What’s New in K-12 Competency Education?
From the States
- North Carolina: North Carolina New Schools is making the case for competency-based learning in North Carolina, as Angela Quick, Senior VP, explains in her blog. A convening of thought leaders was held in December to operate as a “think tank” to identify enablers, barriers, and readiness factors regarding North Carolina’s transition toward competency education. Mooresville Graded School District is now offering credit by demonstrated mastery (CDM) to middle and high school students. In 2013, the NC State Board of Education changed policy to enable mastery-based credits. (The Journal)
- Michigan: Mary Esselman, former deputy chancellor at the Education Achievement Authority in Michigan, announced her resignation in January. She championed Michigan’s turnaround district by reshaping teaching and curriculum around student-centered, technology-focused models.
- Matt Williams, in his blog post, noted that the ESEA discussion draft allows for considerable stakeholder input, making room for competency education. Lillian Pace explains in her blog that competency education finally has a place at Congress’s negotiating table.
- iNACOL applauded the Senate HELP Committee’s decision to prioritize ESEA reauthorization. They published a statement of support, and they worked with KnowledgeWorks to jointly release specific recommendations to support the growth of competency education in the K-12 system.
- For more detailed information, visit Maria Worthen’s blog, titled Supporting Competency Education in ESEA Reauthorization.
- This article, Test Case: Lawmakers Look to Revamp No Child Left Behind, describes the struggle among senators to balance the need for accountability against the burden of testing.
New Reports and Resources
- The A-B-Cs to a Performance-Based Learning Plan by Greta Lundgaard. This article discusses the development of a foreign language curriculum plan that results in student proficiency that increases each semester and each year.
- Evolving Coherent Systems of Accountability for Next Generation Learning: A Decision Framework by Jennifer Poon, Kirsten Taylor Carr, June Atkinson, and Chris Minnich. CCSSO published this framework for innovative accountability models as a resource to guide state policymakers toward innovative assessment and accountability models.
- iNACOL State Policy Frameworks: 5 Critical Issues to Transform K-12 Education, by Maria Worthen and Susan Patrick. This report explores policy priorities in the field, one of which is creating competency-based education systems.
- ACHIEVE’s Communication Tool Kit provides critical definitions, key messages, and talking points to engage key audiences in the shift toward competency education. For more information, review Chris Sturgis’s blog, ACHIEVE’s Communication Tool Kit – Must Use!
- District Conditions for Scale: A Practical Guide to Scaling Personalized Learning by Matt Williams, Jesse Moyer, and Sarah Jenkins. KnowledgeWorks released this report in November 2014, and it examines the difficulties associated with scaling personalized learning, and it highlights the conditions that districts should put in place to enable and scale personalization.
- Laying the Foundation for Competency Education: A Policy Guide for the Next Generation Educator Workforce by Lillian Pace and Maria Worthen. KnowledgeWorks and iNACOL jointly released this report in October 2014, and it describes seven new skills that educators will need to succeed in competency education models. An article by Dian Schaffhauser in The Journal, titled Want Competency Ed? Change Teacher Policies First, further analyzes this report.
News and Blogs
- Julia sets the record straight in her recent blog post by addressing misconceptions in blended learning. She highlights the following three false dichotomies in blended learning: 1. learning online versus learning to think critically; 2. blended curriculum versus teacher autonomy; and 3. investing in technology versus investing in relationships.
- NPR identified alternative methods that schools could use instead of standardized tests. Author Anya Kamenetz proposed using multiple measures, including social and emotional measures and performance or portfolio-based assessments.
- A new study by Eduventures indicated that Western Governors University is producing the largest number of science and math teachers in the United States through competency-based and online education models.
- Beth Hawkins, in an article titled How student portfolios can lead to deeper learning – and to college, highlights smarter student assessments, including a senior dissertation style defense, project-based learning, and demonstrating mastery of competencies.