Act 77 Flexible Pathways & Personalized Learning Plans
As a key aspect of proficiency-based learning (PBL), students create personal learning plans (PLPs)—typically in collaboration with teachers, guidance counselors, advisors, and parents/guardians—to help them achieve short- and long-term learning goals in school. While personal learning plans may take a variety of forms, they tend to share many common features. For example, students may be asked to:
Schools generally use personal learning plans to encourage students to take greater responsibility for their education, be more thoughtful and goal-oriented about the educational choices they make, and use their time in school more purposefully. If students have a clear direction and sense of purpose in their education, they will be more likely to achieve expected learning goals, satisfy all school requirements, and graduate prepared for higher education and careers.
PLPs also help teachers gain a stronger understanding of the interests, learning needs, and aspirations of their students so they can use that information to teach, advise, and support them more effectively. When students reflect on and document their educational history—what they academically achieved, excelled at, or struggled with in the past—teachers learn more about the specific learning strengths and needs of their students.
A central goal of PLPs is to motivate students to challenge themselves academically and consider learning opportunities they may not have considered otherwise. For this reason, personal learning plans may also address learning experiences that occur outside of school, such as internships, college courses, volunteer opportunities, and summer programs students pursue as part of their education.
Finally, PLPs can help parents become more informed about their child’s interests, learning needs, and aspirations, while also actively involving them in planning their child’s education. Personal learning plans encourage more substantive discussions about life goals and educational interests between parents and their children, acknowledging that deeper involvement between families and schools strengthen children’s education.
A growing number of states have recognized the value of proficiency-based learning and personalized learning plans, including Maine, Connecticut, and Vermont. Schools within OSSU are in the beginning stages, which include helping students and families understand what PLPs are, and introducing students to goal setting and a variety of tools for exploring potential subjects and career interests.