For Parents / For Teachers / Student Centered Learning

Catching up on competency-based learning

Classrooms throughout New Hampshire have been using competency-based learning practices, but what does it mean to be competency-based? As a district in Minnesota considers changing to a competency-based system, a local superintendent provides a great overview for the South Washington County Journal:

So, what is competency-based learning? In the simplest form, students would progress through our educational system based on what they have learned rather than what grade they are in or what age they happen to be at the time. Seat time would not determine progress. If a second-grade student is ready for third-grade math, she should be doing third-grade math. In fact, should we even be sorting math concepts by grade or rather should we think of them as a progression to be learned sequentially based on the level of mastery a student can demonstrate? If a high school student can demonstrate competency in a certain topic without taking the course, should they need to sit in the class for 180 days? It is easy to think about the issue in terms of our physical fitness standards. If a student can demonstrate competency in the standards because of their involvement in athletics either within our system or through other organizations, should we consider granting credit for meeting the standards and competencies? What if a student is completing an internship in a biological research laboratory and can demonstrate competency in the biology standards, could they receive credit without taking the course, or without taking the entire year of biology?

I think many of us would agree, it makes educational sense to allow students to progress in their learning based on their ability and readiness.

New Hampshire is one of several states that uses competency-based learning statewide, but states and districts across the country are seeing the benefits of assessing students on what they know versus how old they are or how long they’ve been in a classroom.

Read the full article here.

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