Tag: competency education, competency-based learning

Supporting Student Agency Through Student Led Conferences

August 26, 2016 by

Thrive-Public-SchoolsThis post originally appeared at Getting Smart on July 24, 2016. 

In a world where young people are creators and consumers of media, where they have to navigate thousands of images and advertisements and hidden agendas on a daily basis, we are obligated to equip them to understand and direct their own experiences.

Student agency can become a schoolwide norm through Student Led Conferences. With a little bit of systems thinking and strategic instruction around this practice, Thrive Public Schools has put students in the driver seat.

At Thrive, a blended learning school in central San Diego, parent conferences have been replaced by Student Led Conferences (SLC). At the conclusion of each grading period, students from grades TK through high school led collaborative meetings in which they review their individualized goals around literacy, numeracy and social emotional growth, examine work as indicators of progress toward goal and set next steps.

We know that good facilitation (even for adults) takes preparation and practice. Here’s how students at Thrive prepare for leading conferences on their own work: (more…)

What’s New in K-12 Competency-Based Education?

August 24, 2016 by

What's NewiNACOL and CompetencyWorks are hosting a Special Edition Webinar to reflect on the field of K-12 competency education and explore emerging issues. This webinar is free to attend—register here to receive login instructions. Competency-based education experts Susan Patrick and Chris Sturgis will lead the discussion on important developments and trends across competency education. Join the webinar to help identify the field’s emerging issues and provide insights to inform the future direction of competency-based education.

News

  • Featured in Wired, New Hampshire’s Virtual Learning Academy Charter School is radically changing how students learn through relationships, competencies, performance pay, and connection to the community.
  • The government in Rwanda launched competency-based curriculum to promote a learner-centered approach to teaching. Teachers, parents and students reflect on this change in this article.
  • In the spring of 2016, members from the Khan Academy spent a day in Lindsay Unified School District capturing their performance-based system in action. This video features students and learning facilitators on the positive impacts of performance-based learning.

Movement in Districts

  • Colorado’s District 51 hosted a two-day summit with 400 teachers and staff to learn more about performance-based learning. Fifth grade teacher Aubrey Hoffman said, “Now we’re seeing a foundational shift and that’s really exciting. Kids have taken so much control of their learning.”
  • Idaho’s Wilder School District, a rural school district with 470 students, is beginning the transition toward competency education, and is the first district in Canyon County to adopt this new system.

(more…)

9 Ways States Can Support Personalized, Competency-Based Education Systems

August 22, 2016 by

This post originally appeared at iNACOL on August 11, 2016. 

Creating an education system that prepares every student to succeed requires systemic transformation to high-quality, personalized, competency-based education.

Today, the prevailing traditional, one-size-fits-all K-12 education model, is not meeting the unique needs of learners. Too many students are falling through the cracks, not graduating or  graduating unprepared for success after high school.

School districts across the country are making incremental shifts to student-centered learning without state supports and policy flexibility. However, transformation at scale will require alignment of both policy and practice.

Before the recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), state leaders had the authority to make room for districts to shift to a competency-based approach in significant ways. However, by removing federal policy barriers to aligning accountability, assessment, and teacher and leader development to student-centered learning, ESSA makes it possible for states to pursue a more comprehensive policy approach to supporting personalization at scale.

The graphic below shows the many different entry points for policymakers wishing to catalyze the shift to a personalized K-12 system.

iNACOL

States that do not yet have any enabling policies can get started by studying policy barriers and creating room for local innovation, while states that have already made progress may want to consider more comprehensive steps towards transformation.

(more…)

Student Voices: Moving Beyond “When I Grow Up…”

August 18, 2016 by

Student VoicesThis post originally appeared at Getting Smart on July 25, 2016.

A major task for high schools today is to guide students toward postsecondary opportunities. In the best schools, a strong college and career office develops relationships with students and families, presenting them with possible postsecondary pathways and helping them secure opportunities that are a good fit.

But when should a school start this work? At Springpoint, we believe that strong school design includes a plan for college and career support even before freshmen step into the building. And students should be exposed to this in their very first year.

Equipping students to forge their own path is crucial given today’s rapidly shifting economy—according to one study, 40% of America’s workforce will be self-employed by 2020. So young people will increasingly need to independently seek out and take advantage of opportunities. We must enable them to connect their interests to possible career paths, and to develop relationships with leaders in their chosen field.

We spoke with a small group of enterprising, resourceful high school students about how they are leveraging in-school supports to forge a path toward their college and career goals. All of these students are enrolled in new, innovative high schools designed as part of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Opportunity by Design initiative. The initiative focuses on creating small, competency-based and student-centered school models. In addition to sharing their own stories, these students also had some advice for their peers.

At The Urban Assembly Maker Academy, Amanda, a rising junior, began to consider a career in communications after realizing she enjoys public speaking and mentoring others. Amanda told us, “I’m an extrovert,” and in response, her teachers and principal gave her opportunities to present at national conferences and act as an ambassador for the school. Last fall, Amanda presented on a panel about new school start-up at iNACOL’s annual symposium, and she has spoken about her school with leaders of Parsons School of Design. Amanda’s teachers have helped her collect these outreach experiences into a portfolio she can take to colleges. (more…)

San Antonio Here We Come: Competency Ed at the iNACOL Symposium

August 17, 2016 by

El PasoI’ve just been looking at the schedule for the competency education strand at the iNACOL Symposium on October 25-28. It is definitely the best set of sessions yet, with a much stronger focus on equity than ever before. For anyone new to competency education trying to understand or to think about how to move forward, I definitely recommend starting with the full-day workshop with the Charleston County School District team. (Check out the series on CCSD.) If you stay around to the very end, Susan Patrick and I are facilitating a “meet the expert” discussion. And we’ll be posting information about where to find us for the CompetencyWorks meet-up at the President’s Reception the evening of October 25.

Here is an overview of the strand:

Equity and Competency-Based Education

Proficiency as a Pathway to Equity

Tony Lamair Burks II and Angela Hardy, Great Schools Partnership will focus on the rationale for, the critical elements of, and the policies that support a proficiency-based learning system as a means to achieve equity for all students.

How Competency-Based Education Drives Equity and Cultural Responsiveness

Joy Nolan, Jeremy Kraushar, and Julianna Charles Brown, Mastery Collaborative: an initiative of Model Redesign team, NYC DOE Office of Postsecondary Readiness will discuss the major shifts that happen when schools become competency-based and how this increased cultural responsiveness.

Redefining Equity in Competency-Based Systems of Learning

David Cook, Kentucky Department of Innovation and Dr. Carmen Coleman, Center for Innovation in Education will begin to develop a new definition of equity that makes sense in a personalized, competency-based environment.

Culture, Practices, Rituals and Routines

Competency-Based Education and Self-Directed Learning Practices in the Classroom

(more…)

Rethinking the Achievement Gap (Part 3)

August 15, 2016 by
Matt Riggan

Matt Riggan

This post originally appeared at Next Generation Learning Challenges on April 6, 2016 and the Workshop School on April 1, 2016. Read Part 1 and Part 2

We focus intently on the achievement gap because we see closing it as the best way to combat poverty and inequality. As I argued here and here, this gets us into trouble when we define achievement too narrowly. But it actually oversimplifies poverty and inequality even more than it oversimplifies learning.

Two articles currently posted at the Atlantic make this point in depressingly persuasive fashion. The first reminds us that inequality is about much, much more than income or even wealth, while the second documents that while Clinton-era welfare reform was hugely successful in reducing the number of people receiving public assistance, that’s not actually the same thing as helping them re-enter the workforce or otherwise get back on their feet. Welfare reform deepened extreme poverty, and (more usefully for its authors) it also made it less visible. (more…)

Recommended Summer Reading 2016

August 12, 2016 by

Summer ReadingIn case you haven’t signed up for our monthly newsletter, here is our recommended summer reading.

Many teachers and leaders use the summer months to catch up on reading and advance their own professional learning. Start with Competency Education Across America, where you will find links to mini case studies to make it easy for you to learn what other schools and districts are learning.

If you haven’t yet read the following reports, we highly recommend these thought leadership pieces to deepen your knowledge around competency education:

If you prefer to delve into books, we offer the following recommendations:

What resources have you read that helped strengthen your understanding of competency education? Let us know via email or on Twitter: @CompetencyWorks.

Talking Equity with John Duval

August 11, 2016 by
john_duval

John Duval

This is the ninth post of my Mastering Mastery-Based Learning in NYC tour. Start with the first post on NYC Big Takeaways and then read about NYC’s Mastery CollaborativeThe Young Woman’s Leadership School of Astoria, Flushing International, KAPPA International, North Queens Community High School, EPIC North, and New Classrooms

“Mastery-based learning can reopen a conversation about equity.”

With just these few words, John Duval launched us into a dynamic conversation. Duval leads the Model Redesign Team in the Office of Postsecondary Readiness, which houses a number of initiatives related to high school innovation around areas of whole school design, competency-based education (including the Mastery Collaborative), culturally relevant pedagogy, and effective uses of school time. Previously, Duval led the launch of the New York City Department of Education’s Expanding Success Initiative (ESI). This initiative, dedicated to improving education for African-American and Latino young men, launched the EPIC model, which will have four schools in both district and charter variations this coming September. Here are a few highlights of the conversation:

The Intersection of Culturally Responsive Education and Competency-Based Education

ESI designed the EPIC model with four core concepts, including competency-based education (CBE) and culturally responsive education (CRE), or the belief that “achievement is anchored not just in building from one’s existing strengths but in full engagement of one’s self and lived experience.” (See the EPIC Playbook for more information.) Duval explained how the intersection of these two concepts transforms the classroom and school dynamics. “Let’s start with the idea that mastery-based learning is a better way to do school,” he said. “When you focus on competencies, you are focusing on the ability to transfer skills and you are focusing on the important higher orders skills. In CBE, this is real shift for the teaching force in two ways. First, from a design perspective, it requires creating more complex learning arcs for young people. This is very difficult, especially if you’ve never been trained this way. Second, it creates more transparency and accountability for everyone involved. Once a student – especially an African American or Latino one – knows what skills he or she is supposed to develop, he or she can pinpoint what a teacher is or is not doing to help them.”

He continued, “Just knowing that grading is more objective based on progress toward standards rather than the highly variable, subjective conventional grading can bring a huge change in the student experience. Then when the practices are in place for students to have more agency and responsibility for their education, there can be a tremendous cultural shift in the school. There is more respect for students. And there is the expectation that when there is tension or conflict between a student and teacher, listening to each other and understanding each other’s perspective is the avenue for resolving it, not taking the student out of the classroom or the school. The practice of exclusion inhibits learning on the part of students and adults.” (more…)

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