What do we mean when we say personalized, competency-based education? It’s pretty simple, actually.
We mean learning.
Learning that meets students where they are. Learning that challenges students. Learning that doesn’t leave students behind, or disengaged or just repeating what they think their teacher wants to hear. Learning is dynamic.
No two students are alike, but we recognize as a society that there are things that we all need to know and know how to do – and that with the increasing speed of technological advancements the need has never been greater for students to not only have strong content knowledge, but also a keen understanding of themselves as learners and strong collaboration, communication and interpersonal skills. And the best way to ensure they cultivate just that?
Personalized, competency-based education.
In a competency environment, students are engaged by:
Understanding what they need to do to master and achieve their goals.
Collaborating with others and exploring diverse approaches to learning.
Clearly understanding, recognizing, managing and building upon their learning to think critically and transfer knowledge to real-world situations.
Demonstrating mastery of what they’ve learned in their own way. For example, one student might have better success writing a song, while another may prefer to write a story to show evidence of their learning.
And teachers? They’ve never been more important. Educators are empowered by:
Developing a comprehensive set of learning outcomes and meaningful ways to assess student progress and growth.
Effectively supporting individual student needs.
Having the autonomy, structure and support they need to develop creative ways to meet students where they are.
Building a shared understanding between students, parents and teachers.
Collaborating with fellow teachers to create interdisciplinary learning opportunities.
Ultimately, personalized, competency-based education is about students and teachers getting what they need to work together to learn, teach and grow. It’s about trying new things, taking risks and taking ownership – and building a learning community that is responsive, where everyone contributes, and everyone is heard.
Matt Williams is Vice President of National Advocacy and Partnerships for KnowledgeWorks Foundation. In this role, he is responsible for directing both federal and state relations on behalf of the Foundation. Matt assists the various divisions, subsidiaries, and major investments of KnowledgeWorks in building and maintaining relationships to advance their initiatives and also assists in advancing policy priorities for the Foundation.