New Paper on Student Supports in Competency-Based Environments

In December 2012, CompetencyWorks released The Learning Edge: Supporting Student Success in a Competency-Based Learning EnvironmentThe paper delves into the fourth element of the definitionStudents receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs. Understanding how to structure supports is important because learning in a competency-based environment means that students and adults are often on the edge of their comfort zone and competence—the learning edge. This page is designed to make it easy for you to find the links and resources that are mentioned in the paper. 
 Support in a Competency-Based Environment
 There are two necessary ingredients for creating learning-edge supports in which students are continually progressing in building and applying skills.

A.  Growth Mindset Creates Opportunities to Learn
It starts with a growth mindset that values all of us as works in progress. It’s the joy of learning that motivates all of us to do our best. We have to let go of fixed mindsets that make us afraid of taking risks that might lead to failure. We must have a culture that understands failure is temporary, focusing one’s efforts, and that support exists to conquer the challenge.” — Don Siviski, Superintendent of Instruction at the Maine Department of Education

B. Learning That is Grounded in Relationships and Anchored by Assessment

 Design Principles
 PRINCIPLE 1: Build a Culture rooted in a growth mindset that supports risk taking and help seeking.

 PRINCIPLE 2: Utilize Assessments that are transparent, ongoing, and provide meaningful feedback to support student learning and agency.

 PRINCIPLE 3: Develop Embedded, Tiered, and Timely Interventions for just-in-time support that leads to successfully meeting or exceeding the learning targets.

 PRINCIPLE 4: Develop Extended Opportunities to Learn within and beyond traditional school times and settings, including internships, online learning, project-based learning, summer classes, and more.

 PRINCIPLE 5: Know the Whole Student and seek to understand their life and their learning.
Read the article in Education Week exploring competency education at Newfound Regional High School in Bristol, New Hampshire and other schools.

 PRINCIPLE 6: Implement a Continuous Improvement System that responds to keep students within or above pacing expectations.


Chris Sturgis

Chris Sturgis was the co-founder of CompetencyWorks, the go-to source about competency education. Her knowledge of modern education models have developed by visiting over 100 schools that are leading the way in the U.S. and New Zealand. In 2018, she was awarded Outstanding Individual Contribution to Personalized Learning Award by iNACOL (now Aurora Institute). You can find more articles about personalized, mastery learning approaches at LearningEdge.

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