I’ve discussed the Educational Positioning System (EPS) in several previous posts, in terms of the philosophy behind the concept, the efforts to standardize on system metadata standards, and even the U.S. federal government initiatives that will help create an appropriate collaborative environment to bring software developers and educators together around the world. However, I’ve been getting questions on the basics of the EPS, so I thought it would be helpful to lay out the key functional elements.
- Much like a Global Positioning System, the Educational Positioning System will map a student’s education journey from the current point of origin to the desired destination. Additionally, the EPS will offer alternate routes and the ability to include “side trips” that enhance the student’s experience. This represents a significant transformation in the way that students will be able to take control of their progress.
- From the earliest part of the education experience, a student will be able to chart her journey without limits, giving real meaning to the term “life-long learner.” Imagine a student in elementary school being able to map a path into her college and career future. The excitement of “owning” her education will be a powerful tool for student engagement.
- The EPS gives students complete visibility into their academic progress. For example a student can enter her grade level, and she will immediately see what she will be learning and where she should be at that point in her education, in relation to her long-term academic goal. This capability provides the student with a true sense of place along her education path.
- Students can select the subject areas they enjoy, and that will help them in determining their best-fit academic and future career path. They can even experiment with different subject combinations for a “what if” activity that lets them imagine multiple possibilities and opportunities.
- Students can also select the subject areas in which they struggle, and they will be given guidance on the academic areas in which assistance will be the most effective. It’s important and very helpful to know where the rough roads are ahead of time.
- At any stage of the journey, students can enter personal academic metrics to know what paths are open to them. For example, a high school junior could enter her ACT score and determine the colleges to which she could apply. Expectation management is a key feature.
- By entering the particular career field of interest, a student can see what colleges offer programs in that field. She would find out exactly what classes she would be taking, and have the ability to decide in advance whether or not that path appeals to her.
- A student can pick the college in which she is most interested, and she will get a comprehensive view of the college’s offerings. This will help her determine if the decision to attend is the decision that best fits her needs.
- And of course, a student can select her anticipated college budget in order to make the best financial decision regarding the appropriate college to attend. The EPS will empower students to anticipate the future and plan accordingly, thereby avoiding “unpleasant surprises.”
These basic EPS features will have direct, positive impact on students’ abilities to chart the most appropriate and most fulfilling course to the future. At the same time, the EPS also provides the mechanism to make informed and sensible changes, providing flexibility and choices at any point along the path. Allowing students to have control of their journey will have the added benefit of greatly improving the chances that they will actually complete it.