A GPS for Success: Updated and Improved

Performance-Based Assessment for the Global Age

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Every day, the world is becoming more complex and interconnected. The global innovation age, which is replacing the manufacturing age, requires a new set of skills for success.

As the world changes, education must adapt along with it.

Asia Society’s Graduation Performance System (GPS) prepares students for a global, innovation-driven future. Students, their parents, and businesses want our education system to build global competence and college and career readiness. Asia Society’s GPS helps schools navigate the way.

Get the newly updated GPS Global Leadership module here.

What is GPS?

Asia Society, in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers, defined what “global competence” means. The U.S. Department of Education later adopted the definition.

The GPS is a set of frameworks and tools to help students achieve global competence. It provides a path to develop critical knowledge, skills, and dispositions in the academic disciplines as well as in a multidisciplinary way. Asking important questions, analysis, problem solving, and collaboration are hallmarks of this type of education.

For each subject, GPS has a three-part framework:

  1. Performance outcomes are the competencies students need to demonstrate by the time they finish the 5th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades in order to graduate both globally competent and college ready.
  2. “I Can Statements” describe in first-person voice what students will be able to do at the end of their 5th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade years.
  3. Rubrics show a progression of skills development from elementary through to college levels.

The GPS can be used in formal school settings, as well as in affiliated afterschool and summer programs.

Find out more about GPS here.

Common Core Aligned

Independent research organization Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC) has determined that students learning under Asia Society’s Graduation Performance System (GPS) in English Language Arts and Mathematics, which is built on our definition of Global Competence, “would be expected to significantly increase mastery of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).”

Learn more about the research

See the full reports:

How Does it Work?

Use the performance outcomes and rubrics to plan your lessons. Look across the competencies and see if there’s more you can challenge your students to do. Consider how you assess your students—do you provide opportunities for your students to apply new knowledge and skills to complex or novel situations, like the tasks they will encounter in the real world?

After students complete the tasks in your lesson, look at their work against the rubric. Are there areas where all students struggled? Could the instructions be clearer? Perhaps there could be an intermediary task to help build student skill in that area. Are there areas where all or most students exceeded your expectations? The next time you teach it, raise the bar. Student work teaches educators a lot about their own teaching craft. Use the evidence to refine your own practice.

GPS is far more than a process or a set of tools. It results in students demonstrating a broad mastery of global knowledge and skills.

Proof of Concept

GPS is informed by best-practice research on performance-based assessment in the United States as well as from top-rated school systems worldwide. It is adapted from a system developed by Envision Education and the Stanford Center For Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE). The GPS drives teaching and learning experiences that are informed by student choice and student needs. Students share projects with the world, not just their teachers.

Schools within Asia Society’s International Studies Schools Network (ISSN), which uses the GPS, have a higher graduation rate than other schools with similar profiles. Hypothesi LLC, a research and evaluation organization, has analyzed data on Network schools from 2004–2011. Across the network of 35 schools (20 high schools, 6 middle schools, 6 middle/high schools, and 3 elementary schools), 82 percent of ISSN students are students of color, 67 percent are from low-income families, and 14 percent are English Language Learners. The demographic profile of the ISSN has been very consistent as it has expanded from 3 to 35 schools. Each year, comparisons of ISSN schools to demographically similar schools in the same school district were conducted using data drawn from state assessments on grade levels and subjects tested. The most recent data show ISSN schools outperform demographically similar schools on state assessments in about 66 percent of such comparisons. ISSN schools had a graduation rate of 89 percent, substantially higher than the typical graduation rate for students in urban school systems of about 61 perecent. These results have been consistent over seven years of data collection.

Need More?

Asia Society works with schools and districts to implement the GPS.

Faculty Training

The training starts with an introduction to core principles of global competence and the GPS. It teaches a backward-design approach to lesson planning and an inquiry-based approach to instruction. It provides guidance on how to evaluate student work, calibrate scoring—and importantly—how to use feedback to improve instruction and curriculum. The trainings will help educators implement high-quality teaching, learning, and assessment practices of their own based on underlying GPS frameworks and principles.

Leadership Coaching

On-site coaching is focused on working with school or district leaders to implement globally focused instruction, curriculum, and assessment throughout the education community. This includes planning for GPS implementation across grade levels and subject areas, connecting GPS scoring to grading, and designing culminating GPS portfolios.

Asia Society has piloted the GPS in its network of international studies schools, and is currently partnering with school districts to develop globally competent and college-ready students.

To inquire about partnerships, please contact us at 212-327-9260 (M–F, 9:30–5:30 Eastern).