Read the Vermont AOE's What is Proficiency-Based Learning? and Why is Proficiency-Based Learning Important? documents for a brief vision statement that synthesizes key scholarly resources.
Answer the following questions:
- What are two questions the documents raise for you about proficiencies and proficiency-based education?
- How would you explain the value in proficiency-based learning to a skeptical colleague or parent?
- How is the vision of proficiency-based learning presented in the two documents different than what is happening in your school or union now?
Practice the Process
Examine three sets of standards below that Vermont educators are using:
- Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards
- Next Generation Science Standards
- Family and Community Science Education Grade Expectations
- National Core Arts Standards
- ISTE Standards
- World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages
- National Health Education Standards
Answer the questions below about the transferable skill Clear and Effective Communication:
- Where do you see evidence of Clear and Effective Communication in these standards?
- How can proficiencies help make the assessment of Clear and Effective Communication more manageable across content areas?
Answer the above questions again, using another transferable skill.
Adopt and Adapt
- How are standards represented in the proficiency documents?
- How are multiple standards connected to one performance indicator?
- What do you like about the sample proficiency documents? What might you change?
Case Study Analysis
Read the case study below:
The curriculum leaders at Proficiency High School worked very hard to create their transferable skills. They used the ILN Knowledge Skills and Dispositions CCR Framework and focused first on skills and dispositions.
Skills included critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, effective communication, metacognition, self-awareness, learning how to learn, time management, creativity, and innovation. Performance indicators were written for each skill at the 9-10 level and at the 11-12 level. They decided that feedback for the dispositions described in the framework would be best included in the curriculum as student self-assessment and narrative assessment rather than through a set of performance indicators.
After implementing and reporting out on transferable skills and dispositions for a year, the curriculum leaders decided it was time to take the next step in the process: creating content proficiency statements.
Mr. Standard, the school’s curriculum coordinator, told all the curriculum teams to look at their standards and highlight where they saw overlap with the transferable skills. It was clear to the math teachers, the science teachers, and the social studies teachers where the overlaps were and they were well on their way. The English teachers on the other hand struggled. They noted almost all their skills were already covered in the school-wide transferable skills. They asked Mr. Standard, did the school even need English teachers anymore?
Answer the following question:
If you were Mr. Standard, how would you help the English teachers understand their role in this proficiency-based education?
- Nellie Mae Education Foundation's "Ready for College and Career?" publication for an overview of how student-centered deeper learning can help students achieve the Common Core Standards and prepare for college and career success.
- CompetencyWorks and iNACOL's "What is Competency Education?" publication (which informed the AOE's vision of proficiency-based education) for an overview of the key elements of competency- and proficiency-based education.
- Knowledge Works and iNACOL's "Laying the Foundation for Competency Education" policy guide (which informed the AOE's vision of proficiency-based education) for an overview of the growing national shift to competency- and proficiency-based education and for policy recommendations to support this shift.
- Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s “Looking Under the Hood of Competency-Based Education: The Relationship Between Competency-Based Education Practices and Students’ Learning Skills, Behaviors, and Dispositions” for a study about how competency- and proficiency-based education can change students learning behaviors.
- iNACOL’s “When Success Is the Only Option: Designing Competency-Based Pathways for Next Generation Learning” for insight into opportunities, challenges, and exemplars of competency- and proficiency-based learning.
Evidence of Learning
Be sure to record your answers to the above questions in the Evidence of Learning Tool.
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