As educational systems increasingly focus on what is best for students and how educators can support students in their pursuit of learning, Competency Based Education has risen to the forefront of practices and philosophies that actually work. Competency Based Education includes a shift from thinking about what a teacher has taught, to what a student has learned and can demonstrate. Traditional educational systems may include behavior, attendance, and effort when calculating a student’s grade. Competency Based Education removes these factors from the academic grade, focusing solely on the content standards that a student is expected to learn. This separation will allow more transparency for teachers, students, and parents to best understand where a student is thriving and areas that are more challenging and need more focus and support.
Competency Education & Grading
What is a Competency
At its most basic level, a competency is a learning standard that a student must demonstrate the ability to achieve. Competencies include knowledge, skills, and abilities that a student is charged with mastering through the learning process. A competency is achieved when a student demonstrates, through performance and over a period of time with multiple attempts, that they can use the knowledge, skills, and abilities learned. All competencies are measured against the Rubric Indicators noted in the Grade Scale below. In a true competency based system, a student’s demonstration of competency could occur any time, any place, in multiple ways, and are not bound by a school year or a specific assessment.
Competency Based Grading
Grading a competency should be fluid and support an individual student’s growth based on their readiness to learn. In a competency based system, a student’s grade should reflect their trend in demonstrating their learning over a period of time. As such, more recent grades should be the best indication of a student’s proficiency of a competency, and should be weighted more than previous grades when a student may have had less time to create meaning or simply did not have as strong a grasp on a concept or skill. Likewise, if a student’s score trends downward throughout a unit of study, this indicates that the student is not mastering the content. Trending scores should only be calculated after several assessments have been attempted.
Chichester Central School Grading Scale
E – Exceeds
The student has consistently and independently demonstrated the ability to analyze and synthesize content specific knowledge and skills in a new task, across content areas, or in an authentic experience.
M – Meets
The student has consistently and independently demonstrated the ability to apply content and skills in at given task.
P – Progressing
The student demonstrates partial proficiency and is progressing toward
B – Beginning
The student does not yet understand key concepts and skills and is working toward this competency goal.
IE – Insufficient Evidence
Student has not provided evidence of learning.
NYA – Not Yet Assessed
The specific skills have not been assessed at this point in the school year.
The term competency-based education, as defined by CompetencyWorks, refers to a systems model in which (1) teaching and learning are designed to ensure students are becoming proficient by advancing on demonstrated mastery and (2) schools are organized to provide timely and differentiated support to ensure equity. A competency-based structure enables personalized learning to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery of the highest standards possible. With clear and calibrated understanding of proficiency, learning can be tailored to each student’s strengths, needs, and interests and enable student voice and choice in what, how, when, and where they learn.
- Students advance upon demonstrated mastery.
- Competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students.
- Assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students.
- Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.
- Learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.
You will have many questions as we make this shift this year. As a way to begin to answer your questions and develop a list of information to frequently asked questions, please use this google form in order to pose questions. http://bit.ly/CCScompetencyquestions
Competency Based Education FAQ
Chichester Central School is moving to competency based grading for the 2018-2019 school year. This FAQ page is meant to help answer some of those frequently asked questions that have come from parents, students, and community members about competency based grading. You may visit this link if you have additional questions :http://bit.ly/CCScompetencyquestions
Will the grading be the same in HS and how does this affect the way a college looks at a students grades?
Grading by competency is the same at the high school, except that (currently) PA is using both letters and numbers when reporting competency scores. The only other difference is that CCS chose to use slightly different terms for this year and next. Colleges know and understand competency based systems and many are actually moving in this direction each year.
The following is from a SAU #53 publication on competency based grading:
The competency movement in education is not a new thing. It was born out of conversations between teachers and their ultimate audiences, colleges and the workforce. These conversations revolved around what colleges and workplaces were looking for in the next generation of students, employees, citizens, and leaders. They took into account the changing nature of our world as we become a technology and service oriented society. To that point, education had been working on a nineteenth century model built for an industrialized nation.
These stakeholders had the unique opportunity to rethink a more modern approach to learning, which has since become known as the competency based education system. Just like the work environment, students are asked to demonstrate what they know and can do. They are no longer simply being asked to give back information they have received; rather, they must own that knowledge, put it into practice, and do something with what they know. More important, they are being asked to solve problems, collaborate, communicate, and show resilience when they do not succeed on the first try.
In the infancy of this work, K-12 educators were concerned that it would hurt a student’s chances to get into selective colleges or universities, or that we are not truly preparing students for the workforce as students could make up failed or missing assignments. Fortunately, neither situation has occurred. Even the most selective colleges understand the competency movement and many higher education institutions are incorporating the model as well. Even in the workforce, supervisors recognize the strength of having employees who solve problems, demonstrate resilience, and have flexible thinking that can allow a company or a team to innovate.
In all, colleges and workplaces appreciate the students who come from a Competency Based Education System.
How does this competency based grading work for a student with an IEP?
In a Competency Based Education System, our goal is to use competencies to individualize grading for all students. By connecting all assessments to competencies (and in some cases specific performance indicators), we get a much better sense as to what a student knows and is able to do. For students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP), the IEP will reflect the student's present level of ability and their goals. The present level of ability and the goals should inform the teacher of the grade level competencies on which the student should be assessed and evaluated. For example, if a fourth grade student is achieving at a second grade level in reading, and the IEP has them being assessed at a second grade level, then the teacher should be using second grade reading competencies. Our goal is that the student achieves at the expected second grade level in reading and that we can eventually scaffold in third grade competencies as the student progresses.
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