Quality Schools International has adopted the OUTCOME-BASED EDUCATIONAL MODEL for its school organization and operation. As such, parts of the Organizational Philosophy/Mission/Beliefs/Objectives are not subject to revision. However, the Organizational Philosophy/Mission/Beliefs/Objectives are reviewed and discussed on a regular basis. The following article written by William Spady, Nikola Filby, and Robert Burns is a description of the system under which QSI operates.
OUTCOME-BASED EDUCATION: A SUMMARY OF ESSENTIAL FEATURES AND MAJOR IMPLICATIONS
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 – rather than on other secondary considerations. This fundamental principle applies to all aspects of a state’s, district’s, school’s, or teacher’s programs.
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 educational program has progressed from the philosophy brought by the first teachers of Sanaa International School in 1971 to a structured performance-based model first implemented in the fall of 1987 in the secondary section of that school. By the autumn of 1989, the entire school was performance-based. Formal accreditation was granted by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools on 24 April 1987.