Category: How To

FLVS Online Curriculum Design: Best Practices for Creating Competency-Based Learning Experiences

June 6, 2012 by

The FLVS Model

In April 1994, the National Education Commission on Time and Learning published a report providing eight recommendations for improving the state of learning across the nation.

  • Reinvent schools around learning, not time.
  • Fix the design flaw; use time in new and better ways.
  • Establish an academic day.
  • Keep schools open longer to meet the needs of children and communities.
  • Give teachers the time they need.
  • Invest in technology.
  • Develop local action plans to transform schools.
  • Share the responsibility: finger pointing and evasion must end. (more…)

Competency-Based Education: Learn From My Follies

May 21, 2012 by

I had a conference with a parent this morning. I love meeting parents and talking with students, and I try to avoid the typical rhetoric that goes along with these interactions in favor of rawness.

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Measure What Matters

May 18, 2012 by

Teachers need to make sure that they are measuring the right elements of student work. Teacher training places a lot of emphasis on curriculum, but not a lot on assessment. The result is that we teachers become comfortable, invested even, in the materials that we design for instruction. We share lesson plans and ideas, but there is little discussion about what we are measuring.

Those of us who routinely create rubrics for our students’ lessons are moving in the right direction, but we need to make sure that we are actually measuring competencies. Too often, our rubrics are nothing more than quantitative lists that don’t really articulate the complex thinking skills that students are being asked to learn. (more…)

Art and Science of Designing Competencies

May 17, 2012 by

Greetings everyone!  We just wanted to let you know about our first working paper — the working title is the Art and Science of Designing Competencies.  Our goal is to quickly capture knowledge through a short briefing paper, wiki resources, blog posts and a webinar.  We do not want to duplicate efforts  so if you now about resources that already tackle this issue, please let us know immediately! If you have resources that you think can be useful, please send them our way so that others can draw on them as well.

We have a great group of people willing to share their knowledge — Kim Carter, QED Foundation; Rose Colby from New Hampshire; Gloria Pineda, Diploma Plus; Steve Kossakoski, Virtual Learning Academy Charter School; Kari Webb from Iowa. Thank you to all of them and others who will be reviewing our work to make sure it will be helpful to schools and districts tackling competency education for the first time. (more…)

Autonomy, Apples, and Oranges

May 14, 2012 by

What have you learned about how to work with districts in introducing competency-based schools–and what district leaders can do?

I have been working since 1985 on competency-based education (CBE) models to better serve over-aged and under-credited  students, first as the Education Director of Jobs for Youth High and later as the founder of Diploma Plus and more recently Schools for the Future.

The following lessons learned for how to establish strong working relationships with districts are generalized for CBE.  (Click here for a checklist) However, anyone working with marginalized students, especially those that are over-age and undercredited, will need to negotiate upfront the expectations of the population you want to serve and how students will gain admission to the school (first come; lottery, application; placement). (more…)

Is a Standard a Competency? (Part 2)

May 13, 2012 by

Read Part 1 or take a look at New Hampshire’s ELA and Math Competencies

Following up on the first post on this topic, I go deeper in looking at the relationship between standards and competencies. I facilitated work for the NH DoE whereby groups of  Math and ELA teachers wrote competencies to the Common Core, so I will use it as an example:

Competency:  Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze structure in expressions.  (note that the ‘verb’ is at Level 3 in the DOK.)

The performance indicators that would be used as formative or summative tasks in the demonstration of mastery of this competency are the CC standards.  So, as students move through these ‘I can” performance indicators, it should build understanding for the bigger concept of structure in expression. (more…)

Is a Standard a Competency? (Part 1)

May 9, 2012 by

Read Part 2.

Here are links to NH math competencies and ELA competencies

The answer simply is ‘no’.  Standards represent the ‘what’ of school—what we need to know, and what we need to be able to do.  These standards may be identified as essential or important and may be mapped using local, state, or national frameworks.

When New Hampshire mandated that a high school student could only gain credit for a course when mastery of the course competency was demonstrated, teachers had to write course competencies. It forced the question: What is a competency? (more…)

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