Yesterday, AIR released Looking Under the Hood of Competency-Based Education: The Relationship Between Competency-Based Education Practices and Students’ Learning Skills, Behaviors and Dispositions. This is one of the first valuable studies we have had looking at the impact of competency-based education.
Before I jump into the findings, I just want to thank AIR for this research and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation for funding it. This is exactly the type of research we need to help us figure out how to do competency-based education well, and AIR has made an enormous contribution to the field in several ways, including devising the survey tool and developing a framework of learning skills, behaviors, and dispositions.
The Framework of Learning Skills, Behaviors, and Disposition
AIR created three domains to organize the different sets of learning skills, behaviors, and dispositions. (You can find them in depth in Box 2 on page 22.) I think these domains really add to our thinking and conversations about how schools are helping students develop.
Domain 1: Student Academic Mindsets and Dispositions
Students’ academic mindsets and dispositions include attitudes and beliefs about oneself as a learner, as well as feelings of connection with and engagement in school. They include intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy in mathematics and ELA, and sense of belonging in school.
Domain 2: Self-Regulated Learning Skills
Self-regulated learning strategies are the self-directed, meta-cognitive, and self-control strategies students use to engage in learning, including making an explicit effort to connect new learning to what they already know and directing attention toward key learning tasks.
Domain 3: Academic Behavior
Academic behaviors are the observable, outward signs that a student is engaged and putting forth effort to learn and participate in school. Examples include preparation for class and active interest in learning.
I have been testing these ideas to see if there is anything I would add – and the only thing I might wonder about is how to capture the issue about the ways in which stereotypes can influence how children think of themselves as learners (basically, are students developing a positive gender and racial identity) and the issue of how students understand their horizons, including perceiving themselves as college-going and, for those who are surrounded by violence, whether they will live past twenty-five. (more…)