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Tag: standards/competency frameworks

Boston Day and Evening Academy: Where Competency Education is Good Teaching Practice

June 21, 2012 by

This is the second post in the Boston Day and Evening Academy series. Continue reading the first and third posts.

During my site visit to BDEA, Alison Hramiec, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, explained that at BDEA “competency is synonymous with good teaching practice, with clear rubrics and discussion around student work. Competency education instills a sense of ownership in the learning process for teachers and for students. Learning comes alive.” Below are a few highlights of the BDEA competency education model.

Competencies, Benchmarks, and Assessments: BDEA defines competency as “able to demonstrate understanding and application of specific skills and content independently, multiple times, and using the correct vocabulary.” BDEA uses three levels: basic competent, competent, and highly competent.

BDEA uses benchmarks to organize learning and monitor progress. They do not use traditional grades or traditional grade levels. Their students earn benchmarks; each benchmark has a rubric. The Individual Learning Plans with the benchmarks for math, science, and humanities can be found on the wiki. (more…)

An Engineering Kind of Mind

June 14, 2012 by

It was during my five-year-old’s visit to pre-calculus class in my second year out of college and teaching “back home” that I realized: My baby was a more confident thinker than the “big babies” who sat in silence before me. They stared at me as if frozen by the question I’d just posed about the dimensions of those dreaded fractions. What was it that I had intentionally taught my five-year-old daughter that made her so eager where my students were hesitant? It couldn’t have been a hard question; I’d modeled it first, and my daughter even answered correctly! My students had fallen victim to simply doing math over the years and not learning math.

At that moment, I too was paralyzed as I flashed back to days as an undergraduate, emotionally drained and nearly stripped of my confidence. High school in my neighborhood rarely required critical thinking skills, but (more…)

Gathering the Tools for Designing Competencies

June 13, 2012 by

In our research for the paper “The Art and Science of Designing Competencies” to be released later this summer, it is becoming clear that there is some variation in how schools develop competencies. I’m sharing this now because we’d like to know if there are other possible starting points.

We appear to be in agreement that competencies are more encompassing than standards. Therefore, it is important for everyone to first become comfortable with the standards—really get to know them. Start by “unpacking” the standards to determine which ones are the most meaningful. Then reorganize the remaining standards to fall under one (or more) of the larger ideas. (more…)

Making the Transition: 150 Years in the Making

June 11, 2012 by

Prior to moving into the nitty-gritty of competency writing, I would like to preface with a couple of statements. First off, before we can build competencies, we need to, as a group, identify what a competency really is. The dirty little secret of education, is at the heart of what I am about to tell you. So strap on your seatbelts…..make sure your tray tables are in their upright and stored position, and get ready to embark on a journey of educational intricacy…. (more…)

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…)

A Classroom Teacher’s Approach to Competency-Based Education

June 4, 2012 by

Around this time of year, I am always reminded of one of the great things I did in life, which was graduate from college! And any of you that know or have experienced a college graduation before can attest…..it can be an extremely rewarding experience for those friends and family that have hit that milestone.

As I graduated 7 years ago, I can still remember my graduation experience. Minus the fact of my friends and I clustered together on the momentus occasion, (and one of them actually leaving their namecard on the seat when they went up to get their diploma…) the most memorable portion of that days events was the commencement speaker. He was funny, articulate, and had the ability to read the crowd to keep them in full engagement. Basically, it made for a rewarding experience as well as a fond memory….one that will carry on with me the rest of my life.

The question that I had at the time, and still remains; How did he do it? As an individual (more…)

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…)

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…)

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