Confused about an acronym or term you see while using the Summit Learning Platform? We've put together some definitions of our most common terms:

Summit Learning Platform

The Summit Learning Platform is an online tool that allows teachers to serve as instructional coaches while students set individual goals, create roadmaps to achieve them, learn content at their own pace, and dive into meaningful projects that connect to the real world.

Personal Learning Time (PLT)

PLT is time set aside in the school day when students learn academic content at their own pace and in the style they learn best. Students drive their own learning with support from their teachers, peers, and curated playlists of resources.

Project Time (PT)

PT is time set aside in the school day consisting of teacher-facilitated group learning. It is the majority of time spent in each of our core courses. Projects develop the 36 cognitive skills that are critical for college readiness by allowing students to develop and demonstrate deeper thinking and learning skills.

Grade Level Team (GLT)

A GLT is the entire group of teachers within a grade level at a school. They may, or may not, teach the same subjects.

Self-Directed Learning (SDL)

SDL is a Summit Learning model that prioritizes these five behaviors:

  1. Challenge-seeking
  2. Persistence
  3. Strategy shifting
  4. Appropriate help-seeking
  5. Response to setbacks


Projects are the heart of personalized learning and are different from traditional school projects in a few important ways. Rather than applying previous knowledge to complete an assignment, students learn, inquire, and master material as they complete the project. These are immersive, and often real world, problems that offer students the autonomy to challenge themselves. Projects include the following components:

  • Checkpoints: Checkpoints, which often include activities and resources, are landmarks for navigating a large project. They help students develop strategies that tie into the final product and the cognitive skills on which they’ll be evaluated.
  • Activities: Activities are exercises and experiences that will help students complete checkpoints. They can range from brainstorms to group discussions to field trips.
  • Resources: Resources are tools that students can refer to, like websites and PDF guides, as they complete checkpoints.

Focus Areas

Focus areas allow students to develop their background knowledge on a topic. They are divided into power focus areas, additional focus areas, and challenge focus areas. Power focus areas are required pieces of content knowledge that make up 21% of a student's grade, whereas additional focus areas are supplementary pieces of content knowledge that make up 9% of a student's grade. Challenge focus areas are not required, and they do not contribute to a student's grade. Rather, they allow students to go above and beyond, or prepare for standardized tests. Focus areas include the following components:

  • Objectives: Objectives are steps that help set the pace for a focus area. They are phrased as verbs (ex: explain, understand, solve) and provide a picture of what the student will be able to do once the focus area has been completed.
  • Playlist: Playlists are the videos, slideshows, and readings that allow students to gain exposure to new content.
  • Content Assessments: Content assessments are graded assessments. A content assessment has 10 assessment questions and allow students to evaluate their knowledge. Students may practice for content assessments by taking diagnostic assessments.

Cognitive Skills

Cognitive skills (cog skills) are the critical thinking, communication, and problem solving skills needed for today's workforce. Cognitive skills scores make up 70% of a student’s grade.

Concept Units

Concept units are collections of math tasks that allow students to learn one or multiple mathematical concepts while receiving summative assessment scores that reflect their learning.

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