What is Layered Curriculum?
Layered Curriculum allows the student to take control of their own learning by allowing them to choose how they learn, how they demonstrate that knowledge, and what grade they choose to earn. With Layered Curriculum, students are given a menu (calendar) from which to choose their learning activities. The menu (calendar) is broken down into “C-level”, “B-level”, and “A-level” sections. Each level contains a list of learning opportunities and the number of points each activity is worth. Students begin on the “C-level menu (calendar) and choose activities for each a certain point maximum. Once they have achieved the “C-level” maximum, they may move onto the “B-level and choose learning opportunities until they reach the maximum number of points at that layer. Finally, students move on to the “A-level” section of the menu (calendar).
All the students have the same deadline to complete the menu (calendar). This way, all the students are working on the same content, and do other activities together as they work to meet the deadline. Mid-way quizzes are given to check student progress. Exams are given at the end of the unit.
I still teach and assess students by daily lectures, lab activities, group discussions and formative assessments. I will still move the class forward covering content to content but the level of the menu (calendar) reached by the student determines the students grade. Not every student will have mastered every piece of content before the class moves on, but each student will receive the grade for the level he or she completed on the menu (calendar). Perhaps a slower student will only complete the “C-level” of the menu and therefore will receive a maximum of a C grade.