How to Move Your District’s Vision for Personalized, Competency-Based Learning Forward

Topics: 101, Vision and Culture

Guest post by Katie Varatta

“Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.”
-W. Edwards Demming

If your district is shifting to a personalized, competency-based learning system, the work starts with understanding where you are with your vision; is your district aligned? Your culture, how might you make connections between the vision and the culture? Transparency, curriculum, instruction and so on…

Recognizing that each districts path to personalized, competency-based learning is unique, KnowledgeWorks partners with school districts and learning communities to develop an implementation plan that makes sense.

From Vision to Reality: Personalized, Competency-Based Learning for All Kids© is designed to help school districts take steps toward personalized, competency-based learning, and equip leaders with the following support to do this critical work.

Recently, I had the opportunity to observe a professional development session in which one of our coaches facilitated a conversation among teachers, principals and superintendents to evaluate their comprehensive assessment system. With guiding questions and a rubric in front of them, district leaders and educators discussed where their school district was in the process of implementing an assessment system and how accessible and transparent it was.

Responses varied:

  • We have a framework but we do not have deep implementation at every level
  • We have different pieces depending on the grade levels of the schools
  • We need to work on it being accessible and transparent, developing ongoing assessment practices and protocols for placement and advancement.
  • We need to have teachers, principals, community members and students would take a survey
  • Right now, I think it is difficult for us to use the assessment to be able to differentiate and adjust the process
  • As we develop learner agency, ownership has shifted the responsibility to both the teacher and the student, even though the teacher is still the professional
  • I think there is room for growth around accessibility, transparency and student knowing where they are at

The group went on to discuss next steps at the district level and how they could move forward. These are the conversations that lead to systems change.

Is your district beginning the shift to personalized, competency-based learning? From Vision to Reality: Personalized, Competency-Based Learning for All Kids© includes essential considerations for educators, students and all stakeholders to ensure implementation of personalized, competency-based learning is successful.