Competency Based Education for Deeper Learning

Core Components of Competency-Based Education: CBE Readiness Tool

An Updated Definition for Competency-Based Education (Levine & Patrick, 2019)

Students are empowered daily to make important decisions about their learning experiences, how they will create and apply knowledge, and how they will demonstrate their learning.

Assessment is a meaningful, positive, and empowering learning experience for students that yields timely, relevant, and actionable evidence.

Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.

Students progress based on evidence of mastery, not seat time.

Students learn actively using different pathways and varied pacing.

Strategies to ensure equity for all students are embedded in the culture, structure, and pedagogy of schools and education systems.

Rigorous, common expectations for learning (knowledge, skills, and dispositions) are explicit, transparent, measurable, and transferable.

Click through the tabs below to view the full scale!

Competencies

Develop a continuum of  competencies students must apply or transfer essential knowledge, skills and dispositions within or across progressions leading to graduation.

Focus

Leadership

Instruction and Assessment

Learner Culture

Organizational Structures

Phase 1:
Initiating

Graduation requirements are policy driven. Curriculum and course offerings are used to develop scope and sequences by course or content area.

Learning outcomes are clear and articulated by course or grade level. Instructional design emphasizes application of knowledge and skills described instate-adopted standards.

Interpersonal skills are expressed as personal behaviors. Students are aware of these skills and monitored by teachers.

The system is driven by ‘seat time’ and whole-class instruction with some differentiation and remediation. Departments and grade level teams with content expertise guide the delivery of instruction.

Phase 2:
Emerging

Articulated profile of a graduate (POG) developed with input from staff, shared with community stakeholders. Graduation requirements, curriculum, college and career pathways not yet aligned to POG.

Learning outcomes are clear and articulated by course and standards based curriculum. K-12 Academic competencies are adopted, but not incorporated into instruction or assessment design.

Interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies are developing and evidenced by students when they monitor and reflect on these skills.

The structure and schedule allow for teacher collaboration and flexible grouping of students. School structures and systems are developing new pathways for students to advance to the next level of learning.

Phase 3:
Implementing

Articulated profile of a graduate (POG) developed with input from staff and community stakeholders. Graduation requirements clearly articulated and integrated into curriculum and college and career pathways.

Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important personal skills and dispositions. Instruction and assessments measure competencies.

Interpersonal, intrapersonal, and learning competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students to have input into their learning path.

Structures and scheduling support multiple pathways and academies that integrate standards and skills into core competencies aligned to career readiness standards and postsecondary expectations.

Where is your school now?

Initiating: District has begun to examine their existing system and identify where shifts in teaching and learning are needed.
Emerging: District is beginning to develop and deploy competency-based systems and structures and is monitoring shifts in teaching and learning to measure impact.
Implementing: District uses an ongoing feedback cycle to design, evaluate, and revise all core components of CBE for equitable and deeper learning.
Hess, Colby, & Joseph. (in press). Making the Shift to Learner-Centered, Competency-Based Education: Practical Strategies for Sustainable Implementation. Corwin. Permission for use only with full citation.

To obtain a hard copy of the scales, enter your name and email below.

© Hess, Colby, & Joseph. (in press). Making the Shift to Learner-Centered, Competency-Based Education: Practical Strategies for Sustainable Implementation. Corwin. Permission for use only with full citation. Permission to reuse is given when authorship is fully cited. djoseph@cbesolution.com

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Personal Success Skills

Dispositions, soft skills, and twenty-first century skills (critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, goal setting, etc.) articulate qualities that are essential for success in life and integrated with academic learning.

Focus

Leadership

Instruction and Assessment

Learner Culture

Organizational Structures

Phase 1:
Initiating

Current policies and practices (grading, discipline, etc.) lack an awareness of the importance of personal success skills in promoting academic success and overall well-being.

Student engagement and reflection opportunities are evidenced in some learning areas and situations.

Teacher-centered and content driven learning culture, where students are mostly compliant and passive learners. Personal success skills are not directly taught by teachers or practiced by students.

Current policies and practices (grading, discipline, etc.) lack an awareness of the importance of personal success skills in promoting academic success and well-being.

Phase 2:
Emerging

Policies and practices are aligned to the POG and revised to promote equity and personal learning skills in supporting students and staff.

Student engagement and reflection opportunities are being aligned to learning experiences and targeted personal success skills leading to student goal setting and self reflection.

Learning environments and interactions promote independent and collaborative learning opportunities for students to exercise voice and choice. Personal success skills are integrated with academics.

Policies and practices are aligned to the POG and revised to promote equity and personal learning skills in supporting both students and staff.

Phase 3:
Implementing

Policies and practices reflect the POG and integrated personal success skills as indicators of competence for graduation.

Student engagement measures and reflection opportunities consistently monitor the learning experience, learning outcomes, and personal success skills.

Learning environments and interactions are responsive to learner agency and flexible in meeting students' learning needs, as articulated by the learner’s goals and self-reflections. Learners emerge as confident and independent learners.

Policies and practices integrate personal success skills with POG as indicators of competence for graduation.

Where is your school now?

Initiating: District has begun to examine their existing system and identify where shifts in teaching and learning are needed.
Emerging: District is beginning to develop and deploy competency-based systems and structures and is monitoring shifts in teaching and learning to measure impact.
Implementing: District uses an ongoing feedback cycle to design, evaluate, and revise all core components of CBE for equitable and deeper learning.
Hess, Colby, & Joseph. (in press). Making the Shift to Learner-Centered, Competency-Based Education: Practical Strategies for Sustainable Implementation. Corwin. Permission for use only with full citation.

To obtain a hard copy of the scales, enter your name and email below.

© Hess, Colby, & Joseph. (in press). Making the Shift to Learner-Centered, Competency-Based Education: Practical Strategies for Sustainable Implementation. Corwin. Permission for use only with full citation. Permission to reuse is given when authorship is fully cited. djoseph@cbesolution.com

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Performance Assessments

To determine a student’s college and career readiness, the continuum of assessments rely on varied formats and multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate learning in authentic (real-world) tasks.

Focus

Leadership

Instruction and Assessment

Learner Culture

Organizational Structures

Phase 1:
Initiating

Assessments of student learning are evidenced within courses and content areas and guided by policies (grading, graduation, etc.) and curriculum.

Standards are expressed as learning outcomes and assessed in all content areas. Assessments are given to all students on the same day. Performance assessments are rarely used to capture evidence of deeper learning.

Students are aware of the knowledge and skills that will be assessed. Students do not view most assessments as relevant to their learning, because there is only one way to demonstrate what they know.

Grading methods are often limited by student information systems (SIS). Grades are reported by traditional assessment types (e.g.,exams, state assessments), methods (averaging) and timelines.

Phase 2:
Emerging

Policies support multiple and varied assessments, including rigorous assessments that capture student learning and mastery within a standards-based curriculum.

Rigorous competencies with learning outcomes are identified. Performance tasks are introduced as a part of a balanced assessment system used both formatively and summatively inmost courses and content areas.

Performance assessments begin to align with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that all students should acquire within and across content areas or courses. Learning can be demonstrated in a variety of ways.

Teachers are given the time and tools to co-plan and develop common rigorous assessments including performance tasks and projects.

Phase 3:
Implementing

Timely, rigorous, and competency based assessments capture student learning and mastery within and beyond the school-based environment.

Rigorous competencies and learning outcomes are scaffolded and integrated across content areas. Performance assessments provide meaningful feedback and measure both academic and personal success skills to promote deeper learning.

Performance assessments align with academic and personal skills (e.g.collaboration, goal setting, social discourse). Learning is student driven and demonstrated in a variety of ways. Assessment evidence and feedback promote deeper learning.

District protocols guide consistent design and use of assessments and review of student evidence from competency-based performance assessments. Evidence informs instruction and student learning.

Where is your school now?

Initiating: District has begun to examine their existing system and identify where shifts in teaching and learning are needed.
Emerging: District is beginning to develop and deploy competency-based systems and structures and is monitoring shifts in teaching and learning to measure impact.
Implementing: District uses an ongoing feedback cycle to design, evaluate, and revise all core components of CBE for equitable and deeper learning.
Hess, Colby, & Joseph. (in press). Making the Shift to Learner-Centered, Competency-Based Education: Practical Strategies for Sustainable Implementation. Corwin. Permission for use only with full citation.

To obtain a hard copy of the scales, enter your name and email below.

© Hess, Colby, & Joseph. (in press). Making the Shift to Learner-Centered, Competency-Based Education: Practical Strategies for Sustainable Implementation. Corwin. Permission for use only with full citation. Permission to reuse is given when authorship is fully cited. djoseph@cbesolution.com

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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Learning Pathways

Competencies drive a rigorous, transparent, flexible system of learning in which students are empowered by opportunities to choose what and how they learn.

Focus

Leadership

Instruction and Assessment

Learner Culture

Organizational Structures

Phase 1:
Initiating

Policies aspire to prepare students for college and careers, but practices support a single learning pathway to promotion or graduation for all students.

Course level standards and learning outcomes are taught and scaffolded by teachers and made transparent to parents and learners.

Limited pathways and choice are offered to students in meeting grade level or graduation requirements.

A single system of teaching and learning is organized in the same way for all students, with provisions for remediation.

Phase 2:
Emerging

Policies and practices become more flexible in determining how and where learning can occur. The development of multiple, rigorous pathways ensures each student’s learning is possible within the school-based accountability system.

Competency-based learning outcomes are scaffolded and begin to be integrated across content areas and grade levels. Students have some options for learning (e.g., online, blended, face-to-face, community based learning).

Multiple course and content pathways are aligned to competencies. Students have some options in how to demonstrate their learning across courses or content disciplines.

Equitable pathways articulate the alignment to academic or personal success skill competencies and are mapped to curricular programs or course offerings.

Phase 3:
Implementing

Policies and practices support multiple pathways for authentic, rigorous student learning, which is appropriately credentialed within and outside learning agencies (e.g.,college-course taking for graduation credit).

Competencies and learning outcomes are scaffolded and integrated across content areas, as well as grade levels. Personalized learning plans guide students in the learning choices, pathways, and learning support.

Students advocate how to navigate their personal pathways leading to a demonstration of proficiency of the competency-based graduation requirements and the POG.

Equitable pathways clearly articulate the alignment to academic and personal success skill competencies and are mapped to learning opportunities anytime and anywhere.

Where is your school now?

Initiating: District has begun to examine their existing system and identify where shifts in teaching and learning are needed.
Emerging: District is beginning to develop and deploy competency-based systems and structures and is monitoring shifts in teaching and learning to measure impact.
Implementing: District uses an ongoing feedback cycle to design, evaluate, and revise all core components of CBE for equitable and deeper learning.
Hess, Colby, & Joseph. (in press). Making the Shift to Learner-Centered, Competency-Based Education: Practical Strategies for Sustainable Implementation. Corwin. Permission for use only with full citation.

To obtain a hard copy of the scales, enter your name and email below.

© Hess, Colby, & Joseph. (in press). Making the Shift to Learner-Centered, Competency-Based Education: Practical Strategies for Sustainable Implementation. Corwin. Permission for use only with full citation. Permission to reuse is given when authorship is fully cited. djoseph@cbesolution.com

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Evidence Based Grading

Scoring, grading, and reporting reflects students’ progress toward unit, course, and graduation competencies.

Focus

Leadership

Instruction and Assessment

Learner Culture

Organizational Structures

Phase 1:
Initiating

Grading and reporting policies and practices are different at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Grading and reporting are done within the context of a course or content area. Mathematical calculations and averaging generally determine grades.

Grading practices affect both positive and negative student attitudes towards toward learning and self-image.

Systems of scoring and reporting are aligned to course expectations, reporting policies, and school year timelines.

Phase 2:
Emerging

Grading and reporting policies support practices in standards- based grading. Competency-based assessments are graded, but not part of a larger body of evidence (BOE) for meeting graduation requirements.

Formative assessments provide a level of transparency to inform where a student is in relation to a particular learning outcome for a course or content area. Learning outcomes are tracked and measured relative to standards.

Grading practices are more transparent to the learner relative to progress in demonstrating skills described in standards.

Systems of scoring and reporting are aligned to course and graduation requirements, standards-based reporting, and school year timelines.

Phase 3:
Implementing

Policies define the body of evidence (BOE) needed to demonstrate proficiency in relation to academic and personal skills competencies. CB reporting indicates student progress toward mastery of competencies.

Formative assessment data provide the body of evidence used for instructional and learner feedback. Evidence informs where a student is in relation to a competency and whether the student is ready for a summative assessment.

The body of evidence informs pacing of learning, is responsive to addressing student needs, and promotes student reflection and ownership of learning experience and learning outcomes.

Competency-based systems of building a student’s BOE, scoring work samples, and reporting results informs graduation readiness relative to the POG.

Where is your school now?

Initiating: District has begun to examine their existing system and identify where shifts in teaching and learning are needed.
Emerging: District is beginning to develop and deploy competency-based systems and structures and is monitoring shifts in teaching and learning to measure impact.
Implementing: District uses an ongoing feedback cycle to design, evaluate, and revise all core components of CBE for equitable and deeper learning.
Hess, Colby, & Joseph. (in press). Making the Shift to Learner-Centered, Competency-Based Education: Practical Strategies for Sustainable Implementation. Corwin. Permission for use only with full citation.

To obtain a hard copy of the scales, enter your name and email below.

© Hess, Colby, & Joseph. (in press). Making the Shift to Learner-Centered, Competency-Based Education: Practical Strategies for Sustainable Implementation. Corwin. Permission for use only with full citation. Permission to reuse is given when authorship is fully cited. djoseph@cbesolution.com

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

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