Category: Understanding Competency Education

Competency-Based Education Quality Principle #12: Maximize Transparency

December 9, 2018 by

This is the thirteenth article in a series based on the book Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education. You can find the section on Principle #12 Maximize Transparency on page 81. The links to the other articles can be found at the bottom of this page and will be updated as they are posted.

Transparency is by far one of the most powerful principles that drives personalized, competency-based education. (more…)

Competency-Based Education Quality Principle #11: Establish Mechanisms to Ensure Consistency and Reliability

December 5, 2018 by

This is the twelfth article in a series based on the book Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education. You can find the section on Principle #11 Establish Mechanisms to Ensure Consistency and Reliability on page 77. The links to the other articles can be found at the bottom of this page and will be updated as they are posted.

In the midst of writing all the papers for the Summit, a colleague said to me, “Pick consistency or reliability but not both.” I thought about it for a bit, but after looking up the definitions, I ended up feeling that both were actually important. (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…)

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…)

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…)

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

November 26, 2018 by

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…)

Competency-Based Education Quality Principle #6: Base School Design and Pedagogy on Learning Sciences

November 21, 2018 by

This is the seventh article in a series based on the book Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education. You can find the section on Principle #6 Base School Design and Pedagogy on Learning Sciences on page 54. The links to the other articles can be found at the bottom of this page and will be updated as they are posted.

 

If I had a magic wand and could go back eight years, I would make clarifying the pedagogical principles the first step in moving toward personalized, competency-based education. At the time, districts and schools were primarily using engaging the community around a shared vision and purpose as the first step. And it is indeed a powerful and important step. However, when teachers are trying to implement a personalized approach while still believing in fixed intelligence, considering students as empty vessels to be filled with knowledge, and depending solely on ‘carrots and sticks’ to motivate, it’s too easy to come to the conclusion that the approach isn’t effective.

We can’t underestimate the power of the beliefs we bring to our work. They are invisible but shape every thing we do. They are difficult to pin down because they don’t operate in isolation – they are dynamic within our full set of beliefs. And when it comes to bias, we may be ashamed that we carry stereotypes that shape our beliefs about other people and seek to hide them rather them bring them to the surface.

“One of the biggest changes is from assuming that the stand and deliver approach to learning in which teachers deliver curriculum and students are expected to just give it back on tests actually works. We are inching along in our understanding that scholars have to be active learners and that we need to build on what they already know. We can’t assume what they know – we need to discover it. Without the data, we are at risk of just making up stuff and spinning our wheels. If you are making me learn letters when I already know them, you are not helping me reach my potential.” – Cynthia Lamkin, Lead Learner, Otken Elementary School, McComb School District, MS, 2018

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What to Do When the Field Goes “Mustard”

November 15, 2018 by

This is the seventh in a series on problems of practice. (Check out the articles on gradingattendancepace, individualized learning, granularity, and late work.) We are interested in hearing from readers about other problems of practice they’ve seen or are struggling with in implementation.

What do we call the stage of field development when the so-called “experts” and expert organizations are providing inadequate, weak, or even bad advice? Several Google searches didn’t come up with an answer, so I’m going to call it the “mustard” stage… As in, we aren’t performing at the level needed to fully support districts and schools – in other words, we “aren’t cutting the mustard.” (more…)

Competency-Based Education Quality Principle #5: Cultivate Empowering and Distributed Leadership

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This is the sixth article in a series based on the book Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education. You can find the section on Principle #5 Cultivate Empowering and Distributed Leadership on page 48. The links to the other articles can be found at the bottom of this page and will be updated as they are posted. For more on equity, see Designing for Equity: Leveraging Competency-Based Education to Ensure All Students Succeed.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to implement or sustain a personalized, competency-based system through top-down bureaucratic approaches. You can’t simply write a memo to tell schools and educators how to change their practices. You can’t tell people to change their beliefs and assumptions. The change process requires engagement. Engagement requires trusting relationships and time for dialogue and learning. Trust is developed and demonstrated by listening to, investing in, and respecting the ability of others to make strong decisions. Thus, districts and schools making headway in creating competency-based systems will usually refer to the importance of empowerment and distributed leadership that give schools and educators more autonomy. But autonomy doesn’t mean the individual makes all decisions. Rather, it refers to decisions being made closer to and involving the people who are being impacted. (more…)

Competency-Based Education Quality Principle #4: Foster the Development of a Growth Mindset

November 7, 2018 by

This is the fifth article in a series based on the book Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education. You can find the section on Principle #4 Foster the Development of a Growth Mindset on page 45. The links to the other articles can be found at the bottom of this page and will be updated as they are posted. For more on equity, see Designing for Equity: Leveraging Competency-Based Education to Ensure All Students Succeed.

Think about it: The traditional system of education is built upon the belief that intelligence is fixed: there are smart people and not-as-smart people, there are winners and losers, and there is little anyone can do to change someone’s innate ability or potential.

I don’t believe there is any reason to discuss the psychological insights offered in Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success or resources on how to help yourself and students in your classroom develop a growth mindset, as this is a set of research that is becoming embedded in schools across the nation (and possibly globally!). However, if for any reason the adults in your school have not become familiar with and knowledgeable about how to develop the growth mindset in themselves and others, stop reading this article and spend your time on Mindset. This is a non-negotiable step in creating a system of education designed for success for all. (more…)

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