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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.
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