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Meghan Cureton

3 Principles to Follow for Competency-Based Education | GOA - 1 views

  • When it comes to competency-based learning (CBL), we must tend to our school cultures as deeply and thoughtfully as we tend to our classrooms.
  • Adopting CBL means more than a shift in pedagogy; it means committing to a mindset and system that prioritize learning over time, skills over content, and relevant, holistic assessment over high-stakes testing.
  • To build this culture, they focus on three essential elements.
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  • 1. Learning is a Positive, Inclusive Experience
  • Students set and pursue individualized learning goals and have in-person and online academic support options.
  • Reassessment is an academic norm.
  • Students pursue their passions.
  • Conflict resolution is built on restorative justice, not traditional disciplinary techniques.
  • 2. Students Lead Learning
  • A common thread: Culture and program should be deeply connected, specifically in how communities support student agency.
  • Every student and adult in the community creates, pursues, and updates a Learning Plan; every student has an advisor; and public exhibitions of learning that involve school and community members are the standard summative assessments.
  • 3. Professional Culture is the Foundation of School Culture
Meghan Cureton

Six Fixes for Proficiency-Based Learning « Competency Works - 0 views

  • Proficiency-based learning, at its core, is about redesigning the learning and teaching system of America. Instead of basing learning on how much time a student spends, it bases learning on what students can demonstrate—exactly the same as every other system students will encounter in the world outside of school.
  • In addition, schools should continue to share information pertaining to course grades and start to share information regarding student attainment of specific standards, including course-crossing skills such as problem solving, creativity, and analysis. While we would recommend that the course grades continue to use A-F or 0-100 scales, shifting to a 1-4 scale on the standards probably provides better insight for everyone involved. In this way, parents, students, and educators will know how students are doing within the structures of a class and how students are doing in regard to specific standards. This both/and approach will provide more information that can then be used to promote better learning.
  • Keep cohorts of kids together as they progress through their learning. Teachers can vary the learning strategies for various cohorts of students, supporting some students to dig deeper into various standards while others realize initial achievement—and then bringing everyone back together again to start the next unit of learning. Further, as research on learning has demonstrated, learning is a social endeavor, not meant to be undertaken alone. A cohort model supports this research.
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  • Hold students accountable to key and important standards, designating a small handful of “graduation standards” while using the other standards in the Common Core or various state standards to develop curriculum, guide instruction, and build classroom assessments. This strategy focuses learning on key and endurable concepts, skills, and themes; ensures that instructional support is targeted at the most important learning; and pushes students to think about and analyze ideas deeply rather than memorize an unwieldly number of discrete facts.
  • Educators need to clearly define top levels of performance and provide explicit expectations and opportunities for students to achieve these levels of learning. While we should not expect students to “exceed” standards in all cases, educators should require students to do so in areas of particular interest and aptitude for students.
  • Schools must establish both incentives and consequences for critical work habits such as time management and meeting deadlines. Rather than ignore these, they must teach, model, assess, and report them separately and eliminate the practice of controlling behavior by reducing grades. We have seen numerous effective strategies where late work requires coming in after school, not attending co-curricular activities, or mandatory guided study halls, to name a few examples.
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.
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