Category: Resource

What’s New: What’s Happening in State Policy

April 18, 2018 by

This article reviews some of the new state policy resources and highlights the types of discussion and initiatives taking place in the individual states. Nevada is joining the group of states that are supporting innovative districts, and Mississippi is supporting an innovation network. The most important thing to pay attention to is the discussion and debate in Maine as they decide whether they are going to continue to believe that their students and educators can learn to high standards and will keep learning how to support students in doing so…or if they modify expectations. Fingers crossed that the discussion moves from what’s wrong to what we need to make sure all of our students learn!

State Policy Resources

Across the country, state policymakers have been engaged in thinking through how they can strengthen their policies and infrastructures to better support personalized, competency-based education. Take some time to check out the resources at KnowledgeWorks‘ Every Student Succeeds Act: Mapping Emerging Trends for Personalized Learning in State ESSA Plans to get a sense of how policy directions are shifting.

Other resources that you might finding interesting and/or helpful are:

What’s Happening in the States



What’s New: Assessment

April 13, 2018 by

There has been so much on assessment lately that I thought it best to dedicate a What’s New just to this one topic.

The most important (if you haven’t seen it yet) is 10 Principles for Building a High-Quality System Of Assessments (Jobs for the Future). This report offers important guidance on how states, districts, and our nation can bridge from the current status of assessments to high-quality systems that advance college and career readiness, equity, and student-centered learning.

The Assessment for Learning Project has a potpourri of different projects on assessment. They’ve produced a paper A Movement Towards Personalized Professional Learning on microcredentialing. Two other projects are highlighted in the resources below: (more…)

Designing for Equity: Leveraging Competency-Based Education to Ensure All Students Succeed

April 5, 2018 by

Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

Today, iNACOL and CompetencyWorks released Designing for Equity: Leveraging Competency-Based Education to Ensure All Students Succeed. With the help of Katherine Casey, we revised the earlier paper on equity developed for the 2017 National Summit on K-12 Competency-Based Education. Our thinking developed substantially based on the conversations at the Summit, and this paper will hopefully be of use to educators making the transition to competency education. Here are a couple of things I want to highlight: (more…)

What’s New: Resources

April 3, 2018 by

A number of valuable resources have been released recently. You might not have time to read them all, but it may be a good idea to quickly look at them so that you are familiar with them – as they may be helpful to you at some time in the future:

Every Student Succeeds Act: Mapping Emerging Trends for Personalized Learning in State ESSA Plans from KnowledgeWorks includes a dashboard infographic; an analysis of key trends and values that states leveraged to advance personalized learning across five topic areas in state plans (Vision, Accountability Systems, School Support and Improvement, Supporting Excellent Educators, and Supporting all Students); and a state-by-state data set. (more…)

March 2018 CompetencyWorks Catch-Up

April 1, 2018 by

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



McComb, Mississippi


Learner-Centered Tip of the Week: Three Ways to Bring More Learner Voice into Learning Opportunities

March 30, 2018 by

This post originally appeared at the Learner Centered Practices Blog on March 19, 2018. Belolan is the instructional coach for RSU2 in Maine.

Including learner voice and choice is a central principle in learner-centered proficiency-based practices, and here in RSU2. For the most part, learners have ample opportunities for choice in our classrooms and schools. Learners are choosing seminars. Learners are choosing topics. Learners are choosing final products. Learners are choosing input resources, and even practice activities in some cases. Including learner voice, on the other hand, is more complicated and happens in an authentic way less often. (more…)

A Different Sort of Future for Education

March 23, 2018 by

This is the fourth and final article on Sal Khan’s The One World Schoolhouse. In the first three articles (read parts one, two, and three), I highlighted the chapters on what is mastery-based learning, how we learn, filling the gaps, and the limitations of the traditional model.

Khan raises six themes in the final section of his book The One World Schoolhouse, all of which are worthy of consideration as we continue to advance competency-based education. (more…)

The Broken Model

March 22, 2018 by

This is the third article on Sal Khan’s The One World Schoolhouse. In the first two articles (read parts one and two), I highlighted the chapters on what is mastery-based learning, how we learn, and filling the gaps.

The second part of Sal Khan’s The One World Schoolhouse is called The Broken Model and contains a thoughtful analysis of why the traditional system is problematic. Before I dive in, I do want to bring to your attention that research by Karla Phillips and the team at the Foundation for Excellence in Education suggest that parents are not interested in the history of the education system, why it is a problem, or even want to think of it as broken. (See the upcoming webinar on April 3, 1 pm ET.) My assumption is that parents, who want the very best for their children, can’t bear the thought that they have put their children in schools that may be broken. The research is that it is much, much, much better to talk about improvement and doing better. That said, I found this section fascinating. I also think understanding the limitations of the traditional system helps educators understand “why” we need to change and the paradigm shift that is demanded. Understanding that the traditional system is flawed makes it clear that the status quo is unacceptable. (more…)

Filling in the Gaps

March 21, 2018 by

This is the second article on Sal Khan’s The One World Schoolhouse. In the first piece, I highlighted the chapters on what is mastery-based learning and highlights of cognitive learning.

Sal Khan speaks of repairing the gaps. Not only does he believe they can be repaired, but that it is essential to do so. Khan also begins to raise important questions about where the responsibility lies for filling the gaps. However, here I think he could have gone much farther. One of the biggest issues that continues to challenge us in competency-based education is related to filling in the gaps. (more…)

The One World Schoolhouse by Salman Khan

March 20, 2018 by

I’m always asked which books or resources folks should use to learn about competency-based education. The good news is that there are now a lot of books that can be helpful. However, the challenge is that different books are helpful in different ways and districts/schools are in different places with different needs. So what I’m going to do is pick one to two books a month and highlight what I think is helpful in it, what might be missing that you’ll need to get elsewhere, and share my personal “talking with the text” about how it pushes my thinking. However, I’m sure each of us would engage with the ideas in different ways. Too bad we can’t have a virtual book group. Or can we? — chris

Sal Khan’s The One World Schoolhouse is a joy to read, simply full of engaging stories and language. It won’t tax you if you are tired from a hard week. In fact, the chapters are short and can be picked up here and there when you get a chance.

Khan speaks from his own experience about how he became interested in education. He explains what is problematic with the traditional education system as well as what it means to focus on mastery learning. I love the windows into history that explain how we got where we are. The last section in which he lays out his vision for the Khan Academy is fascinating. (more…)

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