Tag: equity

Understanding and Meeting Learners Where They Are using the UDL Lens

April 17, 2018 by

This is the third in a three part series by Kathleen McClaskey, co-author of Make Learning Personal and How to Personalize LearningRead the first and second posts.

In the CompetencyWorks paper based on the 2017 National Summit on K-12 Competency-Based Education, Designing for Equity, one of the four key issues in advancing competency-based education is “meeting students where they are.” It describes that a high quality competency-based system connects learning in relationships and requires educators to understand their learners as individuals and then select strategies based upon that knowledge. Before we look at how to meet learners where they are, let’s review what has presented in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. (more…)

Hiring for Cultural Responsiveness – A Necessary Consideration

April 11, 2018 by

It is April. This month brings with it various seasons for various people. For some, April brings the start of Spring. For others, it brings tax season. For sports enthusiasts, it brings the prospect of another baseball season. But for principals like me, it brings hiring seasoning. This is the time of year where we make decisions about continuing current staff contracts, are informed about retirements and resignations, and begin to hire staff for the next school year. Hiring season brings with it the complex dance of screening applications, interviewing, hiring, and determining how to best support these new hires. For principals, hiring season should also bring a time on introspection centered on cultural responsiveness – before the aforementioned process begins. Researchers (Johnson, 2006; Terrell & Lindsey, 2009) have shown that principals must clearly understand their own assumptions, beliefs, and values about people and cultures different from themselves in order to lead effectively in settings with diverse student populations. If a school principal serves a diverse student population, he/she must know what he/she believes about culture and race BEFORE engaging in the hiring process. (more…)

Discover the Learner – Building the Skills of Agency and Self-Advocacy using the UDL Lens

April 10, 2018 by

This is the second in a three part series by Kathleen McClaskey, co-author of Make Learning Personal. See How to Personalize Learning. Read the first post here.

A core objective of personalized, competency-based schools that is described in the Teaching and Design Principle “Activate Student Agency and Ownership,” is to cultivate agency, “the ability to direct one’s course in life.” (See Designing for Equity for an overview of the design principles.) If we are to realize a personalized, competency-based system that nurtures and develops agency with each learner, then we do need to look at how a school could achieve that. You see, once a learner develops agency, he or she can self-advocate for the way they learn for a lifetime and “lead their own learning trajectory.” (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…)

Understanding the Pedagogy of a Learning Science to Nurture an Inclusive Learning Culture

April 4, 2018 by

Kathleen McClaskey

Creating a culture of learning and inclusivity, a non-negotiable for competency-based schools, is a tall order for most K-12 public school systems. As schools move from a traditional system to a personalized, competency-based system, we need to evaluate the tools we have used around learners and learning and teachers and teaching, and understand how a learning science can be used to nurture and build a culture of learning and inclusivity. One approach that is based on research in the learning sciences and that has been around for over 25 years is Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

The question is: What does it really mean to use a UDL lens? This three-part series explores how Universal Design for Learning can strengthen teaching and reinforce a culture where every learner feels that they are valued, belong, and is learning. (more…)

Charting the Course for the Next Phase of Competency-Based Education: Strengthening Understanding

March 1, 2018 by

This is the eighteenth post in the blog series on the report, Quality and Equity by Design: Charting the Course for the Next Phase of Competency-Based Education.

It is up to us, to all of us who believe in and are implementing competency education, to take on the issues of equity, quality, meeting students where they are and ensuring that policy is fit for purpose. This blog series has explored each of the four issues that are paramount to address in order for competency education to fulfill its promise to provide and sustain a better educational system for our next generation. Piecemeal design, poor implementation, turning our backs on the practices that we know will provide greater equity, failing to respond to the needs of students, and continuing to rely on outdated policy structures will result in competency education fading away except for a few shining district examples and a collection of innovative school models. These are not issues for other people to do — but for everyone within their roles, organizations and networks to actively pursue to deepen our knowledge and develop collective responses.

Below are a number of ideas for action steps that can be taken to advance our knowledge and effectiveness in these issues. Some of these are action steps that iNACOL and CompetencyWorks will take on; others are initiatives for other organizations to consider or require substantial collaboration. Please consider these action steps as a starting point for discussion and not a finite list. Certainly, there are many ways to undertake these action steps in ways that build on the values of competency education and strategically engage other partners. For example, there are ways to put into practice the ideas below that will either build a diverse leadership or continue to emphasize white privilege. It is up to all of us to overcome the historical patterns of race and racism in the United States — in our professional lives, in our communities and in our schools. (more…)

Ways that States Are Beginning the Shift to Competency-Based Education

February 22, 2018 by

This is the seventeenth post in the blog series on the report, Quality and Equity by Design: Charting the Course for the Next Phase of Competency-Based Education.

There are many different entry points for policymakers wishing to enable the shift to a more personalized, competency-based K-12 education system in their state.

States that do not yet have any enabling policies in place may wish to take one or two incremental, initial steps to create space for new learning models, while a state that already has made some progress may be contemplating some bolder, more comprehensive steps toward transformation. We will not attempt to thoroughly discuss each entry point in this blog, however, we will highlight the promising policies most states are starting with in their journeys. The iNACOL report, Promising State Policies for Personalized Learning, goes into each of these policy levers, with examples of specific policies and practices that are active in different states. (more…)

iNACOL Symposium Request for Presentation Proposals for Competency-Based Education

February 21, 2018 by

This year, the iNACOL Symposium will be held on October 21-24, 2018 in Nashville, TN. This year’s theme is “Driving the Transformation of Learning.”

As we prepare for the upcoming Symposium, Chris Sturgis and I are discussing the “must have” workshops and sessions at the iNACOL Symposium for the track focused on competency-based education (CBE) to help advance the field in strategic ways. We’ve asked the CompetencyWorks Advisory Board for the must-have topics for the competency-based education track at the iNACOL Symposium event in October. (Note: please add your “must have” sessions in the comments section, below).

I wanted to share a few “must have” topics generated by the CompetencyWorks Advisory Board and ask if you are an expert on these topics to please submit a proposal to speak: (more…)

4 Threshold Concepts for Policy to Tackle in the Long Term to Support Competency Education

February 15, 2018 by

This is the sixteenth post in the blog series on the report, Quality and Equity by Design: Charting the Course for the Next Phase of Competency-Based Education.

What ideas does state policy need to address in the long-term to create the conditions for a transformation to competency-based education systems designed to ensure equity, so all students can be truly ready for success? We intend to push current thinking beyond the assumptions that perpetuate root causes of inequity and the structural issues that perpetuate injustice. We are focusing on a strategy for policy to support systems change over the long haul toward competency-based systems that ensure mastery for all students and equity for all. We hope to inspire new ideas and launch dialogue among communities and state policy leaders.

Threshold Concepts: Key Issues for Policy to Tackle for the Long-Term

Threshold concepts are important concepts for policymakers to understand so that they drive better policy and address structural gaps in our education system. Threshold concepts are “core concepts, that once understood, are needed to transform a given subject.” They can help us think differently about what is possible in an equitable future education system where all students succeed, and how to address deep-seated systems design flaws across K-12 education. Threshold concepts are not policy issues, but they deeply impact policy. In this blog, we discuss our thinking around the core, or threshold concepts, that state policymakers might think about addressing for a long-term, sustainable shift to personalized, competency-based learning.

Threshold concepts to understand before we address action steps for policy-making are: (more…)

Why True Equity in Learning Depends on Proactive, Not Reactive, Design

February 12, 2018 by

This post originally appeared at the Christensen Institute on January 25, 2018.

Innovation isn’t an outcome; it’s a process. How we approach that process will inevitably influence our outcomes.

Bearing this in mind, one of the primary challenges facing a number of efforts around education innovation—including a number of personalized learning initiatives—is that they are built upon simplified models and assumptions. (more…)

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