Word is that iNACOL is finally going to announce a new name at next week’s Symposium in Palm Springs. Thank goodness. It’s been challenging for the field to have one of the biggest gatherings to happen under an umbrella of online learning. It’s made it much more difficult for us to talk about technology as a tool not a solution when one of the leading organizations in competency education emphasizes online delivery modes. So next year we will be hopefully be gathering under a new umbrella!
I did a quick skim of the agenda for competency-based sessions.Here are a few that caught my attention.
- Wed 2:15 pm – School Culture and Continuous Improvement in a Competency-Based System. Creating a competency based learning culture that is sustainable is no easy task. Participants will hear from three schools. The journey including the peaks and valleys the schools have gone through will be shared. We will discuss and share different methods that we used to build a strong competency based culture where educators and learners strive with the mindset of continuous improvement. Participants will leave with ideas and possible action steps toward a competency based system. (Presenters: Bil Pfaffendorf, Scot Bingham, Terry Schmalz)
- Tue 10:00 am – Building Understanding of Competency Education and Changing Grading Practices. Are competencies and standards the same? How do you assess competencies? Why do we create rubrics and convert them to points? Should measurement of learning be punitive? In this session, we will dive deep into these questions by providing an alternative approach to traditional grading. Through a series of activities, participants will engage with the Learning What Matters competency model and leave the session with a fresh perspective on how six schools in the Building 21 network assess students. (Presenters: Thomas Gaffey, Sandra Moumoutjis)
- Tue 4:00 pm – Competency-Based High School Redesign: Common Pitfalls and How To Plan For Them. Using the experience of Kankakee High School, which undertook a transformational school redesign effort in the Fall of 2018, we will analyze five especially problematic implementation challenges, their responses, and the resulting lessons learned. There will be an emphasis on applying these lessons in the planning stages of a CBE implementation. Participants will leave with an understanding of how they are likely to be challenged in these five domains and practical ways to address them head-on. (Presenters: Brent Johnston, Chip Linehan, Felice Hybert, Sandra Moumoutjis)
- Tue 2:15 pm – The Future Now is Kettle Moraine: Learning Competencies Not Learning Standards. Hear about the journey of Kettle Moraine School District as they moved from curriculum-based instruction to standards-based instruction and are now utilizing competency-based learning. Leaders from elementary through high school will share the lessons learned, paradigm shifts needed and resources used to foster the shift to competency-based learning. Resources shared will help participants determine readiness to make a shift and plan for their journey to a competency-based learning system. (Presenters: Laura Dahm, Kevin Erickson, Theresa Ewald, David Tong, Eric Moore, Katherine Bihr)
- Wed 10:00 am – You Can Do Standards-Based Grading (SBG) Without Competency-Based Education (CBE), But You Can’t Do CBE Without SBG. In competency-based learning (CBL) systems, grades are about what students learn, not what they earn. The philosophy and structures of standards-based grading (SBG) provide guidance for schools looking to develop a comprehensive CBL model in their school. In this session, participants will hear from two leaders in the field who have worked with educators in a variety of settings to develop and support CBL “friendly” grading systems in their schools. Participants will leave this session with concrete information and develop realistic next steps. (Presenters: Brian Stack, Ken O’Connor)