THE SOLVIT DIFFERENCE

As a member of the Acton Academy network, Solvit offers an innovate approach to education backed by over 10 years of proven results. 

Traditional

Solvit

Lecture Based Instruction and Rows of Desks Filled with Students Born in the Same Year

This format has been in use in America since the 19th century.  We believe that grouping students of the same age and delivering instruction to all of them at the same time, in the same format, and at the same pace will not adequately prepare students for life in the 21st century.   Students learn at different rates, and when teachers provide instruction in this format it is virtually impossible to meet the individual needs of all learners.  

Measure the Quality of Learning through Frequent, High Stakes Standardized Tests 

We don't believe that frequent, high stakes testing is an effective way to measure the qualities that are most important.  We administer the IOWA test once per year to make sure the basic skills are being learned, but we will never teach to the test or make it a primary focus.  While 10 years of IOWA test scores show that students in this program are 2-3 grade levels ahead of national averages, we agree with this student on what matters most.  

Heavy on Homework 

Isn't homework required to build work ethic and reinforce concepts learned in school?  In reality, there's no significant connection between homework and performance.  Self-directed, self-paced, mastery based learning is so much more efficient than lecture based instruction, we think assigning homework is an invasive waste of time.   In terms of developing discipline and a sense of responsibility, we believe that the Solvit experience provides far more meaningful opportunities for character development through quests, exhibitions, and Voyager self governance.  

Success = Good Grades = Rote Memorization of Facts + Not Making Mistakes

We don't believe that cramming for an exam only to forget the material a few weeks later facilitates curiosity and lifelong learning.   In the 21st century, we don't think the focus should be on short term memorization of content.  

Self-Directed, Self-Paced Learning in Multi-Age Studios

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We use the latest, adaptive, game-based technology and peer instruction to cover the basic core skills of reading, writing, and math.  Voyagers advance at their own pace.  Instead of teachers, Solvit offers guides.   They do not lecture or teach in the traditional sense.  They provide support in setting goals and serve as "guardrails" in the studio.  As a result, Voyagers take ownership of their learning and have the opportunity to develop leadership skills and a more thorough understanding of concepts as they mentor peers.  Does it work?   An IOWA test is administered once per year (our only standardized test).  Despite never teaching to the test, 10 years of results show that students following this approach are 2-3 grade levels ahead.

Measure the Quality of Learning through Mastery Badges, Exhibitions, and Customer Satisfaction Surveys

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Voyagers earn badges for demonstrating full mastery of a skill.  During each 4-6 week session, Voyagers complete quests and present their work to parents in an exhibition.  There are also a variety of online reports available to Voyagers and parents to track progress.  We view Voyagers and parents as customers, and satisfaction surveys are sent out regularly and shared publicly to ensure transparency and constant improvement.     

Respect for Personal Time

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Instead of spending hours each night at home filling out meaningless worksheets or cramming to memorize content that will be forgotten after the next exam, we believe in the value of spending time with our family and friends.   We want Voyagers to get outside, play, and find hobbies that excite them.  As Voyagers advance to middle school and high school, we want them to get hands-on experience in fields that interest them through meaningful apprenticeships.   We believe these activities will be far more beneficial than traditional homework.   

Success = Developing Mastery & Finding a Passion = Experiencing Failure + Learning  To Get Back Up

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We believe that the most important skills to master in the 21st century are the soft skills:  leadership, communication, creative problem solving, and critical thinking .    We believe these skills cannot be taught through instruction, but they can be learned through experience.  Our goal is to create an environment where Voyagers are exposed to challenging and interesting quests, experience failure, develop grit, and through that process, find their calling and a desire to change the world.