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MITx: Envisioning the Graduate of the Future

Embark on a collaborative and exploratory design process to reflect on the purpose of secondary school. Create a shareable artifact that conveys what you and your community believe a secondary school graduate should know and be able to do.
4 weeks
2–4 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule
This course is archived

About this course

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Interested in earning a certificate at no cost? Enroll to audit this course, and we’ll send more information about this opportunity shortly before the course begins. 

Communities have always wrestled with the multiple purposes of education: to train young people for careers, vocations, and college; to prepare them for their roles as citizens; to develop habits of reflective, ethical adults; and to create a common experience in a pluralistic society while meeting the needs of individual learners. As the world changes and grows more complex, returning to these important questions of purpose can help guide schools in their growth and strategic change. To ensure our schools are effective, we need to routinely reimagine what the high school graduate of the future will need to know and be able to do. The artifact that communicates these ideas is called a graduate profile. Making explicit the capabilities, competencies, knowledge, and attitudes for secondary school graduates, and inviting key stakeholders like students and community members to be engaged in the process, can help you and your school to focus your vision of success and drive school innovation efforts.

Instructor Justin Reich and the course team from the MIT Teaching Systems Lab look forward to guiding teachers, administrators, community members, and others passionate about improving secondary school in the process of designing a graduate profile. Over four weeks, you will reflect on the purpose and goals of secondary school, as well as desirable characteristics for graduates. You’ll learn how schools have benefited from a graduate profile development process and begin the process yourself.  You’ll learn more about your own context, its values and beliefs. You’ll leave the course with a shareable artifact that communicates a vision of a multi-faceted secondary school graduate.

This course has been authored by one or more members of the Faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Its educational objectives, methods, assessments, and the selection and presentation of its content are solely the responsibility of MIT.

At a glance

  • Institution: MITx
  • Subject: Education & Teacher Training
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:
    None, but we recommend that participants take the course with colleagues from their organization (school, district, learning environment).
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated skills: Innovation, Teaching

What you'll learn

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  • What a graduate profile is and the benefits of creating one
  • A better understanding of your own school context through a reflection and discovery process
  • How a graduate profile design process can engage a community in reflecting on and communicating the purpose of secondary school and establishing a cohesive vision
  • Process and tools for designing a graduate profile that reflects the values of multiple stakeholders
  • How a graduate profile can guide continuous school improvement
Part 1: Reflecting on High School
Inspired by voices from MIT and secondary schools, learners will reflect on what they feel is the purpose of secondary school. They will make a plan to gather information about what others in their community feel is the purpose of secondary school and what graduates should know and be able to do. They will understand why the graduate profile is a useful tool for reflection and communication.

Part 2: The Graduate Profile Process
Learners will gain familiarity with what the process of developing a graduate profile looks like. They will take some initial steps in the process and make a plan for future steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

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This course has generous sponsorship from the XQ Institute. Within the course, we share resources from their organization and network of grantee schools.

Q: Do I have to be a secondary school educator to take this course?

A: No, anyone who is concerned with the goals of secondary school should take this course. This includes administrators, paraprofessionals, educators of all kinds, parents, students, community members, etc.

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