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Aurora Institute

New iNACOL Policy Issue Brief Identifies State Strategies to Develop Teacher Capacity for Personalized, Competency-Based Learning

Education Domain Blog

Author(s): , , Susan Patrick

Issue(s): State Policy, Develop Educator Capacity

Developing educator capacity is critical for transforming the K-12 education system to prepare every student with the knowledge and skills for future success. There is a need for state educational leaders, educators and stakeholders to revisit the policies and structures of teacher preparation programs, educator licensure and certification, teacher professional development and reconsider standards for modernizing learning to enable personalized learning pathways for all learners.

Transforming K-12 education systems to student-centered learning requires building teacher capacity for personalized, competency-based education.

iNACOL published a new policy issue brief, State Strategies to Develop Teacher Capacity for Personalized, Competency-Based Learning. This issue brief highlights and explains four strategies for states and systems to prepare teachers with the skills they need for student-centered learning:

  1. Identifying clear educator competencies for personalized, competency-based learning environments;
  2. Creating multiple pathways for high-quality educator credentials and development;
  3. Developing educator capacity and professional judgment; and
  4. Building assessment literacy.

Educators in the United States can learn from across the globe of the best practices for innovative instructional approaches increasing learner agency and personalizing learning. These practices use contemporary theories of learning, evidence-based approaches, competency-based models and balanced systems of assessments.

Educator preparation and development systems should prepare educators with the specific knowledge and skills to meet the needs of every student. Educators are designing and implementing student-centered learning environments that require a deep understanding of performance assessments and assessment literacy. By transforming educator preparation and development systems to become personalized, competency-based and focused on the skills educators need to create student-centered learning environments, policymakers support expanding high-quality education opportunities for every student to be successful in higher education, the modern workforce and as citizens.

Policymakers may consider the following action steps to begin the transformation of educator workforce systems:

  • Action Step #1: Support and engage with a working group composed of a diverse cross-section of educators, school leaders, district leaders, students, state leaders and experts working across the field to “define the space” for the competencies, capacity and supports that are needed for a next generation educator workforce designed to advance innovations for equity and competency-based learning;
  • Action Step #2: Learn about promising practices, programs and policies to transform the educator workforce in the state and around the country by engaging with experts, researchers and practitioners;
  • Action Step #3: Learn about how high-performing countries have incorporated the core concepts of innovation, modernization and performance assessment into their education systems by engaging with experts, researchers and practitioners, and/or through an international study tour;
  • Action Step #4: Enumerate assessment literacy as a core principle to transform education to personalized, competency-based learning in certification, licensure and accreditation standards;
  • Action Step #5: Engage with diverse stakeholders to identify challenges and opportunities, and to define the goals for an effort to redesign the systems that build and certify educator capacity, including:
    • Defining and understanding the competencies educators need to design, implement and lead new personalized, competency-based learning models;
    • Addressing barriers to creating, scaling and accrediting innovative leadership and educator preparation models; and
    • Assessing implications for accreditation, licensure and certification standards and teacher quality or effectiveness metrics in state accountability systems.

To support transformation at scale to personalized, competency-based learning for students, there is an urgent need to modernize and align educator preparation and development systems. It is time to move beyond outdated systems of educator pre-service preparation, certification, professional development and evaluation, and transition to a coherent, competency-based, educator professional learning system.

For more information, download a full copy of this issue brief, State Strategies to Develop Teacher Capacity for Personalized, Competency-Based Learning, and access other iNACOL issue briefs:

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