#41: Conflict with Competency Based Assessments

Would you ever think that Justin Bieber would be the starting point for one of our conversations? Though it may sound crazy, that’s where we begin today, discussing what is possible through social media and technology, since there is no better poster-child for the subject. As always, we’re talking about what learning is and how to make it more relevant. Stay with us for a meaningful discussion about learning, competency, assessment, politics, and more.

“The fear is that high achievers will not be rewarded with a non-traditional model of learning.”

Today’s show revolves around a recent article about Maine’s move to proficiency (or competency)-based assessments. In the article, arguments against these assessments were presented, and although neither of us are fans of giving grades in the current state, we have mixed reviews of the opinion stated. Proficiency-based assessments change the role of teachers and shift attention to those students who are struggling. The common response to these assessments shows how deeply-rooted tradition is regarding what schools have to be and how grading has become increasingly difficult for teachers AND parents to understand. 

The article shows that there hasn’t been enough investment in proficiency-based assessments to communicate the intent. Students will push back because they’ve been trained in the traditional system, and it could –and should–take several years to implement a new system. Communication will be key, as it beats compliance every time. Does it really make sense to repeal a learning system, grading system, and teaching system that has existed for so long? The bottom line is that everyone is scared to do things differently. For any new learning system to bring change in education, we have to be intentional in the process and be willing to invest the necessary time.

Check out additional podcasts where we discuss more about undoing traditional grading practices.

 

 

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Will Richardson

Co-founder of Modernlearners.com and Change School. Author, speaker, instigator, surfcaster, husband, and father to two amazing young adults.

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