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High Performance Standards for Applied Learning

This framework (in-progress at LRDC) drew on a combination of the work of the SCANS commission and related international efforts to identify areas of competence essential for effective preparation for the changing nature of work and work organization.

Here is a summary of these standards (NB: Still under revision) for middle school:

1. Problem-Solving-Project Design: design a product, service or system to meet an identified need; justify the need; complete the design task, researching precedents and regulations; test-run and evaluate the results. Examples: school periodical, wheelchair ramp.

2. Problem-Solving-Planning and Organization: develop a proposal for an activity and obtain approval for it to take place; plan and organize all aspects of the event and oversee its conclusion. Examples: dramatic production, science fair.

3. Problem-Solving-Teaching and Learning: select a skill to teach to someone else and find someone willing to learn it; plan a sequence of learning activities; obtain expert advice on the plan and adjust it as appropriate; implement the plan; check what the person has learned. Examples: tutor or train a younger student to improve skills, map reading skills for hiking.

4. Problem-Solving-Meeting Client Needs: conduct a commissioned project; obtain a commission; plan it and ensure its consistency with client needs; conduct the project, consulting with the client on progress; present the results to the client and review the outcome. Examples: recommendations to the principal for reducing waste in school, evaluation of children's reader services for the local library; oral history for community organization.

5. Problem-Solving-Improving a System: devise and test ways of improving the effetiveness of a system; identify possible improvements; test-run the improvements and evaluate the effects; make changes and monitor their effectiveness over time. Examples: system for reserving time on computers during recess and lunch times.

6. Communication Tools and Techniques: make oral presentations; prepare written reports; translate information from one format to another; use graphics to explain information or an idea. Examples: from tabular to written results.

7. Information Technology Tools and Techniques: use information technology to collect, analyze, organize and evaluate information from diverse sources; operate computer equipment and associated peripherals; install software; produce products using word processing, graphics, database, and spreadsheet programs, communicate via the Internet to exchange and gather information. Examples: desktop publishing software, CAD-CAM software for design.

8. Teamwork: work on teams to achieve project objectives in both team member and team leader roles. Examples: project manager.

Note: In this framework accommodating cultural diversity within teams is not specified. Such experience will also be needed in the next century and is an authentic feature of global telecommunications.

Learning Research and Development Center

Learning Research and Development Center
National Center on Education and the Economy
New Standards
University of Pittsburg
3939 O'Hara Street
Pittsburg PA 15260

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The structure of schools in the US, unlike in many other countries, rarely separates technical from higher education preparation. Within a school, tracks, of course, contain coursework for alternative future paths of students. Overall, though, integration is expected. Moreover, such high performance skills, linked to other curriculum areas, such as science and literacy, will be expected of all future workers regardless of the setting. This framework is especially useful for schools, embarking on curriculum in technology and telecommunications, because problem-solving, communication, information skills and teamwork are embedded per force in this curriculum domain.

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