In 2003, Asia Society launched a network of schools with an ambitious, two-part mission: close the achievement gap for low-income and historically underserved secondary students, and address the growing opportunity gap between what American schools typically teach and the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for full participation in a global economy. The founders of the International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) believed that these two goals could be achieved concurrently. What’s more, they hypothesized that a rich, global curriculum that engaged students in investigating and addressing real-world problems could, in fact, provide a more efficient route to college and career preparedness.
From an initial group of four schools to 34 today, Asia Society has built a network of high-performing, globally oriented schools that demonstrate what a rigorous global education can do for a largely low-income, urban student population. Along the way, Asia Society and the ISSN schools have designed a robust approach to performance-based learning and assessment that has implications well beyond the network, offering lessons for policymakers and practitioners concerned about preparing students to live and work in an increasingly complex world.
Developing Global Competence
To reach the ultimate goal of developing globally competent students, ISSN provides professional development to build teachers’ capacity for best practices in curriculum, assessment, and instruction. While we have over ten years of expertise in supporting whole school design and are able to provide technical assistance in areas such as school culture, professional learning communities, partnerships, and school governance, our focus is on what we call the Graduation Performance System (GPS), a learning system aligned to the Common Core that supports teachers and leaders with deeply integrating global competence for student learning.
Graduation Performance System
Asia Society's ISSN approach to curriculum and instruction that leads to the production of student work through a performance-based assessment system. This student work can be assessed in relation to a set of common core aligned performance outcomes and rubrics that demonstrate college readiness and global competence. No assessment system currently exists to measure global competence, and traditional assessment methods are inadequate to capture the mix of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are embedded in global competence. Our Graduate Performance System (GPS) will drive the continuous improvement of teacher instruction and student performance towards college readiness and global competence.
The GPS guides students towards the development and demonstration of global competence, and it enables teachers to teach for global competence while also meeting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The GPS has been tested and refined over the past several years in Asia Society’s International Studies Schools Network In our view, the GPS is what high-quality curriculum, instruction, and assessment look like. Learn more here.