Prezi introduction to ELOs (plain text)

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ELOs have been defined by the NH Department of Education, and also have best practices.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Education, ELOs have:

“. . . primary acquisition of knowledge and skills . . .  outside of the traditional classroom methodology. . .  including, but not limited to. . .  apprenticeships, community service, independent study, online courses, internships, performing groups, private instruction.”

Plus, high quality ELOs have:

  • an essential question
  • research
  • reflection
  • product
  • presentation
  • community partners helps you get started, and move from compliance to best practice with your ELOs.

Getting Started

Many schools already have “almost ELOs”. Your school may already have learning opportunities that are close to being high quality ELOs.

There are four levels of tools on this site:

  • Program – Best practices checklist, Minimum Standards checklist
  • Partner – Community Partner Template
  • ELO Planning – Design Template, Learning Team responsibilities
  • Assessment – Assessment Guide, Rubrics

Start with a SWOT analysis. What are your school’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

Conceptual Framework

Mastery-based learning

Competencies are the knowledge, skills and or behaviors students must master in a specific content or performance area. To achieve mastery, students must provide sufficient evidence to defend their learning. This is how they earn credit.


  • Interest-driven ELOs are creative, highly personalized, beyond-the-classroom experiences.
  • Student-support-driven ELOs are flexible responses to students’ academic or social support needs.
  • Integration-driven ELOs bring existing programming under the ELO tent.

~Executive Summary: Final Report of Evaluation
Findings, May 2011,
UMass Donohue Institute

Rigor, relevance, and relationships come together. . .

A learning team for each ELO

Learning takes place beyond the classroom. Learning is supported by the school in the design, coaching and assessing of the ELO.


Community Garden Biology:  A local need for help with a community garden inspired a group ELO where students explored ecosystems, cellular structures, nutritional, energy, water and nitrogen cycles. After designing their plots, students decided where to donate a portion of their produce.

Essential questions:

  • Where does food come from?
  • Where does it go?
Partners included:
  • garden volunteers
  • food pantry
  • local farmers
The work:

RESEARCH happened in the field (literally) and in lab groups, addressing the competencies:

  • Energy flows and matter recycles through an ecosystem.
  • Groups of organisms show evidence of change over behaviors and biochemistry.
  • The growth of scientific knowledge in Life Science has been advanced through the development of technology and is used to identify, understand and solve local and global issues.

REFLECTIONS were done individually and in groups, daily and at the end of major activities:

  • group and individual lab journals
  • group ELO Blog
  • individual final reflections

THE PROJECT was both the completed garden and the distribution of the produce. Benchmark activities tied to competencies included:

  • planning the garden
  • soil and plant tests/labs
  • budgeting & nutritional
  • analysis
PRESENTATIONS OF LEARNING happened when the project was complete so that students could communicate their learning and growth. Students used their presentations to make their case for mastering their Biology competencies.

This website is a place to learn the ropes and explore best practices, recommendations, and ideas from around the region. Dive in!