IMPLEMENTATION OF THE OPEN HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAM UNDER THE EDUCATION SERVICE CONTRACTING SCHEME
1. Independent Learning Readiness Assessment
Learners who wish to participate in the Open High School Program shall take the Independent Learning Readiness Assessment to be administered by the school, the results of which shall be the basis for placing them in the appropriate learning mode:
a. Learners, who are not yet ready for independent learning, are placed in the transition program which will provide a bridging curriculum focused on the development of the learning-to-learn skills. The program is school-based, teacher-guided, and is self-paced. There is no definite time period required for completing this program. As soon as learners who are placed under the guidance of the teacher have acquired adequate mastery of the learning-to-learn skills, then they can move to the next level.
b. When the learners are assessed to be almost ready for independent learning, then they may be placed in the blended learning program when undertaking the required curriculum. This is a combination of school-based, face-to-face learning and distance learning or home schooling. This means that learners may be in school for lessons that require guided learning if the teacher feels that learners need direct supervision in accomplishing the tasks. Home schooling is allowed for lessons that the teacher feels learners can already do on their own. The option for blended learning may also be extended to learners who have been assessed to be ready for full independent learning but who may prefer this learning mode.
c. Learners who are ready for independent learning may do the entire curriculum on their own, or be home-schooled, with the option to seek teacher's guidance or help from experts or resource persons in the community.There are learners who may not just be able to do independent learning but who can complete the requirements of the curriculum in a very short period of time. Inasmuch as learning is self-paced, then learners can be accelerated in subject areas that they can learn fast on their own. Thus, the learners themselves will determine their own rate of learning.
2. Learning Contract
Once the learners get into the program, they and their parents/guardians are oriented on the mechanics and the requirements of the curriculum including assessments. Then, they and their parents or guardians sign a learning contract with the school. The contract commits the parents/guardians to ensuring that their children complete their education. The school, for its part, commits itself to providing the resources such as materials and learning facilitators to support the children's learning. A prototype Learning Contract is in Annex A.
The core curriculum prescribed for those in the formal learning system is the same curriculum that learners in the Open High School will go through, the only difference being the mode of learning.
The learning standards in the curriculum define the expectations in terms of content (i.e., what learners are expected to know, do, and understand) and performance or proficiency level, which is defined generally in terms of learners being able to transfer or use their learning in real-life situations, and doing this on their own.
Modules shall be used as learning materials. These are arranged following the phases of learning for understanding. The intention here is to guide learning from aquisition of facts and information, to the processing or making sense of these to make meanings or understandings, and culminating in the transfer of learning or understanding to real-life situations.
The tasks as contained in the learning materials are aligned with the standards and are differentiated according to the capacity of learners. Learners have the option to begin with simple tasks and then proceed to performing more challenging ones. They are not prevented, though, from proceeding right away to challenging tasks if they feel they can handle them with confidence.
4. Working with Teacher-Facilitators
When the learners' readiness to learn independently has been established, they are given the modules (or access to the online learning resources when these are available) which they can take home. They go through the materials to have a sense of the coverage. Then, they are introduced to the teacher-facilitators assigned to them for assistance should there be questions or clarifications that they need to be addressed. The learners then submit a learning plan, stating their learning goals and timetable for achieving this, to the teacher-facilitators assigned to them. The purpose is to develop among learners personal accountability for their own learning. Facilitators will track learners' progress based on their learning plans. (Templates are available for this purpose.)
Teacher-facilitators will schedule a period of interaction with learners, the frequency of which will depend on need. The interaction may be face-to-face, online, or any means available. The purpose is to ensure that learners are making progress and the appropriate intervention or assistance is provided on a timely basis.
Assessments are a critical component of the learning materials. The emphasis is on formative or developmental assessment as a quality assurance tool.
The guidelines in assessing and rating learning follow those prescribed for the formal system. Acceleration, however, is allowed for those who are advanced or who have completed the requirements of the subject.