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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.
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
Meghan Cureton

Project-based Learning: Are You Focused on the Project or the Learning? - 0 views

  •  
    HT @akytle
Meghan Cureton

How Being Part of a 'House' Within a School Helps Students Gain A Sense of Belonging - 0 views

  • sense of inclusion and engagement in a common enterprise can have academic benefits as well as social-emotional ones
  • each takes responsibility for advising 28 of the house’s students, whom they follow through the end of sophomore year.
  • houses have not just missions, colors, chants and symbols but also hand signs and mottos—each classroom contains four colored containers.
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  • In a paper on the topic,
  • requires a long-term commitment,” Hayes said, as well as whole-school involvement.
  • For a house system to succeed, there has to be something substantive behind it, an underlying ethos being reinforced.
  • “The houses are not just a thing that you do,” Kloczko agreed. “It’s really your whole school culture.”
Meghan Cureton

Stop Teaching Classes And Start Teaching Children - 0 views

  • Too often bits and pieces are tacked onto curriculum as yet another perfectly-reasonable-sounding-thing to teach.
  • There is nothing wrong with changes in priority. In fact, this is a signal of awareness and reflection and vitality. But when education—as it tends to do—continues to take a content and skills-focused view of what to teach rather than how students learn, it’s always going to be a maddening game of what gets added in, and what gets taken out, with the loudest or most emotionally compelling voices usually winning.
  • Skills are things students can “do”—procedural knowledge that yields the ability to do something. This could be revising an essay, solving a math problem, or decoding words to read. Content can be thought of as a second kind of knowledge—a declarative knowledge that often makes up the face of a content area. In math, this might be the formula to calculate the area of a circle. In composition, it could be a writing strategy to form sound and compelling paragraphs. In history, it may refer to the geographic advantages of one country in a conflict versus another. Should schools focus on content and skills, or should they focus on habits and thinking?
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  • So then, hundreds of standards. Hundreds! This places extraordinary pressure on educators—those who develop standards, those who create curriculum from those standards, those who create lessons from that curriculum, and on and on—to make numerous—and critical—adjustments to curriculum, assessment, and instruction on the fly.
  • Why not try a different approach–one that not only decenters curriculum, but reimagines it completely?
  • Building A Curriculum Based On People
  • n the past, we’ve sought to add-to and revise. Add these classes and drop these. This isn’t as important as this. To make knowledge an index that reflects the latest thinking that reflects our most recent insecurities and collective misunderstandings. This doesn’t seem like the smartest path to sustainable innovation in learning.
  • Give me a curriculum based on people–based on their habits and thinking patterns in their native places. One that helps them see the utility of knowledge and the patterns of familial and social action. One that helps them ask, “What’s worth knowing, and what should I do with what I know?” Then let’s work backwards from that.
Meghan Cureton

Q: What's the Right Dosage of PBL?        A: Not Once Per Year | Blog | Proje... - 2 views

  • Does adopting PBL mean we should use it all the time and teach everything via projects? If not, then how many projects should teachers do per semester or year?
  • Project Based Teaching Practices are actually just good teaching, period, and many of the practices can be used in the classroom when students are in between projects.
  • “Just make two high-quality projects per year for every student be the goal.” In a K-12 system, that means each student would experience 26 projects at a minimum—which sounds like a lot! But that’s only the start. Perhaps students in middle and high school, at first, would experience two projects per year in one subject area—if, say, only social studies teachers begin to use PBL. But assuming PBL spreads across the school, students would do projects in other subject areas, or do interdisciplinary projects, and eventually experience many more than 26 projects if they stayed in one K-12 PBL-infused system.
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  • But assuming projects are between 3-6 weeks long, I’d like to see a minimum of two projects per year in every K-12 classroom, in all subject areas—so that all students, no matter who they are, can gain the benefits of high quality PBL.
  • Even better, make it one project per quarter—four per year. And while you’re at it, sprinkle in a few mini-projects to help build a PBL culture or tackle a relatively confined topic or task.
  • Why is the PBL dosage important?
  • Students cannot build 21st century success skills if they only get occasional opportunities to practice and internalize them.
  • Students will become more confident, independent learners—even identifying and tackling problems authentic to themselves, their communities, and the wider world.
  • be part of a culture that celebrates risk-taking and innovation.
  • If only a few scattered teachers use PBL in a school or district, or only a few students experience it and thus limit demand, then the system’s basic structures, policies, and culture will remain the same. But if a critical mass is reached, schools and districts will need to rethink the use of time, teacher workloads, community relationships, assessment systems, decision-making processes, and much more. Here’s to reaching the PBL tipping point!
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