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In The Classroom

Page history last edited by Eliot Levine 4 years, 5 months ago

The practice of competency education varies as educators explore and expand what it means to focus on student proficiency and ensuring all students are on pace. Thanks to all of the contributors who have shared their expertise. 


Classroom Culture  

The competency-based classroom culture starts with a growth mindset in which failures and mistakes are seen as part of the learning process, leading to more instruction, time to practice, and re-assessment. There is an emphasis on transparency, enabling students to be partners in their education. Students learn how to learn, and understanding the processes behind the application of academic skills is as important as academic standards. Competency education is inherently personalized, as students receive differentiated support and  the time they need to become proficient.




The Role of the Teacher in a Competency-based Classroom 

The role of the teacher in a personalized, proficiency-based classroom is to facilitate adaptive instruction (delivery of instruction, learning tasks, and assessment) and to ensure progress and pacing along learning trajectories. With the transparency of a competency-based classroom, the dynamics between students and teachers change. Over time, professional development becomes embedded in the process of helping students learn. 




Managing a Personalized Classroom  

The personalized, proficiency-based classroom is driven by helping students reach their learning targets. Teachers use a variety of tools such as the code of collaboration (or conduct) and capacity matrix, to help manage the personalized classroom in which students may be learning at different rates or working on different learning targets. Teachers focus their efforts to help students make progress and keep pace. Take a peek at Reinventing Schools Coalition's rubric for classroom design to help you reflect on how you are managing your classroom.




We are looking for authors/videos to address the following questions: If students are self-paced, aren't some students just going to fall further behind faster? How to use a capacity matrix, what happens when students do not keep pace, how to group and regroup, making sure that it doesn't become tracking.     



Student Ownership: Voice and Choice in a Competency-based School




Unpacking the Standards and Learning Targets


Student-Led Conferences


Students Tracking Their Progress


Students Supporting Each Other


Creating Learning Targets


Courtney Belolan from RSU2 explains creating learning targets and how it differs for declarative and procedural knowledge. (Builds off of the The New Technology for Educational Objectives)


Understanding Assessment

Competency education is about the cycle of learning in which students are introduced to new concepts and skills, practice them, receive feedback as needed, and then demonstrate that they have mastered it to the degree that the school has established. The focus is on learning -- assessments are formative or summative, based on where students are in their cycle. It may be useful to think of the process as adaptive instruction, in which assessment is inextricably linked with instruction. There are a wide variety of ways to assess students learning, from observation to capstone projects.




Curriculum and Instruction

Teachers work together in competency-based schools to create a shared understanding of the standards, competencies, and what proficiency looks like at different performance targets or depths of knowledge.  They use a range of instructional approaches, expanding their "tool kits" to better meet the needs of students. 



Applied Learning

Inquiry-based Learning


Project-based Learning


Problem-based Learning


Real-world Learning


Supports and Interventions

Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs. Supports and interventions are a school-wide function with the following elements:

  1. The culture is rooted in a growth mindset that supports taking risks and seeking help.
  2. Assessments are transparent, ongoing, and provide meaningful feedback that supports student learning
  3. Interventions are embedded, tiered, and timely.
  4. Opportunities to learn are maximized within and beyond traditional school times and settings.
  5. The whole student is considered when designing learning opportunities and supports.
  6. A continuous improvement system is in place that responds to help keep students within or above pacing expectations.  Teachers play a critical role of working collaboratively to ensure students are getting the feedback, support and instruction they need to progress.    




We are looking for authors/videos to address the following questions: What does your annual, semester, weekly and daily schedule look like to build in flexibility for students? What does ELL services look like in a competency-based school? Special education? How do you use adaptive software to help students? What is competency recovery and how does it work? 




In competency-based schools, grading is addressed by a school-wide, or even district-wide, policy. Standards-based grading requires strong school policies to support students who are not yet proficient and mechanisms to offer opportunities for more advanced levels. Teachers who introduce standards-referenced assessment and grading (in which students move on to the next unit unless they received an F and, in increasing cases, a D) must be prepared for some students preferring to be in other classes where they can work less and get better grades by turning in homework or extra credit. 


We are looking for authors/videos to address the following questions:  How do you set up your gradebook? What were your insights as your school shifted to competency-based grading? What are different ways to set up scoring systems? How did you engage students and parents when you changed your grading system?



Coaching and Instructional Supports



Recommended Reading



Designing Competencies

Teachers within disciplines in a school must agree to the same set of competencies, standards and rubrics, as well as the calibrating, to ensure that they have the same understanding of proficiency. Teachers in non-competency-based schools often use competencies and standards to structure their curriculum; however, without calibration or tuning, there is no way to know if their understanding of proficiency is appropriate.





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