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Author: Chris Sturgis

Pt. England Primary: Gifting Language

December 4, 2018 by

This is the seventh article in the series Baskets of Knowledge from Aotearoa New Zealand, which highlights insights from a totally different education system about what is possible in transforming our education system. Read the first article here.

What a gift it was to enjoy a morning with Russell Burt at Pt. England Primary in Auckland. Burt and his wife Dorothy have spent their adult lives seeking ways to improve the lives of students and families who are most marginalized from mainstream society. They embrace the cultures of the families they serve. They dig deep into the research on the science of learning, instruction, and assessment to figure out how to pull the pieces together to optimize learning. They are on a continual search for a way to organize classrooms, schools, and communities that will help every student thrive and discover their fullest potential. (more…)

Competency-Based Education Quality Principle #10: Seek Intentionality and Alignment

December 3, 2018 by

This is the eleventh article in a series based on the book Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education. You can find the section on Principle #10 Seek Intentionality and Alignment on page 71. The links to the other articles can be found at the bottom of this page and will be updated as they are posted.

We spent a lot of time trying to figure out the order of the structural quality principles in the book Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education. Of course the quality principles are not applied in sequential order. It is the accumulation of all of them that will lead to the final capacity of advancing students upon demonstrated mastery. (more…)

November 2018 CompetencyWorks Catch-Up

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Here are the highlights from November 2018 on CompetencyWorks. Happy reading. And let us know if you have questions you want us to delve into!

CASE STUDIES AND SITE VISITS

Aotearoa New Zealand

Mill River Unified Union School District

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Competency-Based Education Quality Principle #9: Ensure Responsiveness

November 30, 2018 by

This is the tenth article in a series based on the book Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education. You can find the section on Principle #9 Ensure Responsiveness on page 66. The links to the other articles can be found at the bottom of this page and will be updated as they are posted.

We don’t blink if you are at the second-grade level when you are in the fourth grade. If teachers really understand the standards and the progressions that are needed to help students move, then we can bridge the gaps. We don’t pretend anymore that students can do higher level work if they don’t have the prerequisites. It makes teaching much more complex as we are teaching students, not just going through a curriculum. Jennifer Denny, Teacher, Red Bank Elementary School, Lexington School District, SC, 2016. (more…)

What’s New in Competency Education

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Today’s What’s New is dedicated to the resources that have been released relating to several capacities that are important to implementing personalized, competency-based education.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Beloved Community has released DEISI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Standards and Indicators. DEISI is a comprehensive benchmarking tool that assesses diversity, equity, and inclusion in every function of an organization. DEISI provides over 150 customized indicators to assess governance, operations, program/pedagogy, adult culture and, where applicable, student culture. Equity in Schools indicators are linked to specific stakeholder groups: students, parents/family, community partners, vendors/subcontractors, faculty/staff, leadership, and Board. Equity at Work indicators are specific to their stakeholder groups: target participants/clients, community partners, B2B vendors, employees, management, and trustees. Depending on the school or business structure, DEISI also includes indicators that assess DEI in scholarships, grants, employee assistance benefits, and corporate giving. (more…)

Competency-Based Education Quality Principle #8: Design for the Development of Rigorous Higher-Level Skills

November 29, 2018 by

This is the ninth article in a series based on the book Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education. You can find the section on Principle #8 Design for the Development of Rigorous Higher-Level Skills on page 63. The links to the other articles can be found at the bottom of this page and will be updated as they are posted.

There are many different reasons to turn to competency-based education: creating a more equitable system; creating a more personalized system that allows students to soar; creating a continuously improving system; and creating a system to support the development of higher-level skills. In fact, competency-based education can be designed to do all four of these with high quality implementation. (more…)

Still Learning from Delivering on the Promise

November 28, 2018 by

This is the sixth book in the series Conversations with Authors About Competency-Based Education.

It continues to be a pleasure to read the story of Chugach School District’s journey of transformation described in Delivering on the Promise: The Education Revolution (DeLorenzo, Battino, Schreiber, and Carrio, 2009). Even though the term competency-based education is not mentioned once in the book, it continues to be one of the best books to date to explain the basics of competency-based education.

Much of the Reinventing Schools Coalition’s approach (purchased by Marzano Research Lab several years ago) still holds true, although we now know so much more.

  • We know much more about the importance of an empowering, inclusive culture in making the new structures of competency education sing rather than dribbling away into a series of checking the boxes.

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Pt. England Primary: Understanding Where Students Are

November 27, 2018 by

This is the sixth article in the series Baskets of Knowledge from Aotearoa New Zealand, which highlights insights from a totally different education system about what is possible in transforming our education system. Read the first article here.

In addition to the Learn, Create, Share process developed by the teachers at Pt. England Primary described in the previous articles, another important aspect of the pedagogical approach is to ensure that students are operating at their curricular level. Burt explained, “It gives you the horrors when a teacher isn’t leveling the kids right. There are instant behavior problems when kids are working on the wrong level.” Burt asks that when teachers send students with behavior problems to see him, that they also send the Chromebook with examples of their reading and math so he can review physical artifacts about their learning. He checks to make sure students are engaged at the right level. “It can be as boring as toast with no spread on it if a kid is being asked to do something he already knows how to do or has no idea how to do.” (more…)

A Conversation with Bob Lenz About Project-Based Learning and CBE

November 26, 2018 by

Although I’ve known of the outstanding work of the Buck Institute for Education for over 25 years, I’ve never had a chance to meet the leadership team. Thus, I was delighted to grab an hour with Executive Director Bob Lenz at iNACOL18.

The world of project-based learning (PBL) shares a common challenge with competency-based education (CBE): quality. PBL has been growing its field in a sustained way for decades, with the efforts of the Hewlett deeper learning initiatives bringing an increase of attention. CBE, with roots that stretch back into the 1960s, only started to operate as a field in 2011. In the CBE world, the quality issues are looming so large that it could cause our momentum to buckle.

One of the challenges the field of PBL faces is to get greater clarity on what high quality PBL means in a world where anything that that actively engages students can be called a project or PBL. This has direct implications for schools that are becoming competency-based, as we need to make sure all students have opportunities for deeper learning. A hands-on activity just isn’t the same as deeper learning. Thus, PBL’s quality challenge is our quality challenge.

Below are some of my takeaways from my conversation with Lenz about PBL and its intersection with CBE. (more…)

Competency-Based Education Quality Principle #7: Activate Student Agency and Ownership

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This is the eighth article in a series based on the book Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education. You can find the section on Principle #7 Activate Student Agency and Ownership on page 59. The links to the other articles can be found at the bottom of this page and will be updated as they are posted.

What is student agency?

The standard reply in our field these days is “voice and choice.” Certainly, “voice and choice” is a pithy memorable phrase. It also has value in that creating opportunity for students to have voice and choice in their daily lives is a relatively easy practice to introduce in the classroom. (more…)

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