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Junior Defense

“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was invited to participate as a guest evaluator on the junior defense panel, but I said yes anyway. The matrix for evaluation seemed kind of intimidating and I wasn’t sure just what I was expected to contribute to the student experience. However, the actual experience blew me away. There was a teacher that gave us some background on the process and the student, but the best part of the panel was a student on the panel with us who was absolutely invested in the process and lead our way with their thoughts and comments. The students that presented their work were interesting, invested, passionate, and impressive. I’d do it again in a heartbeat and if you are invited – say yes!”
- Junior Defense Panelist, AEM


This Mastery Credit Defense Process usually occurs in a student's junior year and culminates with a public forum designed to allow students an opportunity to exhibit their metacognition, synthesis and mastery of learning. 


The defense meeting is conducted in front of a committee composed of younger students, school content area specialists, adults significant in the student’s life, and experts outside the Pathways High community.  The Mastery Credit Defense Process concludes with student reflection and celebration of the great work accomplished by Pathways High students.


Elements of Defense:

  • Student Selected Mastery Credit: Students identify a mastery credit that they feel they have demonstrated mastery in through the work they have already completed or through a project that with some refinement could meet the requirements for.  Their evidence will be displayed on their final mastery transcript. 

  • Student Selected Project: Any Pathways High Student, though primarily Juniors, will identify a product that they have created that demonstrates a high quality of proficiency in a particular Mastery Credit.

  • Defense Presentation in front of Community Panel: To judge the presentation & project, students present to a panel made up of a staff lead, at least one community guest, a younger student and an older student.  The panel will have time to review the artifact before the presentation, and comes to consensus on scores.

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