In search of on-ramps to competency-based learning

The Christensen Institute

As more and more school systems across the country explore “going competency-based,” we need to be attentive to the processes that will actually allow such innovations to thrive. Current time- and age-based accountability measures have a stronghold on schools, even those trying to break away from the factory model of education. As a result, we would predict that time-based metrics and incentives could cannibalize many efforts to reinvent learning in a competency-based manner.

New to Competency-Based Learning? Here're Five Ways to Assess It

Edsurge

Principal Chris Huckans believes that competency-based education (CBE) is one of the keys to the school’s success. Huckans says that Bishop Hall’s use of the Brightspace learning management system provides students with highly personalized learning pathways, which “allow them to innovate and experiment.” He adds, “Kids are allowed to learn at their own pace, and can learn experientially.” Portfolios also highlight learning’s natural progression.

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Utah and Florida sign bills to support competency-based learning pilots, but now the real work begins

The Christensen Institute

This month, governors in Utah and Florida signed bills supporting the creation of competency-based education pilot programs in districts and schools. Utah’s bill, SB 143 , creates the Competency-Based Education Grants Program, which allows local education agencies to apply for grants to pilot competency-based education programs. Treat competency-based learning as a whole-system—rather than one-off—reform.

Steps to Help Schools Transform to Competency-Based Learning

MindShift

It’s no longer a given that if a child spends twelve years in school, he or she will learn enough to succeed in higher education or a career. If a student fails to learn a skill, he or she accepts that result and moves on to the next topic with the rest of the class. Competency-based learning, on the other hand, insists on mastery of subjects and provides students the time to learn; the students are not marched past failure.

7 must-knows from blended learning’s early adopters

eSchool News

Earlier this year, the Highlander Institute, The Learning Accelerator and The Christensen Institute teamed up to bring together a conference on blended and personalized learning in Providence, R.I. The goal of the event was to focus on the practical elements of blended learning and personalized learning by surfacing the tactics that teachers and leaders from around the country were deploying on the ground. 3 Make Students Agents of Their Learning.

Inputs do not guarantee outcomes: Getting online credit recovery right

The Christensen Institute

In a recent editorial , the Los Angeles Times called into question the district’s record-high 75 percent graduation rate, as it said that the figure was based in part on LA Unified’s dependence on its less-than-rigorous online credit-recovery courses. Actual learning—not a piece of paper—should be the goal for every student. With rigorous, competency-based learning, effort is all but guaranteed since students must keep working until they truly master material.

Unlikely bedfellows converge, create inspired vision for future of education

The Christensen Institute

Not only are we tired of the same recurring debates about what is wrong with today’s education system and who is to blame for its inadequacies, but we also realize that no amount of tweaking or modifying the current, industrial-era system will fulfill our vision of all children learning and thriving to their full potential.”. Conversely, the Internet revolution has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity for new approaches to learning.”.

Competency-based legal education

The Christensen Institute

In thinking about how best to prepare for that changing world, law schools need to consider how competency-based educational models can be employed to advance educational objectives for students seeking to enter the market for legal services. In this new environment, law schools need to reimagine themselves as educators for students interested in learning about the legal services sector, not simply those seeking a JD.

Goodbye ABCs: How One State is Moving Beyond Grade Levels and Graded Assessments

Edsurge

The program—short for “no grades, no grades”—is hallmarked by the schools shifting to a more competency-based assessment structure and removal of grade levels. Mary Earick, project director for NG2, says the purpose of the program is to create more flexible learning pathways for students through “competency-based multiage schooling,” which allows students to move on to new objectives only after mastering others. “[NG2]

Beware of taking flexibility a step too far

The Christensen Institute

At its best, online learning can catalyze new heights of flexibility—in path, pace, place, space, and teacher-student interactions—amidst an education landscape that has long looked more like an industrial production line. In blended and online environments, students can move at their own pace, and when provided access to real-time data, teachers can intervene more nimbly when individual students get stuck.

What a Summer Prototype Taught Us About Measuring Quality in an Unbundled Education System

Edsurge

In the summer of 2016, a community of educators, research design partners, and over 150 teens and young adults in Colorado engaged in a bold experiment to rethink how quality and impact might be measured in a modernized system of learning. In this relatively small, short-cycle prototype, the lessons we learned were significant. Why focus outside of formal learning time for our design work? Framework for the Future of Learning.

System 125

Four Ways to Redefine Parent Teacher Conferences—With a Little Help from Ironman

Edsurge

As a former New York City high school teacher, I know that parent-teacher conferences seldom provide parents with enough time to process what their children learned, what they’re interested in, and what needs improvement. Talk about what's being learned, not what's missing. I had effectively created the conditions necessary for my students to self-advocate, which, as I would later learn, meant parent-teacher conferences would be less of a performance review.

Why a K-12 Operating System is the Next Step in the Evolution of Edtech

Edsurge

This competency-based system made sense; if students were chronically absent, holding them accountable to a pacing calendar would prove futile. To supplement in-person support offered during class and lunch periods, I published a simple Google site to house my lessons, assessments, and other resources. Abbas Manjee's standards-based Algebra 1 scope and sequence. At the time, I had no idea this system was called “standards-based grading.”

System 110

These Red Flags Signal Competency Education’s Three Biggest Misconceptions

Edsurge

I’ve continued to go back to Tony Wan’s piece, Why There’s Little Consistency in Defining Competency-Based Education. I’m thrilled he wrote it, as I think it holds up a mirror to all of us working in the world of competency-based education about where we can do better. If you don’t understand that the traditional system of education is designed to rank and sort students, then it’s really hard to understand competency-based education.

What a blended learning classroom really looks like: An urban teacher’s reboot

The Hechinger Report

Related: Organic adoption of one technology leads to a seamless way to blend others. Many people want to know how what blended learning and the personalization of student learning are and how they look in implementation. In a personalized learning environment, student needs drive the design of the learning. How you group students, spend time with students, deliver content and create the learning environment is adaptive. Brandon Johnson.

The next-gen high school to watch

The Christensen Institute

Last month, the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) in New Hampshire launched a new set of pathways for students. Although proponents of personalized learning often talk about affording students more choice regarding how they learn, few schools have managed to figure out a coherent architecture to get there. These allow students to move through learning at a more flexible pace, on an as-needed basis.

How teachers can go blended (when they’re the only one)

The Christensen Institute

About the author: Casey Lynch is a K-12 education research intern with the Christensen Institute focused on interviewing and profiling schools in the Blended Learning Universe Directory, and a rising 8th grade English teacher in The School District of Philadelphia. Many teachers interested in implementing blended learning may be deterred by challenges in their school contexts. Students complete gamified learning exercises on Siyavula’s Everything Maths at home.

What does it take to make an innovative school?

The Hechinger Report

One of the challenges in trying out new learning strategies, including those that embrace technology, is that schools have a tough time finding out which new methods work best – which ones actually help kids learn. One is an expansion of a coalition of schools that share best practices, called the League of Innovative Schools; the other is a comprehensive report on the ways that competency-based learning initiatives have grown in the six New England states.

Framework: Ed Elements Provides Model, Plan, Hand-holding

Edsurge

Separate from its Playbook that helps define a vision, Education Elements , a consulting firm, helps schools and districts design next-generation teaching and learning models. They have a Personalized Learning Implementation Framework that guides users through 25 key areas of personalized learning. It helps schools and districts assess their needs, recognize their strengths and how to work with those, and map out a plan.

Does Presence Equal Progress? Tracking Engagement in Online Schools

Edsurge

We all remember classmates who sat in the back of the room, eyes glued to a comic or dog-eared paperback, anything to escape a learning environment that did not—or could not—engage them. The practice of funding public schools and assessing student engagement based on a student’s physical attendance is rooted in this definition and has only reinforced what is an outmoded idea. How do you know learning is happening? Education Technology School Models Learning Strategie

What Does a School Need to Enable Learning Based on Student Competency?

MindShift

Many teachers have long been frustrated with static, canned curriculum that doesn’t seem connected to kids’ lives, and testing requirements that drive the learning experience. Three main ways schools are attempting this work are through technology use, an emphasis on personalizing learning and moving toward a mastery-based or competency-based evaluation system. ’ Competency education refers to a break from the traditional time-based school model.

What do at-risk students, English language learners and adult college students have in common?

The Hechinger Report

The New York Times has a new education supplement, called Learning, and The Hechinger Report is collaborating with the Times to produce Bulletin Board, a collection of noteworthy ideas and trends in education that will appear on page 2 of the section, which will come out four times a year. The April issue’s theme was “Nontraditional learning.” The middle school has started using an online system to guide self-paced learning, and Ms.

A school where you can’t fail — it just takes you longer to learn

The Hechinger Report

The only goal is to learn the material, sooner or later. They get frequent updates on which skills they’ve learned and which ones they need to acquire. Mastery-based learning, also known as proficiency-based or competency-based learning, is taking hold across the country. New Hampshire is adopting it, too, and developing a statewide assessment method that would replace most standardized tests.

Has New Hampshire found the secret to online education that works?

The Hechinger Report

In January 2015, Duggan enrolled in New Hampshire’s self-paced Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS), joining about 200 full-time middle and high school students and about 10,000 part-timers from brick-and-mortar schools statewide who take VLACS courses a la carte. Virtual schools promise flexibility and a universe of learning just keystrokes away. Also, VLACS’s funding is based on student performance rather than enrollment. Competencies. Competency Pays.

Texas districts are rethinking technology integrations

The Christensen Institute

These 75 organizations first confronted the puzzle together last summer, when Raise Your Hand Texas, a privately funded organization that advocates for public schools, invited all 1,200 Texas districts to compete for five opportunities to receive up to $500,000 each and intensive technical assistance to implement blended learning. In the fall, the 75 teams that demonstrated the most interest and readiness met together to begin to draft their blended-learning plans.