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Developing Competencies

Page history last edited by kay bird 10 years, 2 months ago

From It's Not a Matter of Time: Highlights from the 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit:


One of the most powerful roles a state can play is creating collaborative space for the development of competencies and learning objectives. As states come face to face with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, many opportunities and questions arise.


Well-Designed Competencies: Given that the innovations are still at the early stage of development, the field has not agreed upon what makes a well-designed competency. Although some attributes such as learning objectives need to be explicit and measurable, others are less clear. Should competencies be designed to inspire students? Catalyze student agency? Can they be designed to ignite creativity within our schools and our students’ minds? Are there ways of designing them around long-term measures of student success? Can they be positioned so that they are meaningful for the workplace, backing them into a progression of school-based levels? 


If innovators and states are all designing their own competencies and learning topics, where does this leave us? It takes time and money to develop competencies, yet we want to make sure that each school identifies them as meaningful, not simply a bureaucratic document. What about students with high mobility, who are migrants, homeless, in child welfare or juvenile justice systems, or simply poor? Can we create state or national competencies that provide some portability? 


Core Competencies: The number of academic standards that have been generated by national organizations and states can be overwhelming. David Yanoski of Marzano Research Laboratories (MRL) suggested that, based on a study by MRL, the system would need to be changed from K–12 to K–22 in order to adequately teach all standards to mastery. This is certainly a recipe for failure. The Common Core creates a different starting point, focusing on the most important standards. The next step is to translate the standards into core competencies. States can be helpful in identifying a shared set of core competencies that all districts will be building upon. This is also helpful for establishing portability, a key ingredient for ensuring that students with high mobility will benefit directly from a competency-based system.


Lifelong Learning Competencies: The Common Core includes application of knowledge through high-order skills. However, there are other skills that are important to all students but particularly critical for students living in areas of concentrated poverty and/or violence. These include social-emotional and navigational skills that help them overcome trauma and engage others in helping them to manage highly complex dilemmas in their lives. In addition, workforce and career development are critical for finding jobs to support families and increase motivation through the broadened horizons. For students who are the first in their families to go to college, gaining knowledge about the college application and financial aid process is imperative. States can facilitate the development of shared lifelong learning competencies, rubrics, and professional development so that educators and community members can work together to support students. 



  • The tuning process is being developed to help colleges understand what students should know and be able to do


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