Competency Based Education Explained

Gilford Middle School Competency Based Education (CBE)


As most of you know during our remote learning experience last spring we transitioned to “competency based education” here at the middle school. This is similar both to the “standards based education” at the elementary school and CBE at the high school. I wanted to take this time to refresh your memories about the move to CBE (and what it will look like) and to introduce this to new families to our school district.


Below are some frequently asked questions:

Why are we transitioning to CBE? - The New Hampshire Department of Education mandated that by 2015 all high schools should develop competencies for graduation. By 2017, all K-8 schools should develop competencies.

Which begs a second question: Seeing that it is 2020, are we lagging behind? - Not really. About half of middle schools in the state have already made the transition. After speaking with area schools that have already done this, they cautioned me to take our time and make sure that we get most of our “ducks in a row” before taking the next step; we have been working on developing these competencies over the past couple of years.

What is the goal of CBE? - The primary goal of CBE is to increase transparency for students, parents and teachers. It no longer averages “the hodgepodge” of accumulated points. Instead, it clearly communicates what each student knows and is able to do according to content competencies/standards.

How is feedback different in CBE? - Traditional grading averages all of the work and other subjective factors (effort, extra credit, participation, behavior, homework completion, etc.). CBE removes these factors and focuses on student learning. CBE assesses a student’s overall work, using the most recent evidence. What this really tells us is what a student has learned, rather than an average of accumulated points.

Why are grades not strictly averaged in CBE? - Students are to be assessed on the content competencies/standards in a variety of ways and have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their level of mastery. This allows for a clear picture of current student achievement. An averaged grade doesn’t give an authentic representation of what a student has learned and is currently able to do.

What if students are struggling to meet a competency? - It is critical to empower students to keep track of their own growth and provide them with multiple opportunities to make progress towards meeting a competency. Through the use of rubrics, differentiated instruction, and continuous feedback, all students will be able to demonstrate growth in their learning. When students do not meet a competency they will be given the opportunity to create a plan with their teacher to continue working and take multiple/or alternative assessments. For some students this will mean putting in additional time; during the school day, after school, or at home.

How will student achievement be communicated to students and parents? - Instead of using “traditional” letter grades, we will use the verbiage in the table below:


 

Key

Proficiency Rating

Proficiency Statement

NA

Not Yet Assessed

This competency is not currently being assessed.

IE

Insufficient Evidence

The student has not yet produced sufficient work to assess competence.

NC

Not Meeting Competency

The student is not meeting course level competencies and is working below grade level standards.

AC

Approaching Competency

With assistance, the student is beginning to meet course level competencies and is approaching grade level standards.

MC

Meeting Competency

The student is meeting course level competencies, independently, and is working at grade level standards.

EC

Exceeds Competency

The student consistently and independently applies learned competencies in multiple ways and is working above grade level standards.

 



The student consistently and independently applies learned competencies in multiple ways and is working above grade level standards.


By which method will parents and students monitor progress? - All stakeholders will be able monitor progress towards mastery via our online portal, Alma. We will not need to share information in the same method as last Spring.

Specifically, what are the competencies to be met in each course? - Please refer below to the competencies being covered in each class.


Language Arts

Foundational Reading Skills

Students will read to make meaning while flexibly using a variety of strategies, applying and extending literacy skills with increasing independence.

Reading Literature

Students will comprehend and draw conclusions about the author’s intent when reading a variety of increasingly complex print and non-print literary texts, citing a range of relevant and compelling textual evidence to support their analyses.

Reading Literature

Students will comprehend and draw conclusions about the author’s intent in a variety of increasingly complex print and non-print informational texts, citing a range of relevant and compelling textual evidence to support their analyses.

Narrative Writing

Students will produce clear, coherent, and effective informative writing for a range of types, purposes, and audiences.

Informational Writing

Students will be able to develop a conclusion that summarizes or synthesizes key information presented in support of a central idea.

Opinion/Argument Writing

Students will produce clear, coherent, and effective opinion/argument writing for a range of text types*, purposes, and audiences.

Speaking-Listening, and Language

Students will initiate and participate effectively in speaking-listening for a variety of purposes and audiences (e.g., informal discussions, formal presentations), responding respectfully and appropriately to diverse perspectives, and expressing ideas clearly and purposefully.

Inquiry, Investigation, & Research

Students will engage in group and individual research to investigate, analyze, integrate, and present information, demonstrating an understanding of the use of credible and relevant sources.


Mathematics

Number Sense and Systems

Students will be able to build fluency skills, appropriately use algorithms, reason abstractly, manipulate and interpret symbolic expressions and equations, solve problems and explain/defend their solution.

Expressions and Equations

Students will be able to create and evaluate expressions and equations to represent and analyze quantitative relationships, solve problems and identify equivalence.

Proportionality, Patterns and Relationships

Students will be able to make use of structure to describe and compare situations that involve proportionality, change or patterns and use the information to make conjectures and justify conclusions/solutions.

Geometry and Measurement

Students will solve problems using precise measurements, properties of 2- and 3- dimensional shapes to analyze, and represent and model geometric relationships in theoretical and authentic contexts.

Probability Data Analysis

Students will design investigations/conduct probability experiments, analyze data, draw conclusions, make predictions and create visual representations of the information.


Science

Scientific Methods

Students will be able to conduct investigations to answer questions, draw conclusions, research and present findings, and evaluate scientific claims for validity.

Models

Students will be able to design and utilize a model to explain and justify the possible effects of change within a system.

Patterns/Systems

Students will be able to understand that there are observable, predictable patterns in nature and that systems interact and influence each other.

Cause and Effect

Students will be able to investigate cause and effect relationships in order to explain the mechanisms driving change.


Social Studies

Cause and Inquiry

Students will be able to create and answer questions to independently draw and support conclusions using evidence.

Application of Concepts

Students will be able to apply knowledge of content to the world around them in a purposeful, meaningful way.

Evaluating Sources

Students will be able to gather, evaluate, and critique sources to determine bias, point of view, and credibility.

Communication

Students will be able to present information in a focused and coherent manner with consideration of purpose and audience.


Modern Language

Interpersonal Communication

Students will be able to interact and negotiate meaning in spoken or written conversations to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions.

Interpretation

Students will be able to understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard or read on a variety of topics.

Presentation

Students will be able to present ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics.

Cultures

Students will be able to investigate, explain and reflect on the products, practices and the perspectives of the cultures studied and compare these cultures to their own.


Computer Technology

Knowledge Constructor

Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to make meaning for themselves and others by critically constructing resources through the use of digital tools.

Innovative Designer

Students will be able to use critical thinking skills to solve problems creating new, useful or imaginative solutions with digital tools and resources.

Creative Communicator

Students will be able to communicate clearly and creatively using digital media appropriate to their goals and purposes.




Art

Process

Students will demonstrate the ability to design a solution for a given problem within a specific art form.

Performance

Students will demonstrate the proper use/understanding of medium, tools, and techniques.

Presentation

Students will present a finished project that has quality craftsmanship.


Performing Arts (Theatre)

Creating

Students will be able to write, improvise and record the dialogue of the original stories that they have created (including setting, characters and plot).

Performing

Students will be able to realize artistic ideas and work through interpretation and presentation of a play, scene or skit.

Responding

Students will be able to critique and express their opinion of the performances and technical elements of live theatre productions

Connecting

Students will be able to explain how theatre can be used as a teaching tool to help with social issues and problems.


Performing Arts (Music, Band & Chorus)

Create

Students will be able to learn to apply skills and language to understand and interpret musical notation.

Perform

Students will be able to apply the skills and language of music by analyzing, interpreting, and selecting musical works for presentation.

Respond & Connect

Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge in analyzing, describing and evaluating music and performances using correct terminology, with the ability to critically judge.


Health

Personal Health

Students will be able to make decisions and goals that will promote a healthy lifestyle.

Information and Influences

Students will be able to use information and understand influences to encourage healthy behaviors.

Communication and Advocacy

Students will be able to use effective interpersonal communication and advocacy skills for personal health.


Physical Education

Motor Skills

Students will be able to demonstrate a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.

Strategies & Tactics

Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance and will understand the value of physical movement as a lifetime skill.

Guidance

Academics

Students will be able to identify attitudes and behaviors that lead to successful learning; they will be able to identify the study habits which best suit their learning style.

Personal/Social

Students will be able to understand the need for self-control and how to practice it. They will also be able to recognize, accept, respect and appreciate individual differences.

Career Exploration

Students will be able to identify personal skills, interests and abilities and relate them to possible career choices.


Reading

Comprehension

Students are able to comprehend and draw conclusions about the author’s intent.

Responding to Literature

Students are able to convey understanding of text through clear, coherent answers in written form.

Independent Reading

Students are able to read independently on a consistent basis during remote learning.




As we move forward through the trimester, I will share with you more information regarding our transition to CBE. My personal goal is that students will focus more on learning than just simply the traditional letter grade. As we know, high schools and colleges do not look at middle school grades once they “move up” so it is critical that deep learning takes place for students so that they are able to transfer those skills/knowledge to high school and beyond. Thank you.


Take care,


Peter
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