student-centered curriculum that is based on the California state standards, aligned to the state assessment blueprints, and organized into units of study referred to as measurement topics.

In this system, students no longer receive traditional, subjective A-F grades; they receive a score of one, two, three, or four on each measurement topic. These carefully designed measurement topics ensure there is focused instruction across subjects and grade levels. They also give learners clarity about what is required of them to move on and what mastery of a subject looks like.

A student in 9th grade may be working with a student in 11th grade on the same standard, and move from classroom to classroom depending on the standard they are working on. All students are required to learn the same material, but they do so at their own pace and by developing individualized goals.

In this system, students benefit from the freedom to define their learning in a way that works for them without the risk of missing a large piece of knowledge necessary for mastery of that subject. This freedom allows learners to set personal academic goals that fit their learning style. They are empowered to own and lead the learning process.

Standardized measurement topics also allow for more teacher collaboration and integration across the disciplines, reinforcing learning by providing consistency throughout a learner’s schooling. Lindsay High School teachers collaborate on cross-discipline projects, thinking about how they can increase their efficiency by getting their students to work on a measurement topic that shows up in both math and science courses, for example.

Scoring Scale

Learners and parents receive information regarding learner progress every six weeks, on measurement topics assessed using a scoring scale that ranges from 1.0 to 4.0. This scale has replaced all letter grades in Lindsay Unified and is not to be confused with the traditional A, B, C, D, F grades. The new scoring system does not have the same meaning as traditional letter grades and should be viewed only as defined. Colleges and universities accept this method of reporting learner performance.

Performance Level What the Learner KnowsReport Card Grade
Level 4All the simple knowledge and skills, all the complex knowledge and skills, and goes beyond what was taught in class to apply the knowledge.4
Level 3.5All the simple knowledge and skills, all the complex knowledge and skills, and in-depth inferences and applications with partial success.3.5
Level 3.0All the simple knowledge and skills, and all the complex knowledge and skills.3
Level 2.5All the simple knowledge and skills, and some of the complex knowledge and skills2.5
Level 2.0All the simple knowledge and skills2
Level 1.5With help, the learner knows some of the simple knowledge and skills, and some of the complex knowledge and skills.1.5
Level 1.0With help, the learner knows some of the simple knowledge and skills1
Level 0Even with help, the learner does not know any of the simple or complex knowledge and skills.0
Sample Measurement Topics
Why did LUSD adopt a new model?
In 2007, LUSD leaders and teachers began discussing what it would look like if they implemented a revolutionary system that met the needs of all learners. They began dreaming about leaving the inherently flawed traditional system behind to make the changes necessary to adequately prepare their learners, changes that most educators deem as out of the realm of possibilities.

In the summer of 2007, Lindsay Unified began hosting community meetings. In these meetings, the community collectively recognized that the traditional model of public education was not adequately working for Lindsay learners, and made the commitment to make a dramatic change of course. They established a clear mission for the district, defined their core values, the guiding principles they would use to make decisions, the vision for the future, and life long learning standards they were committed to develop in each LUSD learner.

In July 2007, the Board of Education adopted the District Strategic Design developed by the community through these meetings. The Strategic Design has transformed all schools in the district into standard-based schools in which all learners have the opportunity to reach high levels of personal and academic achievement.

Adoption of the Strategic Design essentially became a community mandate to move to a performance and standards-based system.

Learn more about Lindsay Unified School District.
The Re-inventing Schools Coalition (RISC) provides a model.
About RISC
In 2002, leaders in Alaska’s Chugach School District established the Reinventing Schools Coalition (RISC). Its purpose is to support organizations in shifting the paradigm of education from a time-driven system to a fundamentally different performance-based system, called the RISC Approach to Schooling. They not only saw this model succeed in their own districts, but were given special recognition when they were rewarded the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for their unique approach to schooling.

The RISC Approach to Schooling is the first comprehensive school reform framework set up as a performance-based system rather than a Carnegie unit or time-based system. It is already being implemented by more than a dozen schools and districts in the United States, and has caught the attention of educators all around the world.

Key aspects of the RISC model include:

  • A transparent curriculum. The knowledge and skills students must learn as they progress through developmental levels to high school graduation are open and clear to everyone.
  • Flexibility. Students are encouraged to move in and out of levels in different content areas, at their own pace.
  • Student ownership. Students own, lead, and partner with their teachers in every phase of learning. Goal setting. Tracking progress. Student-teacher conferences. Even assessment.
  • High standards. Students must demonstrate proficient or better knowledge or skills (equivalent to a grade of B or better) in every required standards area.
The RISC model produces results
RISC schools have produced continuous improvement in the following ways:

  • Significant, sustained increases in student achievement
  • Increases in the number of students applying to, attending, and remaining in college
  • Decreases in staff turnover
  • Significantly higher percentages of students passing high-stakes state assessments

A 2010 report by Marzano Research Laboratory report found that the RISC framework significantly impacts student achievement. Researchers compared 7 RISC districts and 8 non-RISC districts in 3 states. Study findings:

  • The odds of a student in a RISC School scoring proficient or above on state tests are 2.3 times greater for reading, 2.5 times greater for writing, and 2.4 times greater for mathematics than the odds of a student scoring proficient or above on state tests at a Non-RISC School.
  • Compared to students in non-RISC Schools, students in RISC Schools are 37% more likely to score proficient or above on state tests for reading, 54% more likely to score proficient or above on state tests for writing, and 55% more likely to score proficient or above on state tests for mathematics.
  • In addition, the degree of RISC model implementation was found to relate to the number of students scoring proficient or above on state tests in reading and writing. The odds of a student in a high-RISC School scoring proficient or above in reading and writing were found to be about two times larger than the odds of a student in a medium-RISC School scoring proficient or above.
Learn more about RISC
Learn about Maine Department of Education’s move to the RISC model

REAP students Deisy Leanos Meza, Sarah Santamaria, and Bianey Miranda attend an Ivy League Project meeting at Fresno Pacific University.

The REAP Program has motivated me to start looking into my career and school options. It has showed me that there is help, and I can do it.

– Erica Hernandez, ’13