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Tag: Competency-based

31

Stages of Personalized Learning Environments (updated)

Stages of Personalized Learning Environments (V2)by Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey Please go to the Personalize Learning website for all information on personalizing learning. In attempting to transform teaching and learning to personalized learning, consider where you are currently and envision which stage you can see feasible for your school, district or community. The Stages of Personalized Learning Environments (PLE) Versions 1 and 2 chart needed to be updated. Why? Because of the considerable feedback we received after posting our first version of the chart. Some of the feedback was about consistency and flow across the stages. What worked in what stage? We definitely want to thank those that critiqued the stages for us and helped us with this version two. Some districts shared with us that our version one was going to be their foundation of their personalized learning initiative. We wanted to refine it so it was clear, consistent, and easily understood. We went to work to update the stages for them and anyone else moving to a personalized learning environment. Please feel free and let us know how it supports your transformation to personalizing learning. Download the chart below for free: http://eepurl.com/fLJZM
Link to Slideshare of Stages of Personalized Learning Environments v2 Some questions to consider before embarking on your journey to personalize learning:
  • Why do you want to personalize learning for your learners?
  • What problems or needs have you identified in your school, organization and/or community?
  • What data can you show that demonstrates the need to personalize learning?
  • What does teaching and learning look like now?
  • What are stakeholders beliefs about learning and change?
  • Why is it critical for your organization and/or community to change now?
  • What challenges or obstacles do you envision as you move to personalizing learning?
  • What do you envision for your personalized learning environment?
These questions showed us that there are different stages of personalizing learning. Personalizing learning for all learners means understanding the different stages of personalized learning environments (PLE).
All feedback is welcome and appreciated. Most of the comments have been through email, on Scoopit and other social media. We are keeping a link to the slideshare of Version One here for your reference.Stages of personalized learning environments (version one) originally published on May 7, 2012
2

DOK and Competency-Based Learning

Since 2008-09, New Hampshire high school students have been able to work with educators to create personalized learning plans—with course credit awarded for mastery, not time in class. Time in class is based on the Carnegie Unit or seat time. Demonstrating what you know based on mastery is called "Competency-based Learning." Rose Colby and Fred Bramante wrote "Off the Clock: Moving Education from Time to Competency." about New Hampshire's journey to personalize learning. Rose shared with me their story. I bought their book. I'm curious and want to see how this works. How does this work? Academic credits can be earned year round through internships, online courses, overseas travel, or attending face-to-face classes. Mentors and/or educators set course-competency guidelines, track progress, and conduct final assessments. Assessments are based on Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK).  DOK, created by Norman Webb from the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, is the degree of depth or complexity of knowledge standards and assessments require; this criterion is met if the assessment is as demanding cognitively as the expectations standards are set for students. DOK refers to the complexity of thinking skills that a task requires. DOK is about...
  • what FOLLOWS the verb. What comes after the verb is more important than the verb itself.
  • the complexity of mental processing that must occur to complete a task.
  DOK is NOT about...
  • verbs. The verbs are a valuable guide, but they can sometimes be used at more than one level.
  • the difficulty of what they are learning. All levels of DOK have a place in a rigorous curriculum.
  Completely aligned standards and assessments require an assessment system designed to measure in some way the full range of cognitive complexity within each specified content standard. Norman Webb identified four levels for assessing the DOK of content standards and assessment items.
  • Level 1: Recall
  • Level 2: Skill or Concept
  • Level 3: Strategic Thinking
  • Level 4: Extended Thinking
  DOK implies the interaction of how deeply a student needs to understand the content with different ways of responding and interacting with the content. DOK levels are not related to the score points. DOK levels are a ceiling, not a target.  Why is this distinction between “ceiling” and “target” important? If assessed only at the “target,” all learners with a Level 3 as their highest demand would only be assessed at Level 3. This would potentially have two negative impacts on the assessment:
  1. The assessment as a whole could be too difficult; and
  2. important information about student learning along the achievement continuum would be lost.
How do you determine the DOK ceiling?
  • The level of a DOK item is determined by the task (defined by complex thinking and reasoning skills), not grade level or ability of the student.
  • Therefore, the DOK of the task does not change with grade or ability of the student.
  • Verbs alone do not determine the DOK’s level of an assessment task.  DOK’s focus is on how deeply students need to know content for a given response.
  • Multiple-choice questions can be written at a DOK 3 or 4 level; however, to design a question in this format is difficult.  An Item at DOK level 3 or 4 requires complex reasoning, strategic and extended thinking about the concepts of the content and a real world context, and especially at a level 4 that requires research, investigation and application often over an extended period of time.
  Here’s a comparison of Webb's DOK vs Bloom’s Taxonomy:   Resources Using Webb’s Depth of Knowledge to Measure Rigor http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/CommonCoreLibrary/Toolkit/Assessment/Rigor/Rigor+in+Maps.htm
0

Schools Moving from Time to Competency

The book Off the Clock: Moving Education From Time to Competency by Fred Bramante and Rose Colby provides a comprehensive approach to implementing a large-scale competency-based reform initiative that bases student achievement on mastery rather than “seat time.” This is about the journey that New Hampshire started in 2005 when their state Board of Education revised school approval laws. Learn about a system that is grounded in the passion of the student and experience learning opportunities. This book is about the ideology of moving from the Carnegie unit "seat time" to having students demonstrate mastery. Competency implies that students have the ability to transfer content and skills across content areas. This is just what we need to personalize learning. After we read the book, talk to the authors, we are going to add stories, data, webinars, and encourage discussions that lead to more discussions about competency-based learning. This book is highly recommended before you have any discussions on personalizing learning. The Authors: Fred, a former middle school Science teacher, a former candidate for governor, a life long entrepreneur, and a past Chairman and long standing member of the New Hampshire State Board of Education, led a full-scale effort to redesign public education, especially at the high school level, which resulted in a major revamping of New Hampshire’s education regulations and the subsequent development of the New Hampshire vision For High School Redesign. Fred has been the public voice of this movement and has carried the competency-based message around the country. Rose Colby is currently a Competency-Based Learning and Assessment Specialist assisting high schools throughout the state of New Hampshire in designing high quality competency, assessment, and grading reform systems. Ms. Colby is a motivational speaker and presenter in the areas of competency based learning, digital learners, differentiation, and school leadership. Since 2007, Ms. Colby has been a partner in the Nellie Mae Education Foundation funded project centered on student success though Extended Learning Opportunities in partnership with Q.E.D. Foundation, Plustime, NH, and the NH Department of Education. She is currently part of the planning team for the N.H. Next Generation Learning Project. Check out their website www.offtheclockeducation.com for more information.
2

Failure is No Longer an Option

Think of your students working at their own pace. Teachers are overwhelmed as they try to meet the needs of all their students. With our current one-size-fits-all system, many children are being left behind and dropping out.

A competency-based system means students address standards in the way that meets their needs instead of waiting to learn something when it comes up in a chapter in a textbook or when it is being taught to the whole class. Competency-based pathways are a re-engineering of our education system around learning: a re-engineering designed for success in which failure is no longer an option. Competency-based approaches build upon standard reforms, offering a new value proposition:

By aligning all of our resources (in schools, the community, and online) around student learning to enable students to progress upon mastery, our country can increase productivity in the education system, while simultaneously raising achievement levels overall and reducing the achievement gap.
[Source: Competency-Based Pathways]

So a competency-based system accelerates the pace of learning based upon a student's abilities, needs, and interests, while other students may require additional support and alternative types of instruction until they master the content. The current system expects proficiency of a standard before advancement while a competency-based system monitors progress in meeting a standard. Competency-based design principles [shortened] from Competency-based Pathways:

Design Principle 1: Students Advance upon Mastery

    • Students advance by demonstration of mastery, not age.
    • Students are appropriately challenging.
    • Students are evaluated on performance.
    • Some students complete courses at different rates than others.


Design Principle 2: Explicit and Measurable Learning Objectives Empower Students

    • The student and teacher relationship changes.
    • Learning becomes modular.
    • Learning goes beyond the classroom and can be anytime, anywhere.


Design Principle 3: Assessment Is Meaningful and a Positive Learning Experience for Students

    • Schools focus on formative assessment.
    • Teachers collaborate to develop understanding of what is an adequate demonstration of proficiency.
    • Skills or concepts are assessed in multiple contexts and multiple ways.
    • Attention on student learning, not student grades.
    • Summative assessments are adaptive and timely.


Design Principle 4: Students Receive Rapid, Differentiated Support

    • Students progress at their own speeds and students that are proceeding more slowly will need more help.
    • Personal learning plans identify learning styles, context, and interventions that are most effective for each student.
    • New specialist roles may develop to provide high quality interventions when students begin to slip behind.
    • Online learning can play an invaluable role in providing feedback to teachers on how students are proceeding.


Design Principle 5: Learning Outcomes Emphasize Include Application and Creation of Knowledge

    • Competencies are designed so that demonstration of mastery includes application of skills and knowledge.
    • Assessment rubrics are explicit in what students must be able to know and do to progress to the next level of study.
    • Examples of student work that demonstrate skills development throughout a learning continuum will help students understand their own progress.
    • Lifelong learning skills designed around students needs, life experiences, and the skills needed for them to be college and career ready.
    • Expanded learning opportunities are developed for students to develop and apply skills as they are earning credit.


Businesses, Universities, Community Colleges, and Technical colleges are looking at competency-based systems for career bound students and job seekers. There is a need to address and accept existing knowledge and skills people have no matter what age.

What about providing a system in K-20 for learners to challenge a course or test? This could actually be a way to move people through a competency-based system where life skills and background knowledge mean something. It will be interesting to follow innovative practices where schools take risks to address each students' needs and learning styles.

It is time to "think out of the box" where failure is not an option anymore. We cannot leave one child behind. Every child is important. This is their future and right now -- today -- isn't looking very promising for them. Schools have to change. We cannot look back anymore and say "if it was good for me, it's good for my child." That doesn't work anymore. The world is different. We tried the "one size fits all" now for a long time. We have more children left behind than ever.

Let's look at personalizing learning and competency-based system models. How about learning modules that are available when a student needs an answer or a question? How about teachers as personal learning coaches?

I am going to showcase different schools and innovation centers where the focus is on learning and meeting the needs of each student. Are you with me?

I submitted an idea for the Grand Challenge about Designing Creative Learning Environments. Check it out. Vote. Comment. Leave a comment here.