Forms versus Grade Levels
Learning is the constant, time is the variable.
In many schools utilizing the grade levels system, children move through their materials based on time rather than understanding. This model leaves many children stranded with educational holes. Delphian's approach is just the opposite, where learning is the constant and time is the variable. Our students study independently on personalized academic programs, learning from their materials rather than a teacher lecturing in front of the class. While students are still grouped into classes according to their level of subject matter, each student in the class could be studying on a different course during the same learning period.
Delphian School utilizes the concept of Forms as a way of offering this type of independent learning environment while also getting excellent learning results without forcing all students to move at exactly the same pace through the material. The word form is defined as: "a set, prescribed, or customary order or method of doing something." It is also commonly used in referring to a grade or class of pupils in a British secondary school or in certain U.S. private schools.
Delphian realizes each student is an individual and needs to be addressed as such in his or her education. Some students thrive at a faster pace, and some need more time. In fact, most students experience a little bit of both from month to month, depending on the subject matter, their age, or any number of variables.
Rather than place or advance a child based on age or number of months spent in one grade level, Delphian takes the approach that each level of a student's education involves the acquisition and demonstration of particular abilities and knowledge. What constitutes that knowledge and experience is the subject matter of each Form.
Delphian School has a defined set of rigorous standards which must be met for a student to complete each Form. These standards are called the Delphi Program Graduation Requirements. Though Forms can be roughly equivalent to grade levels and ages, it is possible for a younger student to move on to a higher Form once they've met all the requirements for their current Form. In this way, each student can get the full benefits from the curriculum and keep advancing as rapidly as he or she is maturing.
This type of educational format is sometimes called competency-based or proficiency-based education. In the case of the Delphi Program, we prefer mastery-based, as our students do not pass a course or finish a Form without having demonstrated 100% mastery of the key data in the material they've studied.