McREL Report: Arete School Preliminary Program “A Model for Total School Reform”

McREL—the Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory—is one of a number of regional educational research centers across the country affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education. Located in the Denver, Colorado area, McREL had two of its researchers analyze and evaluate an Arete School preliminary program called Promoting Achievement in School through Sport (PASS).

Designed for middle and high school students, PASS is a year-long, project-based, daily course based upon the positive aspects of sport culture. PASS has been presented to 4,000 students in 59 secondary schools in five states, including California, Oregon, Illinois, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In the PASS class, students identify the fundamentals that lead to mastery in athletics or Fundamentals of Athletic Mastery (FAMs) and apply the FAMs to a project in which they set two major goals—one to improve their physical performance in some way and another to improve their overall academic performance.

During the first semester, the students identify the FAMs and develop a plan to apply them to their two goals.  For the second semester, the students carry out their plan, monitor their progress, study the results, and conduct a thorough evaluation of why they did or did not reach their goals.

The two McREL researchers produced a report that analyzed and evaluated the PASS program to determine whether or not it was a learner-centered program. The PASS program proved to be more than just successful, with the researchers concluding on page 5, “PASS addresses the needs of the whole learner—intellectual needs, motivational needs, and other needs such as students’ physical and social needs,” and that PASS is “a model for total school reform.” You can access the report here (pdf).