I had found much success in the traditional learning model and had become weary of the stream of efforts to change my approach. When I came on board at Red Bank Elementary, I immediately recognized that students at RBE were different. They were learners who wanted to take the reins. They were excited and motivated. It was nothing I had ever seen before. Yes, I had been “successful” in producing average/above average test scores, but was that really my agenda? I began to think of all of the students I had previously taught who had gaps in their learning. I questioned whether or not I’d made a real attempt to close those gaps. I thought of the “high flyers” who always wanted more and wondered if I’d taken them as far as I could have in their learning. While I had always been intentional about teaching to all students and accommodating different learning styles, I couldn’t say that I taught specifically to each child’s needs and met them where they were in the learning progression. After researching competency-based education and hearing unbelievable stories about student success, I made the decision to be “all in.” I never knew how competency-based education would completely change the way I think about teaching and learning. –Lauren Vann
Competency-based education is best practice teaching. It is dependent on the teacher’s ability to intentionally meet the needs of the individual student. Recognizing competency-based learning as what is best for students is a paradigm shift for most educators. While it can be challenging and overwhelming to think logistically about how to be effective in meeting each child’s learning modalities, pace, and needs, it is truly the most efficient way to ensure that every child is getting the most out of their time in the classroom.
Similarities and Differences within a Competency-Based Learning Model vs. Traditional Learning Model
Like the traditional learning model, competency-based focuses on standards. The difference comes in that the traditional model teaches all standards at one pace regardless of student outcomes. Groups of standards are assessed on a single test. Students are given a blanket average for those standards that fall under the given topic heading (e.g., numbers and operations). (more…)