Tag: higher education

What’s New in Competency Education (September 5)

September 5, 2014 by

K12Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 7.22.41 AM

  • Karla Phillips, the State Policy Director of Competency Based Learning for the Foundation for Excellence in Education looks at Colorado’s graduation policy in Rethinking School. (more…)

What’s New in Competency Education in K12 and Higher Education

August 26, 2014 by

K12 ResourcesScreen Shot 2014-06-23 at 5.46.08 PM and Events

In the News

  • The Des Moines Register’s article Five Trends to Look for This School Year includes student-led conferences and student setting the pace. Shawn Cornally from Iowa Big is quoted, “”Some students move much faster, and some students move much slower, but they learn it a lot better.”

Such Wonderful New Resources

August 13, 2014 by

There are so many great resources coming out this summer!I haven’t even had time to waScreen Shot 2014-06-13 at 10.54.23 AMtch and read everything….but wanted to make sure you all know about them.

Statewide Transformation: First, a big shout out to New Hampshire for sharing their learning. They’ve created a web page New Hampshire’s Story of Transformation complete with videos so you can hear from their leadership and innovators directly. It’s a great resource that explores how they think about student engagement, how they are providing support to educators, and the history of their process towards competency-based education. You can also hear from Paul Leather as he provides a synopsis of the state’s approach.

State and District Updates:

Rights-Sizing Higher Education

August 11, 2014 by
Jobs and freedom march on Washington

From Wikipedia

Disruption.

The word is tossed around these days, and I always have to think about why disruption is good for students, especially those that are underserved, rather than the companies that are grabbing a piece of the market through a new product or service.

In summarizing the new paper by Michelle R. Weise and Clayton Christensen, Hire Education: Mastery, Modularization, and the Workforce Revolution, Michael Horn writes in his blog Move over MOOCs, it’s online, competency time:

As they argue, online, competency-based schools represent the right learning model—focused on actual mastery of knowledge, skills, and dispositions—with the right technology of online learning, targeted at the right customers—non-consumers who are over-served by the value proposition that traditional colleges and universities offer and searching for a new value proposition from college aligned around workforce needs—paired with the right business model that is low cost, low-priced, and sustainable. (more…)

Add Hire Education to Your Summer Reading List

August 6, 2014 by
Michelle Weiss

Michelle Weise

Leaders in higher education and K12 should take the time to read Hire Education: Mastery, Modularization, and the Workforce Revolution by Michelle R. Weise and Clayton M. Christensen of the Christensen Institute. The paper explores how online, competency-based programs are disruptive to higher education. The paper is an easy way to get on top of the issue, including a great introduction to disruptive innovation, inefficiencies in the traditional system, and the basics of online, competency-based programs. Don’t skip the appendices – you’ll find a quick summary of public policy and descriptions of higher education innovators.

The authors argue that the combination of online learning and competency education – modularization and mastery – is where the real power for disruption lies by offering a new business model:

The vanguard of online competency-based learning providers is developing technology to ensure that time is truly the variable factor and learning is fixed: Assessments are built into the system to ensure students’ proficiency; students can take assessments as many times as necessary until they have mastered the competency; and instructors can rely on an analytics dashboard and cater to students’ needs like a personalized tutor when necessary. (more…)

What’s New in Competency Education? Sal Khan, Jeb Bush!

July 21, 2014 by

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 8.37.59 AMHere’s more news about competency education. Please notice we are starting to cover higher education a bit more as we know that many readers come to our website looking for information. Also, please know that if we include any information about products and services it is only to help you have a sense of what’s happening, not an endorsement of any kind.

Talking About Competency Education

  • As described in redefinED, Sal Khan spoke at the National Charter School Conference, highlighting what would would happen if we built a house in the same way we educate children.  He ended by saying, “There’s always been this tension when you have standards, when you have high-stakes exams and all that, where, gee, maybe the standards are good, but does it end up teaching to the test? Does it somehow end up taking creativity away from the classroom? The idea is that if teachers can feel good, if their students finish the mission and they’re getting reports on where all the students are, they don’t have to go into that mode, and it will hopefully liberate more class time to do more Socratic dialogue, to do more projects, to do more inquiry.”  (If you haven’t read The One World School House it’s a fun and easy read – just perfect for summertime reading lists)

Competency Education Included in Reports and Recommendations

  • Nellie Mae Education Foundation (the foundation that took the lead in establishing CompetencyWorks) has released a reference guide Putting Students at the Center that defines the four tenets of student-centered learning: personalized learning, anytime/anywhere learning, student-owned learning and competency-based learning. Competency education is described as: “Students move ahead based primarily on demonstrating key learning milestones along the pathto mastery of core competencies and bodies of knowledge (as defined in deeper learning). Tasks and learning units might be either individual or collective; and students have multiple means andopportunities to demonstrate mastery through performance-based and other assessments. Eachstudent is assured of the scaffolding and differentiated support needed to keep progressing at apace appropriate to reaching college and career and civic outcomes, even when unequal resourcesare required to achieve a more equitable result.
  • The Aspen Task Force on Learning and the Internet released a report Learner at the Center of a Networked World. Recommendation 1, Action Step B is Support pilots for new competency-based learning approaches that recognize knowledge, skills and competencies achieved in or outside of schools.”  In their post on the release of the report, Jeb Bush and Rosario Dawson write, “Students must have access to interoperable learning networks that allow them to earn credit for what they have learned regardless of where they learned it — whether from a museum, a library, an after-school program, a massive open online course (MOOC), or in the classroom. In these competency-based models of learning, what you know is more important than where you go. These credits should be recognized by schools and institutions of higher education as well.”
  • Southern Regional Education Board included Competency-based Learning in its 10 Critical Issues in Educational Technology. A word of caution — the way it is written it suggests that using technology will help you develop competency-based environments.  However, using technology doesn’t mean a school is competency-based.

Higher Education

  • Inside Higher Education reports that “The U.S. House education committee on Thursday advanced a package of legislation that would boost federal support of competency-based education, overhaul how cost information and other data is provided to prospective college students, and require more counseling for federal student loan borrowers.” H.R. 3136, Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act of 2014 “would reserve $1 million from funding for the Department of Education to authorize the Secretary to select up to 20 eligible entities to participate in demonstration projects related to competency-based education. Competency-based education focuses on measuring student achievement through an assessment of a student’s knowledge and skills rather than by the completion of clock or credit hours.”

(more…)

Does Competency Education Mean the Same Thing for K-12 and Higher Education?

June 19, 2014 by

houstonhighwayOver the past two months, I’ve had several invitations to discuss the intersection of higher education (HE) and K12 in competency education. It makes sense to see these two sectors of education as one huge movement. Both receive complaints from their customers of poor and inconsistent quality (i.e., students are ill prepared for advanced studies and entry into the workforce). Both sectors are turning to greater personalization, online and blended learning and competency education to help them improve their systems. It’s easy to leap to the conclusion, especially if you are a systems thinker who jumps for joy when alignment is in the air, that the pieces are all going to snap into place.

No matter what we all imagine, no matter how beautiful our maps of an aligned system are, there are two important things to remember. First, in a personalized world where students have agency, we have to let go of our mental model of a linear, conveyor belt model. We need to think about adaptive systems. If you need a picture to hold in your mind, think highways with lots of on and off ramps.

Second, there may be risks in talking about HE’s and K12’s transition to competency education as one and the same. Certainly both emphasize progress upon mastery. However, much of the drive for change in HE is to reduce tuition costs, whereas in K12 it is to personalize education so that all students get what they need to succeed. Thus, the K12 focus is on cost-effectiveness, not cost reduction. This may have large implications about what is emphasized and how models develop. Furthermore, our efforts will come to a grinding halt if we lead policymakers to assume that they can reduce budgets in K12 competency education systems. We can explore competency education in both sectors without advancing the idea that they are the same thing.

I’m now going to break a rule of blogging with a very long exploration of the intersection of competency education across K12 and HE. I start by exploring the similarities, differences and intersection of the two systems and close by looking at the implications of the different contexts in which competency education is developing in each sector.

(more…)

100%

June 5, 2014 by

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 8.52.23 PMOne hundred percent of the public institutions of higher education in five states have endorsed proficiency-based education. That’s right — 100%.

The New England Secondary School Consortium (NESSC) announced that all the public colleges and universities as well as three private colleges in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont have endorsed proficiency-based education. That’s 55 colleges and universities.

I recently talked with Cory Curl from ACHIEVE about their meeting last week with higher education representatives and competency education leaders. She reported that there was general agreement that proficiency-based transcripts should not be a problem as colleges are used to receiving and making sense of all kinds of transcripts.  She also said there were several higher education associations at the meeting that are considering raising competency education at their meetings to get further support and acceptance for proficiency-based transcripts.

The conversation with Cory touched on what it is going to take to get elite colleges to endorse proficiency-based education. She suggested that a specific ask, such as a statement on their admissions websites that clearly states that they accept proficiency-based transcripts, might be considered rather than trying to get endorsements. Elite colleges, being elite. tend to avoid engaging in and advancing specific education reforms or participating in state-level efforts.

So I think it is safe to say we are making steady progress at addressing a fear, some considered a barrier to be overcome, about competency education. We are continuing to get confirmation that competency-based transcripts are not going to impact college admissions. We just have to keep working to get more colleges and universities in other parts of the country to sign on, or at a minimum say they’ll accept proficiency-based transcripts. One of the very easy things all of us can do is start to lay the groundwork by sending a letter to the president and trustees of our alma mater encouraging them to clarify on their admissions web page that they accept competency-based transcripts. Hopefully other intermediary organizations will take on the leadership role that NESCC has shown in engage higher education in other states and regions.  I’m sure NESSC would be glad to share their process and road bumps. (And bravo to all of you that facilitated the conversations and coordinated the endorsements).

FYI: The press release from NESSC was full of great quotes that others might find handy in their work:

Tim Donovan, Chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges:  “The Vermont State Colleges signed the endorsement for a simple reason: it’s the right thing to do for our students and for our colleges. Today’s complex world demands more from the education of our young people—in K–12 schools and in colleges and universities. We have to work together to equip our students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in every area of life. At the Vermont State Colleges, we want the educators in our state—and throughout New England and the country—to know that we fully support their innovative efforts to better prepare our young people for the future. No hoops, no hurdles.” (more…)

New Networks: Competency Education in Higher Education

April 30, 2014 by

higher edCompetency education is a hot topic in higher education. (No worries about varied terminology in higher education. Leaders in higher education in every state call it competency education.) I’ve even seen some private universities using the phrase competency-based in their television advertisements.

Two initiatives are now working with colleges and universities to support the development of high quality competency-based programs – Competency-Based Education Network and Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)’s Jumpstart program. (See below for the list of colleges.)  Both networks are funded by the Lumina Foundation.

For those of us focused on advancing competency education in K-12 systems, it is important to stay on top of these efforts because if there is a competency-based district and a competency-based college program in your neighborhood, we could start to see amazing advancements.  Competency-based dual credit? Tuning or calibrating what college and career readiness mean so proficiency-based diplomas lead directly into college courses without falling into the remediation quagmire? Creating new opportunities for over-age and under-credited to take advantage of competency-based multiple pathways into college? Share competency-based badging systems to allow students to build those skills no one can agree on a name for (non-cognitive, soft skills, deeper learning, higher order, 21st century) as well as occupation-specific industry skills? (more…)

Colleges commit to accepting proficiency-based diploma

November 15, 2013 by

270px-Maine_in_United_States.svgThe Maine Department of Education posted the following update on how colleges are responding to a proficiency-based diploma.  The Great Schools Partnership with a cadre of high schools and colleges is also making substantial progress on designing a proficiency-based diploma. Stay tuned for more! 

A frequently asked question relating to Maine’s move to a proficiency-based diploma by 2018 is “Will colleges and universities accept proficiency-based transcripts?”

When initially considering the proficiency-based diploma bill, the Legislature’s Education Committee specifically heard testimony from representatives of higher education on this question and were satisfied enough that they voted unanimously to recommend passage.

Since then, many districts have also done their own research to satisfy themselves that colleges and universities will indeed accept such transcripts.

Additionally, the New England Secondary Schools Consortium (of which Maine is a partner) recently asked colleges and universities in member states to sign a pledge endorsing proficiency-based practices and assuring that no applicant is disadvantaged by coming from a school that uses standards-based reporting and transcripts. To date, 48 colleges and universities have signed the pledge, and that number continues to grow.

Recent Maine high school graduates are proof positive of that commitment from higher education. For example, the high schools of RSU 2 graduated their second class of seniors with a proficiency-based diploma last year and reports that they now have students attending many of Maine’s leading schools including the University of Maine, Bowdoin, Bates, UMaine at Farmington, Husson University and all of the community colleges. Additionally, their graduates are also attending colleges and universities throughout the country, including Hofstra University (NY), Boston College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Columbia College of Chicago, Keene State University (NJ), Rochester Institute of Technology, Eastern University (PA), Portland State University (OR), Arizona State University, University of Rochester, Emerson College (MA), Wheaton College (MA), Wentworth Institute of Technology (MA), Roanoke College (VA), Mt. Holyoke College (MA) and others.

For more information about Maine’s efforts to graduate every student prepared and the transition to a proficiency-based diploma, visit www.maine.gov/doe/proficiency.

 

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