This was originally published on the College & Career Readiness & Success blog.
On June 24th, the American Youth Policy Forum and the College and Career Readiness and Success Center at the American Institutes for Research co-hosted a webinar on “State Implications for Competency-based Education Systems.” Presenters included Kate Nielson, Policy Analyst, National Governors Association; Diane Smith, Director, Teaching and Learning Initiative, Oregon Business Education Compact; Sandra Dop, Consultant for 21st Century Skills, Iowa Department of Education; Carissa Miller, Deputy Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Following the webinar, we collected a series of lingering questions from participants on a range of topics. Their responses to the first of three important questions are below:
In a competency-based system, students have the ability to complete work at their own pace. How have states thought about how to support students who need more time to demonstrate competency? Alternatively, what do states do when students finish early? How can states think about adjusting resources and funding to allow for such a shift?
Jennifer Davis, Director, Innovation Lab Network, CCSSO (responding in place of Carissa Miller) – For students who need more time, most states and districts implementing CBE have outlined mechanisms for knowing when students are struggling and providing them with a variety of supports. Schools in Maine, for example, keep track of students’ pace against “teacher pace.” When students fall behind teacher pace, additional resources and supports are given. In Lindsay Unified School District in CA, falling behind pace triggers the co-creation of an individualized learning plan (ILP) outlining the steps and supports the child will pursue to accelerate. Other states, like Kentucky, mandate an ILP for all students, which helps students, parents, and teachers monitor the child’s progress. Most states and districts implementing CBE are developing rich banks of digital resources for students to access on-demand. This, coupled with human guidance through mentors or advisors, provides students with multiple and/or targeted methods for reaching mastery. (more…)