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:
- QSI believes that all students can experience success in their learning, including the application of higher-order thinking skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving.
- QSI believes that success breeds success.
- 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 ensure 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 ensure mastery.
- To ensure students know what they need to do for success in a learning outcome.
- To provide appropriate learning experiences, allowing students sufficient time on tasks to be able to experience success.
- To provide reteaching experiences if mastery is not achieved.
- To reward students equally for mastery, regardless of the time taken for achievement.
- To evaluate students in a way that encourages self-growth rather than competition against other students’ achievements.
- To encourage students to use higher-order thinking skills and to apply them to real-world situations.
- 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 these Core Beliefs results in enhanced student learning and high student motivation as students are rewarded for their successes.
Developed and adopted by QSI Board of Directors May 2009
Reviewed, revised, and reaffirmed by the QSI Board of Directors Feb. 2019