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T.J. Edwards

What IS the difference between competencies and standards? | reDesign - 2 views

  • Competencies, on the other hand, tend to emphasize the application of skills, knowledge and dispositions rather than content knowledge.
  • Competency-based models approach content as the backdrop, while putting essential skills and dispositions front and center. In this way, content serves as the context for practicing and demonstrating “transferable” competencies that can be applied in different contexts.
  • In competency-based models, the entire system must change. Students advance upon mastery  when they are ready, not when an arbitrary academic calendar suggests that they should be.
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  • Optimally, competencies are broad enough that student pathways and demonstrations of proficiency can be vastly different, organized to encourage and nurture student passions and questions.
  • Competencies sit above standards in terms of grain size.
  • competencies tend to encompass an interrelated set of skills, knowledge, aptitudes, and/or capacities.
  • competencies are often constructed as groupings of related skills or attributes that are purposefully designed to be explicit, measurable, transferable, and empowering to students
  • Competencies define skills that are practiced and developed continuously. They are not “one and done,” like many standards, which are course-based and attached to specific grade levels or bands.
  • in truly competency-based systems, PLDs are not attached to specific grade levels
  • we believe strongly that we must guard against tying PLDs to age-based grades or cohorts.
  • PLDs are guideposts to mastery
  • When learning outcomes are defined in terms of the application of skills or the synthesis and creation of new knowledge, we’re then talking about a much more sophisticated assessment type
  • competence is about successful application of skills and knowledge to achieve a particular purpose, not simply to show basic levels of understanding
  • In a true competency-based system, students can’t fail. Instead, students receive concrete and specific feedback on their work, and are provided with opportunities for additional practice and support in order to develop and demonstrate growth in their competencies.
  • Mastery-based grading and promotion policies are radically different in competency-based systems because promotion is based on mastery of specific skills, not on completion of courses made up of arbitrary and highly varied bundles of content, skills, and concepts.
  • As competency-based education gains ground in formal K-12 schooling, there is a very real chance that the movement could lose the “spirit” of its intent and become yet another, albeit more refined, form of standards-based learning
  • In competency-based models, performance level descriptors (PLDs) clarify the developmental journey from novice-to-expert or to "mastery."
  • Quite differently, competency-based models reach back centuries, with early apprenticeship learning that created pathways for mastery and gainful employment. Think: Medieval craft guilds, masonry, baking, carpentry, shoemaking.
Meghan Cureton

transforming_teaching_learning_and_assessment.pdf - 1 views

  • T o make space for learner voice and to promote learner agency, teachers must set up learning environments that stimulate active learner engagement with meaningful and progressively challenging tasks that stimulate their thinking and enable them to develop competence over time. Unlike subject content, competence cannot be transmitted to learners. Rather, competence is progressively developed by learners through appropriate facilitation.
  • Table 1. The Role of Learners in Competence-Based Curricula
  • A “growth mindset” (Dweck, 2006). essential for developing intrinsic motivation.
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  • Deep learning
  • The extent of emotional, cognitive, and behavioral engagement influences the effectiveness of learning, and thus, the development of competence.
  • These modes of learning blur boundaries between teachers and learners, as learners progressively take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Success also rests on profound teacher understanding of curricula that should accrue during curriculum design and development stages. Such understanding is crucial for the teachers’ buy-in, conviction, ownership, and commitment to effective curricula implementation.
  • Within the curriculum continuum, assessment has significant potential to support and reinforce curriculum reform. However, it equally has enormous potential to distort the official/intended curriculum.
  • When appropriate strategies are used in assessment, they can support the implementation of the official curriculum, enhance learning, and lead to an enrichment effect. However, gaining these benefits of appropriate assessment demands a specialized knowledge of assessment by all concerned.
  • Another critical policy message is that competence-based assessment and examinations systems require significant investment in the professionalization of teachers as assessors of learning. Competence-based assessments also require trust in teachers’ ability to make reliable judgements and to utilize assessment as an inherent and important part of teaching and learning.
  • A key policy message is that education and learning systems cannot succeed at adopting competence-based approaches to curriculum without similarly transforming teaching, learning, as well as assessment and examination systems. All the three elements must be aligned. Transforming curricula to competence-based approaches and leaving teaching, learning, assessment, tests, and examinations subject-based is tantamount to not transforming curricula.
  • In competence-based approaches, teachers are not just co-designers and co-developers of curricula. They are also pivotal co-assessors, co-testers, and co-examiners.
  • Most importantly, competence-based curricula must lead quality assessment rather than be led by poor practice assessments, tests, and examinations.
  • What "developmental progression" means, in general terms, and an understanding that progressing is neither linear nor necessarily agerelated. Rather, it is iterative, interactive, and dependent on making connections to prior learning and to context;
  • it is best to base judgements on a number of different criterion referenced assessments.
  • Effective teacher professional development must include all 4 componen ts: • Knowledge – worthwhile research-informed theory, content, and expertise; • Integrated pedagogical and assessment skills and strategies; • Modelling, demonstrating, and engaging with approaches, ideally in settings that approximate to the workplace; • Practicing the approaches frequently over a substantial period of time between professional inputs; (2–6 months a minimum) with ongoing and follow up evaluation of impact and refinement; • Concurrent dialogue/coaching/peer collaboration in activities such as lesson planning, preparing related resources, peer observation, discussion, and reflection on impact
  • Table 4. Success of different methods of professional development Training Components Outcomes % of participants who demonstrate Kno wledge % of participants who demonstrate new Skills % of participants who transfer into Classroom Practice Theoretical Knowledge and Discussion 10%5%0% Demonstration in Training 30%20%0% Practice and Feedback in Training 60%60%5% Coaching in Classroom Settings 95%95%95%
  • Teaching still lacks core characteristics that define a profession, vis: (i) a profession-specific, systematized, scientific body of knowledge that informs the daily activities of practitioners; (ii) a lengthy period of higher education training and induction; (iii) engagement in continuous professional development; and (iv) autonomy to exercise professional judgement and decision-making in practice and in governance over the profession
Bo Adams

The 10 Biggest Breakthroughs in the Science of Learning | Brainscape Blog - 3 views

  • The brain is equipped to tackle a pretty hefty load of information and sensory input, but there is a point at which the brain becomes overwhelmed, an effect scientists call cognitive overload. While our brains do appreciate new and novel information (as we’ll discuss later), when there is too much of it we become overwhelmed. Our minds simply can’t divide our attention between all the different elements.
  • the brain’s wiring can change at any age and it can grow new neurons and adapt to new situations — though the rate at which this happens does slow with age. This phenomenon is called neuroplasticity, and it has had major ramifications in our understanding of how the brain works and how we can use that understanding to improve learning outcomes.
  • The ability to learn, retain, and use information isn’t just based on our raw IQ. Over the past few decades it has become increasingly clear that how we feel — our overall emotional state — can have a major impact on how well we can learn new things.
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  • Research is revealing why, as the emotional part of the brain, the limbic system has the ability to open up or shut off access to learning and memory. When under stress or anxiety, the brain blocks access to higher processing and stops forming new connections, making it difficult or impossible to learn.
  • research shows that failure is essential.
  • Information in the brain that isn’t used is often lost, as neural pathways weaken over time.
  • Researchers have found that novelty causes the dopamine system in the brain to become activated, sending the chemical throughout the brain.
  • Neuroscience research suggests that the best way to learn something new isn’t to focus on mistakes, but instead to concentrate on how to do a task correctly. Focusing on the error only reinforces the existing incorrect neural pathway, and will increase the chance that the mistake will be made again. A new pathway has to be built, which means abandoning the old one and letting go of that mistake.
  • cater to the emotional and social needs of students and improves their ability to learn, is more important than styles
  • Students may have preferences for how they learn, but when put to the test, students were found to have equivalent levels of learning regardless of how information is presented.
  • students who don’t get intellectual stimulation over the summer are much more likely to forget important skills in reading and math when they return to class.
  • Peer collaboration offers students access to a diverse array of experiences and requires the use of nearly all the body’s senses, which in turn creates greater activation throughout the brain and enhances long-term memory. Group work, especially when it capitalizes on the strengths of its members, may be more beneficial than many realize.
  • Aside from being able to see and hear patterns, the human mind has a number of innate abilities (the ability to learn a language, for instance) that when capitalized on in the right way, can help make learning any concept, even one that is abstract, much easier. Combining these innate abilities with structured practice, repetition, and training can help make new ideas and concepts “stick” and make more sense.
  • Learning can change brain structure.
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    HT @MeghanCureton
Meghan Cureton

Following the lessons of learning science in schools isn't convenient - The Hechinger R... - 0 views

  • Following the lessons of learning science in schools isn’t convenient
  • “The mind is a sheet of paper for a professor to write on.” But that’s the wrong way to think about education, he said. The right way, he argued, is to think of a human as a plant to which educators offer fertilizer and water and sunlight when it needs it, or wants it, most. “This is a very different model,” Sarma said, “but it’s so inconvenient we ignore it.”
  • cognitive load theory posits that working memory is limited. Students who hear new information store it first in working memory, but this is short-term memory, and all short-term memories will be forgotten. There’s no way around it. The key, according to Sarma, is reinforcing that information and getting it into long-term memory, where it will last. Students can only focus on new information for eight to 14 minutes before their minds start to wander, Sarma said, so the best method of instruction is to offer such new information in bite-sized chunks.
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  • information is stored in memories created by a chemical connection between neurons in the brain, Sarma said. Over time, that chemical dries up and the memory disappears. But if reminded of that information before the original memory disappears, the brain creates a new connection and one that is long-term. The best way to retain knowledge, according to memory research, is to learn about it once, wait until you’re about to forget it, and then learn it again.
  • Also in contrast to standard scheduling patterns in schools is the idea of interleaved learning. Sarma said the brain looks for contrast. Learning one thing and then jumping to another topic and back again is helpful for long-term retention,
  • Sarma sees the future of learning as blended, individuated, fluid and hands-on. Learning science supports his vision. The question is whether schools can be reorganized to do the same.
Meghan Cureton

Learning and the Brain Stories, #2 - Learning and the Brain blogLearning and the Brain ... - 1 views

  • the role of education is to help our children become who they are meant to be instead of  working towards an average which testing promotes.
  • We take this narrowed, biased model of success and try to replicate it in schools; yet these models further reduce diversity of thought, experience and creativity among our students.
  • If we are to support our children to become creative problem-solvers, then we need to move away from pursuing averages that are based on a single prescribed profile for all learners.
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  • By creating norms and averages we are drawn to comparison and rank–rather than to our children’s curiosities about what they want to learn, become or aspire to be.
  • If praise is tied to the child’s perception of success, and success is tied to narrow definitions of achievement, then children work towards that common standard against which Zhao cautioned us. If they are less likely to take risks then they will seek a single right answer rather than embrace both creativity and curiosity. The standardized test will always be the measure of success.
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    HT @kkelly
Meghan Cureton

Assessment, Choice, and the Learning Brain | Edutopia - 0 views

  • If you really want to see how innovative a school is, inquire about its thinking and practices regarding assessment.
  • students who develop mastery goals are motivated by the actual learning experiences. Their rewards arise from the challenges of acquiring and applying new knowledge and skills.
  • students who are motivated by mastery goals are more likely to persevere in the face of such challenges. Difficult tasks or setbacks do not diminish their motivation or self-esteem
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  • Timely feedback has been shown to deepen one's memory for the material assessed
  • Finally, studies suggest that marking answers right or wrong (as in multiple choice tests) has little effect on learning. However, providing the correct response only after a student has spent time "struggling" to find the correct answer significantly increases retention of the material
  • having students reconstruct what they know through alternative assessments leads to deeper understanding and consolidates learning in more powerful ways than traditional testing
  • While students manage to keep enough dates, facts, and formulas in their head to pass the test, this knowledge never made it to long-term declarative memory, it was never truly learned at all (only memorized in the short term).
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    Great read as we are in the throes of final exams...
Jim Tiffin Jr

Building A Tinkering Mindset In Young Students Through Making | MindShift | KQED News - 0 views

  • the physical space for tinkering matters much less than the mental space that you create for young makers.
  • To be effective tinkerers, students need to achieve a state of mind in which they are primed to play and make joyful discoveries.
  • telling a group of little kids that it’s okay to make mistakes is not an effective way to deliver your message. The droning voice of the teachers in the Peanuts cartoons springs to mind! To get kids to internalize your message and truly take it to heart, you have to show them in a wide variety of ways what you really mean.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      Like the pHail Boards and the FailUp Zone.
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  • I let students see me flustered and then (hopefully) recovering. I invite them to help me diagnose what went wrong, which they LOVE.
  • Modeling that it really is okay to make mistakes is vital.
  • Barney Saltzberg’s Beautiful Oops. This short book features mistakes repackaged as something awesome! For example, a torn piece of paper becomes the smile on an alligator. Young children respond to the simplicity of the “mistakes” and the delightful revelation of the reworked mistake into something beautiful and surprising.
  • Taking public risks and making public mistakes not only helps normalize mistake making, it inspires enthusiasm for collectively problem-solving and collaborating.
  • Posting quotations about or pictures of mistakes can go a long way toward reminding kids that you’re serious about the value of mistakes.
  • Failure and discovery are so closely linked, so connected and interrelated, that it is very hard to distinguish between them, especially when failure leads directly to discovery and vice versa.
  • To help students understand the messy process of creation, I ask students to track their progress during any project (much more about this in chapter 6). Tracking a project’s progress helps illuminate the many mistakes along the way.
  • Peer-to-peer sharing also opens the door for collaboration and collective problem-solving when a student is unsure of how to move past an obstacle.
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    Article summarizing ways to encourages students to think of mistakes as learning opportunities.
Meghan Cureton

Neuroscience Should Inform School Policies - Education Week - 1 views

  • key secondary school reform efforts need to emphasize learning activities involving metacognition, goal-setting, planning, working memory, reflection on one's learning, and frequent opportunities to make responsible choices.
  • What is essential for kids at this time of life is to be engaged in real-life learning experiences and peer-learning connections that put them under conditions of "hot cognition," where educators can help them along in the process of integrating their impulsiveness (positively viewed as excitement and motivation) with their reasoning abilities.
  • The implications for reform of secondary school are clear. Schools should provide more opportunities for students to be involved in apprenticeships, internships, service learning, community-based learning, small peer-learning groups, entrepreneur-based programs, and student-directed project-based learning
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  • key part of the secondary school curriculum should involve the teaching of stress-reduction methods, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and aerobic activity; exercise breaks during class; a strong physical education curriculum; and a broadly based extracurricular sports program for all students, not just the star athletes.
  • prefrontal cortex, which is the region controlling inhibition of impulses and the ability to plan, reflect, self-monitor, and make good decisions, doesn't fully develop until the early 20s. This means that while the limbic system or "emotional brain" is working at close to full capacity by early adolescence, the areas of the brain that could temper those feelings and impulses are still in the process of being constructed.
  • Neuroscience Should Inform School Policies
  • Consequently, key secondary school reform efforts need to emphasize learning activities involving metacognition, goal-setting, planning, working memory, reflection on one's learning, and frequent opportunities to make responsible choices.
  • Classroom teaching that focuses largely on delivering content through lectures and textbooks fails to engage the emotional brain and leaves unchanged those prefrontal regions that are important in metacognition.
  • Locking students into a set academic college-bound program of courses takes away their ability to make decisions about what most interests them (a process that integrates the limbic system's motivational verve with the prefrontal cortex's decisionmaking capacity).
  • Neuroscience research tells us that the teenage brain is exquisitely sensitive to environmental influences. This neuroplasticity makes it vulnerable to a wide range of societal dangers—traffic accidents, drug abuse, suicide, violence. But it also makes it acutely sensitive to the influence of teachers, for good or for ill.
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    "key secondary school reform efforts need to emphasize learning activities involving metacognition, goal-setting, planning, working memory, reflection on one's learning, and frequent opportunities to make responsible choices."
Meghan Cureton

What Babies Know About Physics and Foreign Languages - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    New research tells us scientifically what most preschool teachers have always known intuitively. If we want to encourage learning, innovation and creativity we should love our young children, take care of them, talk to them, let them play and let them watch what we do as we go about our everyday lives. We don't have to make children learn, we just have to let them learn.
Meghan Cureton

5 Ways to Learn About Note-taking from Da Vinci - 0 views

  • Invoke your own system
  • constantly studied and observed
  • pursuit of knowledge and commitment to lifelong learning.
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  • Always Innovate
  • Remember to stick to a regular schedule and review your notes often
  • Cross-pollinate
  • He relied on the outside world and others to help empower and enrich his ideas.
  • It’s amazing how a few moments away can connect your ideas and thoughts to help solve your most frustrating challenges.
  • Promote Yourself
Jim Tiffin Jr

'Maker' movement inspires hands-on learning | The Seattle Times - 0 views

  • Tinkering is being promoted on college campuses from MIT to Santa Clara University, as well as in high schools and elementary schools.
  • The blending of technology and craft in tools like 3-D printers and laser cutters has made it possible for ordinary people to make extraordinary things. And many ordinary people, living as they do, more and more in their heads and online, are yearning to do something with their hands.
  • Constructionist Approach
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      This is the term that we are missing in our current MDE nomenclature!
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  • Yes, tinkering is now a pedagogy.
  • “You’re exploring creativity, you’re exploring design thinking, you’re developing a sense of persistence,” she says. Building something new requires planning, trying and, yes, failing, and then trying again. “These are incredibly important mind-set for today’s world,” she says.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      Music to my ears!
  • talks excitedly about students who have designed child prostheses. “That’s what they’re going to remember their entire life,” she says. “They aren’t going to remember sitting in an electronics lecture.”
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      It is about creating experiences that help students see the world as a malleable place.
  • Alexandra Garey, who graduated from Rutgers last year, credits tinkering with changing the course of her studies, and life: “I went from somebody who was majoring in Italian and European studies to someone who was designing and prototyping products and realizing any product that came into my head.”
  • “U.S. schools are very good at finding the brain-smart people,” he says. “They are also very good at finding the best athletes.” But they are not so good at finding and nurturing people who, he said, describing himself, think with their fingers.
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    A fabulous article full of stories about the impact of maker-centered learning experiences, and the growing number of places that provide them - elementary schools, high school, colleges, public. Perhaps most gratifying is the use of distinctly maker-centered AND educational terminology in the same article. A great sign of things to come!
Meghan Cureton

Assessment in Making | Edutopia - 1 views

  • Traditional direct instruction focuses on content knowledge, while maker-centered learning orients around the learner's context.
  • Perhaps some memorization of key facts is necessary, but we must set our sights beyond box checking and move toward connection with peers, toward empathy, problem solving, and working through frustrations in pursuit of a deeper, richer understanding of both content and self.
  • Making innately provides evidence of learning.
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  • Currently, the common form of assessment focuses on only one learning outcome type: content. Practices, ways of thinking, and 21st-century skills often fall by the wayside
  • the digital portfolio is a promising model for genuine assessment of deep, multi-layered learning
  • Portfolios can showcase a student's abilities, interests, voice, and thinking in a way that test scores and grades cannot.
  • Consider how we assess artists or athletes, or more importantly, how they assess themselves.
Bo Adams

How Can Schools Prioritize For The Best Ways Kids Learn? | MindShift | KQED News - 0 views

  • if the changes to education are all in the service of doing the same thing better, they may be missing the point.
  • the current context demands a radically different vision of learning.
  • examples of schools and districts that are asking themselves difficult questions to propel change. The successful ones are letting the answer to the question, “How do kids learn best?” drive everything they do in schools.
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  • education that is student-initiated, interdisciplinary and co-planned by students and teachers together
  • “It’s about doing work that matters,” Richardson said. “It’s about connections. It’s about play. It’s about cultures where kids and teachers are learners.” When schools have a set of beliefs about learning and enact those beliefs through practice, but don’t anchor what they are doing in today’s context, they may be doing something progressive, but also a little irrelevant. Beliefs and contexts without practice leads to ineffective teaching. The sweet spot for a very different type of education system lies in the Venn diagram of all three: beliefs, context and practice.
  • It can be difficult to interrogate longstanding policies and choices, but if districts, schools and individual educators can’t reflect on what’s working and what isn’t, articulate a change, and begin doing it, the education system as a whole will become irrelevant.
Meghan Cureton

What the Heck Is Project-Based Learning? | Edutopia - 0 views

  • "PBL is the act of learning through identifying a real-world problem and developing its solution. Kids show what they learn as they journey through the unit, not just at the end."
  • Teaching with PBL is the difference between the atmosphere at Disneyland and the atmosphere at a Six Flags resort.
  • PBL doesn't ask you to replace your content. It asks that you create a vehicle in which to communicate your content.
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  • "PBL is the act of learning through identifying a real-world problem and developing its solution. Kids show what they learn as they journey through the unit, not just at the end."
  • PBL is the ongoing act of learning about different subjects simultaneously.
Meghan Cureton

Aligning Assessment to Brain Science - 1 views

  • The most powerful learners are those who are reflective, who engage in metacognition – thinking about what they know – and who take control of their own learning
Bo Adams

Stop telling us it's not about the points | thebloggerina - 1 views

  • If I focused on just learning all of the material instead of playing for points, I would fail.
  • If I learn now, I’m denied a bright future of learning later.
  • Even though I have good grades, my academic confidence is very low.
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  • As far as I know, the people judging our transcript will always win.
  • Instead, I would introduce a system of portfolios to let schools judge your real work and see you as a person, not as an average of numbers and letters.
  • If I had to put a date on when points became my main priority, I would say it was my first day of high school.
  • You could be wondering “Why doesn’t she want to focus on simply learning?” My answer is very easy. No one has time for that. Just as my day is split into 7 periods, so is my time after school. There is only so much I can do and only so much that I can handle.
  • If I learn now, I’m denied a bright future of learning later.
  • When I hear the frustration of my teachers about the desperation students have for points, I feel two things: guilt and a longing to be able to say that I don’t live on points and I fully submerge myself in my subjects. But that possibility seems untouchable, a million miles away.
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    #stuvoice
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    HT @MeghanCureton
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