Our schools follow a logical model of education which measures success by the accomplishments and attitudes of our students. We believe that all of our students can succeed, that their successes encourage them to continue in a pattern of success, and that it is the schools' responsibility to provide the conditions for success. These conditions include i) developing clear statements in measurable terms of what the student will do to demonstrate mastery of learning, ii) providing the time and resources needed for each student to attain mastery, and iii) ensuring that students engage in learning at a level which is challenging and yet a level for which each student has the prerequisite skills necessary for success.
We believe in providing an aesthetically pleasing physical surrounding under the charge of a caring staff who believe their students will be successful, and who use time with the students as a resource for learning rather than as a boundary condition to determine when a unit of learning begins and ends. We believe in providing resources such as books, learning materials, and educational technology. In the world today children need to become proficient in the use of computers and related technology as tools to accomplish a myriad of tasks.
Finally we believe in working with parents to encourage our students to adopt qualities of living which lead to success long after formal schooling has ended. These include universally accepted "success orientations" of trustworthiness, kindness/politeness, responsibility, independent endeavor, concern for others, group interaction, and aesthetic appreciation.
Outcome-Based Education (OBE) represents a clearly focused and powerful way of organizing and operating instructional systems. Its purpose, philosophy, and program components all support the notion that educational systems should be defined according to the outcomes they are expected to help students accomplish, and they should be organized so that decision-making at all levels of the system focuses on those outcomes. This fundamental principle applies to all aspects of our school.
Understanding OBE requires understanding that in the prevailing model of educational practice, the calendar is the basic definer of the organizational structure of schools and the many key features of their instructional programs. These structural features and program elements are built around uniform blocks of time known as school years and semesters. These time blocks determine the nature and awarding of credits (measured as hours of seat time), the basis for promotion and graduation (requiring the accumulation of calendar-based credits), the structuring of the curriculum (into uniform time blocks called “grade levels” and “courses” into which content and learning experiences must fit), the grouping and assignment of students (based on age), the organization and delivery of instruction (which routinely begins and ends at only one time in the calendar year), the timing of formal evaluations and tests (which brings an end to instructional opportunities), and the kinds of records and reports of student achievement sent to parents, colleges, and prospective employers.
By focusing on definitive outcomes as the basis for curriculum design, standard setting, program organization, teaching, testing, grading, student grouping, and promotion credit, graduation and program evaluation, OBE schools depart significantly from this pattern of deeply ingrained educational practice which has allowed the clock, schedule, and calendar – not student outcomes – to determine how, when, and why decisions are made and things are done. Grasping the importance of this shift in emphasis and procedure is one key to understanding the real meaning of OBE and the powerful effects which well-developed OBE practices have on the learning success of all students.
However, OBE does not require that one throw away the calendar, schedule, or clock in order to operate within the letter and spirit of the model. Rather, it encourages a shift in orientation about time and decision making – a shift that places more emphasis on time as a resource to be organized and managed to the best advantage of student learning and success, and less emphasis on the calendar as the basis of instructional arrangements and decisions. By organizing all important program features around the outcomes we want students to demonstrate as the result of their educational experiences, OBE de-emphasizes time as a definer of programs and emphasizes how time can be used as a resource that can be organized and managed flexibly to assure student success on those essential outcomes. This shift in decision-making, from time-based to outcome-based is the foundation for understanding the purpose of OBE.
The QSI Board of Directors is well versed on the mission of QSI, and much of the discussion in their meetings is focused in this domain. Mike Tewalthomas, QSI Director of Operations, has presented power points on the mission, and the QSI Board of Directors members have all pertinent documents of QSI. The mission statement was ratified once again during their bi-annual meeting in July of 2010 at Seattle Pacific University as part of this process.
Core Beliefs of the QSI Educational Model
The schools of Quality Schools International (QSI) use a model of education based upon premises of successful student performance. A description of performance-based education implementation in the QSI schools follows:
The success-oriented QSI Educational Model has Three Core Beliefs:
1. QSI believes that all students can experience success in their learning including higher order thinking skills such as critical thinking and problem solving.
2. QSI believes that success breeds success.
3. QSI believes that it is the school's responsibility to provide the conditions for success.
This success oriented way of operating schools leads to optimum learning and to happy and motivated students. Using knowledge of educational research, these schools are student performance-based rather than 'time-based' or 'calendar-based'. Teachers and students in QSI schools use time as a resource to reach mastery of clearly defined objectives (unit outcomes) rather than using time as a boundary condition to determine when learning begins and ends. Students are given the time needed to achieve success. Our teachers are expected to employ instructional practices of excellence. However, the measure of success is not how well the teacher teaches, but how well the students learn.
The Implications of QSI's Three Core Beliefs:
1) All students can experience success in their learning.
- QSI defines academic success as performing at a level that would traditionally earn a "B" grade. The system for evaluation is mastery at an "A" or "B" level, or a "P" (the student is still in progress toward mastery in a particular unit).
- Rather than employing an extensive grading system, such as A, B, C, D, E, or 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. to record varying performance levels, QSI believes that the amount of time each student spends on a unit of study can vary considerably as each works toward achieving an "A" or "B" mastery level. A student performing at the “B” mastery level has full understanding of course content. A student performing at the “A” mastery level is able to apply course content with higher order thinking skills.
2) Success breeds success.
- QSI believes there is a connection between student perception of their own performance in a subject and their actual performance in that subject. Students who consistently experience failure are unlikely to see themselves as successful. QSI believes it is important to break cycles of failure. Placing students in situations where they will begin to experience success is the QSI goal.
3) It is the responsibility of the school to provide the conditions for success.
- QSI believes that more learning will occur if students have a desire to learn, have positive feelings concerning the school environment, and have success in their work. A comfortable atmosphere of caring and acceptance is considered important to QSI. Possibility for success increases when students work at the appropriate level of difficulty and sense positive expectations from well-qualified, experienced, and caring educators.
To achieve these Core Beliefs, QSI takes on the responsibilities:
- to provide educators who have a love for children, who have positive expectations of children, and who are willing to expend the time and energy necessary to meet the success of individual students.
- to employ educators who maintain core values and who believe their life style should be a positive influence on their students.
- to clearly define in measurable terms what students need to do in order to be successful. This is mastery learning, not mystery learning.
- to employ enough educators to maintain reasonably small class sizes.
- to provide facilities that support academic and activity programs.
- to assess each student in reading, mathematics, and writing upon initial enrollment to assure proper placement and instructional achievement level in these courses.
- to encourage parental support of the school with a view toward enhanced learning and the development of positive student attitudes.
To achieve these Core Beliefs, the staff at QSI schools takes on the responsibilities:
- to continually assess students in all areas of learning to assure mastery.
- to ensure students know what learning tasks are expected.
- to provide appropriate learning experience allowing students sufficient time on tasks to be able to experience success.
- to provide re-teaching experiences if mastery is not achieved.
- to reward students equally for mastery.
- to evaluate students in a way that encourages self-growth rather than competition against other students' achievements.
- to inspire students toward actualization of accomplishments in excellence and creativity.
- to provide a positive school atmosphere by working with a cooperative spirit supporting one another and encouraging a high morale and efficiency within the staff.
- to incorporate differentiated teaching methods and styles within the classroom.
- The pursuit of achieving these Core Belief results in enhanced student learning and high student motivation as students are rewarded for their successes.
We believe that more learning will occur if the student has a desire to learn, has positive feelings concerning his/her school environment, and succeeds in his/her work. A comfortable atmosphere of caring and acceptance established by the school is considered important, so that each student is encouraged to strive for excellence and to be creative. An aesthetically pleasing environment with a view to appreciation of beauty and order enhances this. Each student's possibility of success increases when he/she works at the appropriate level of difficulty and senses positive expectations from his teachers.
Functions Of Administration
To recruit teachers who have a love for children, who have positive expectations of children, and who are willing to give the time and energy necessary to meet the needs of individual students. To employ teachers who have acceptable values and who believe that their life style should be a positive influence on their students. To employ teachers directly from outside of the country, if necessary, to provide experienced and successful teachers for specific positions. To employ enough teachers to maintain reasonably small class sizes. To help teachers meet the individual needs of students by employing selected paraprofessionals. To provide spacious buildings and classrooms which are functional yet include local architectural designs with a view to blending into the local environment. To test each student in reading and mathematics upon initial enrollment to assure a proper entry level in these classes. To encourage parental support of the school with a view to enhancing the learning and the development of positive attitudes of the students.
Functions Of Teaching Staff
To continually assess the student in all areas of learning to assure appropriate learning tasks leading to challenging work, but work in which he is capable of experiencing success. To ensure that the student knows what learning tasks are expected. To provide appropriate learning experiences and allow each student sufficient time on a task to be able to experience success. To provide additional learning experiences, if mastery is the goal and if the task is not mastered after the initial teaching/learning experience. To reward students equally for mastering learning tasks regardless of the path taken to mastery. Not to give a higher reward to one who required a greater input of energy nor to one who easily and quickly attained mastery. To evaluate students in a way in which a student competes against himself rather than against a fellow student. To inspire students to help them see what they can be and what they can accomplish with a view to excellence and creativity. To provide a positive school atmosphere by working with a cooperative spirit giving support to one another and encouraging a high morale and efficiency within the staff.
Areas Of Learning
Mastery of basic skills is considered a vital part of education, essential for success in studies of other subjects as well as in most situations in life. A broad and varied program of physical education, fine arts, and other activities is also considered important to enhance the interest and education of the students. Area objectives include: To provide learning situation leading to mastery of appropriate topics in English and mathematics. To provide quality instruction in science and cultural studies. To offer quality programs of instruction in physical education, music, and art to all students. To provide classes in Intensive English as appropriate. To offer local and foreign languages as appropriate. To offer selected courses in national studies as appropriate, with a view to the needs of particular nationalities and to academic adjustment upon repatriation. To offer courses in computer literacy to all students. To offer varied activities and electives which are not part of the regular academic program. To involve students in field trips and activities related to their classes, but away from school. To provide the appropriate materials, resources, and equipment for all areas.
For a useful and meaningful life we encourage the development of personal qualities leading to acceptable values and harmonious relationships. Area objectives include: To encourage an understanding of one's self with a view to developing acceptable values such as patience, kindness, unselfishness, honesty, and consideration for others. To provide a positive and secure atmosphere, treating the students honestly and fairly. To encourage each student to feel good about himself and to help him promote similar feelings in fellow students. To provide guidance in problem solving and decision making situations. To develop a sense of responsibility and to encourage leadership.
An understanding and acceptance of the different cultures represented in the school are considered important. We believe emphasis should be placed on gaining an appreciation and knowledge of the region and the local country in particular. Area objectives include: To encourage each student to recognize in a positive way his own nationality. To provide an atmosphere of cultural acceptance and understanding with a view to building healthy international relationships. To integrate into the curriculum studies of the local region and the country itself.