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Competency-Based Learning Implementation Tips for Schools

New Report Outlines Ways to Implement Competency-Based Learning

A new report from CompetencyWorks called Implementing Competency Education in K-12 Systems: Insights from Local Leaders outlines effective ways districts have and can implement personalized learning models that meet individual student needs and teach competency-based skills.

"This paper highlights strategies to engage, motivate, and teach all students to proficiency and mastery; depicts shifts in instruction toward deeper learning and meaningful assessments for learning; while exploring models of distributed leadership and educator empowerment," according to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.

Author of the report, Chris Sturgis, says that the traditional time-based learning model frequently used by districts is failing students and that by implementing more personalized learning using the report's strategies, students will overall benefit.

The report found that there are four stages of implementation and that the first three take a minimum of five years, according to TheJournal.com.

The first step, ramping up for transformation, requires the collaboration of leaders and students in order to best move away from traditional systems.

"These are collaborative approaches that generate respect and trust. They contribute to the formation of a different type of school culture — one that is student-centered rather than system-centered, empowering rather than compliance-oriented, cooperative rather than dependent on individual leadership and motivated by learning rather than by carrots or sticks," the report said.

The second step, designing the infrastructure, requires schools to plan how they will implement the competency-based system by doing things like deciding instruction and empowering teachers.

The third, transitioning to a competency-based system, requires "preparing for leadership lifts, choosing a strategy for rollout, getting teachers ready for personalized classrooms, preparing for leveling and parent conversations, making course corrections, refining the instructional model and cycle and preparing for the implementation dip," the article said.

Finally, the last step in moving over to a competency-based system requires continuous improvement and innovation to best address students needs and stay the course of the plan all the while being adaptive.

In order to make the shift, schools and districts will have to acknowledge a change from being system-based to learning-based.

"Leaders and educators must understand the research on teaching and how students learn. They will need to redesign their instruction and practices based on these understandings, placing students at the center," Sturgis said in the report's conclusion.

Said Susan Patrick, President and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, "By providing tools and the infrastructure centered on student mastery, the focus is on maximizing every student's potential and ensuring that success is the only option for students to be ready for college and future careers."

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/05/2015

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