Districts Shifting to Competency Education

OK, so the last time I wrote about one of the American Youth Policy Forum’s webinars on competency education, I apologized for being a little late in getting the information out there.  This time, I am way late.  But, I thought the webinar was so good I wanted to amplify it even if it is six weeks after the fact.

AYPFOn July 16, AYPF hosted Promising Practices and Considerations for Districts in Competency-Based Education, a super interesting session featuring Linda Laughlin from RSU 18 in Maine and Tom Rooney from Lindsay Unified in California sharing some useful information about how their districts made the shift from a time-based system to a competency-based system.  In addition to the district administrators, Matthew Lewis and Jennifer Steele from RAND Corporation highlighted some policy changes that states and districts should consider as they transition to competency education.

A couple of things really stood out to me about the information presented.  First, there are a lot of similarities between RSU 18’s journey and Lindsay’s.  There are also differences, to be sure, and I don’t believe there is one single blueprint making the time-to-competency-shift across all districts but listening to Linda and Tom could give any district administrator a great set of ideas about how to get started and a high-level path forward.

The other thing that was intriguing was the six enablers RAND has identified for a proficiency-based pathways approach:

  • Clearly defined learning progressions (linked closely to Common Core State Standards)
  • Diverse learning experiences with frequent assessment and feedback
  • Anytime/anywhere learning
  • Widely accepted credit for demonstrated proficiencies
  • Information infrastructure, rich data collection, and analytics
  • Enabling policies and conditions

Again, I don’t think there is one single blueprint that can be applied from one district to the next but if you’re thinking about these six ideas as you’re making the competency transition, you’re probably well on your way to success.

As you watch the webinar, I would be interested to hear you about what information stuck out as extra important.  Please feel free to share in the comments!

Jesse Moyer

Written by: Jesse Moyer

Jesse Moyer is the Senior Director, School Development with KnowledgeWorks. He is a believer in public education working and passionate about family, sports and fishing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *