July 23, 2012 by Nicholas C. Donohue
These are very exciting and interesting times for the field of education in general and those who are exploring competency as a core component of more effective approaches to education. Notice I did not call it a “new” approach.
On the one hand, competency has been around as a concept for as long as human beings have been around. Our own “competence” in terms of managing and manipulating the world around us is one reason we are a dominant species. (Give thanks to meteors and the extinction of dinosaurs as another.) Some would say we are approaching “incompetence” in terms of our survival skills on account of how we manage conflict, over use of natural resources and how we produce mind numbingly bad television shows. However, we are pretty good at many things and our place in the world is evidence of this. (more…)
by Nicholas C. Donohue
The Endurance from Wikipedia
If competence is the core business of schooling then why does it seem like a new idea every time it emerges as a topic of reform, debate and consideration?
Part of the answer could be linked to the most important aspect of any venture – its core purpose. The core purpose of education has long been defined by a contradictory set of principles: one explicit and noble, the other tacit and more base, but seemingly (or at least historically) practical.
The explicit and noble espoused purpose of public education is often paraphrased as being about opportunity and equity – the chance on a level playing field of making more of oneself – the chance to beat the odds of upbringing and class. Some believe you are given your lot and you have to wait for the next time around to get a better one. In our society there is a presumption that given certain opportunities people can exceed these pre-determinations and better themselves, their families and thus contribute to the progress of society as whole. This is a good set of principles and it has served some leading societies well – including a good part of almost every generation of Americans. (more…)
July 6, 2012 by Chris Sturgis
David Domenici at the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings has been visiting state juvenile justice leaders this spring exploring how they are providing educational services in youth detention facilities. He has been identifying barriers to ensuring young people who are in the juvenile justice system have access to education, an absolutely critical component for reducing recidivism. In last month’s newsletter he describes the time-based Carnegie unit’s “especially pernicious impact of this framework on young people in the juvenile justice system, who are older and significantly credit deficient.”
In this month’s newsletter David goes on to highlight two challenges young people face when they are transitioning back from secure settings: (more…)
June 27, 2012 by Chris Sturgis
One of the key elements of personalization in education is providing flexibility for students who need more time.
Yet, only 12 states have embraced the extended-year graduation rates initiative that provides incentives for districts and schools to serve those students who need more time to graduate. I am wondering what impact this is going to have on districts wanting to apply for RTT—will (more…)
June 26, 2012 by Shelby Edwards
The Donnell-Kay Foundation (DKF), Colorado Department of Education (CDE), and the Colorado Legacy Foundation (CLF) recently hosted a three-part blended learning series. Each part highlighted one component of blended learning: best practices and barriers to implementation, professional development and collaboration, and national policy and next steps for Colorado.
The third session had direct discussions surrounding competency-based education with speakers Utah State Senator Howard Stephenson, and New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner Paul Leather both presenting the progress in their respective states. You can watch the archived webinars and access presentation materials at the Donnell-Kay Foundation’s website.
It may have been a series on blended learning, but it was clear that a competency-based education system is a goal for Colorado. Educators and (more…)
June 14, 2012 by Andrew Valent
Last week I attended a Center for American Progress event on competency-based education from the perspective of postsecondary education. I was interested to hear that the US Department of Education is paying close attention to developments in this burgeoning field. Eduardo Ochoa, the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, pointed out three models currently being pursued by higher education institutions:
- Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) using competency-based systems to structure courses and assessments within the traditional credit-based model by mapping competencies back to the credit hour. (more…)