In support of our mission to improve student learning and achievement for all students, we call for societal changes that:
It takes skilled assessment practitioners to implement Competency-Based Education well. Teachers and students need just-in-time information for each individual student to know where they are in their learning, and where they are ready to grow. This calls for skilled use of performance assessment and of the formative assessment process, which includes such elements as self-assessment, peer assessment, and instructive teacher feedback. Educators also will need to think differently about grading student learning and advancing them along their learning pathway.
Researcher Kathrine Casey points to four assessment literacy capabilities educators need to be successful in C-BE environments:
Teacher Learning Progression: Assessment for Learning (2Revolutions)
Teacher Learning Progression: Performance Assessment (2Revolutions)
Competency-Based Education (C-BE) is a form of personalized learning that supports all students in achieving deep understanding and application of high academic expectations and personal success goals. Education leaders from across the Michigan (and the nation) endorse these primary components as a working definition of Competency-Based Education:
Deeper Competency-Based Learning: Making Equitable, Student-Center, Sustainable Shifts, Hess, Karin; Colby, Rose; Joseph, Daniel . Corwin, 2020
"Personalized, competency-based systems have the ability to empower individuals and enable educators to disrupt the historical dynamic of sorting students and replace it with one that seeks to educate 100% of students including those that may have had their education interrupted and desire to complete their diploma."*
Competency-Based Education is embraced by the Michigan Department of Education as a strategy that supports Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan. When implemented well and supported by high-quality assessment practices, C-BE helps create equitable learning opportunities for students by:
*from Sturgis, C. and Casey, K., Designing for Equity: Leveraging Competency-Based Education to Ensure All Students Succeed, 2018.
Competency-based systems seek to reduce variability in what is to be learned and what it means to demonstrate mastery. C-BE engages teachers and students in focusing on the essential skills (or model competencies) that lead to mastery of Michigan’s standards and goals for graduates. Essential skills are the core concepts and skills that students need to know deeply so that they are ready for each new level of learning. As such, essential skills act as the building blocks for coherent learning trajectories, curricula, and assessments that support Tier 1 instruction for students as they move through their education toward career and college readiness. Within a C-BE model, students can move through this trajectory in their own way, at their own pace.
A shift to C-BE approach asks educators to make significant changes in their practice, including in how they assess and evaluate student work. The MAC is here to help you achieve the assessment capabilities you will need. We offer a wide range of professional development opportunities and resources and are working with partners to expand a set of performance assessments connected to Michigan’s content standards.
Featured resources include: recorded webinars and expert interviews; and readings explaining components and elements of the formative assessment process (FAP), performance assessment, and other practices that support learning.
In this MAC Book Chat, author Jay McTighe discusses his book, "Assessing Student Learning by Design: Principles and Practices for Teachers and School Leaders" (Teachers College Press, 2021). Jay also co-authored with Grant Wiggins the best-selling "Understanding by Design" published by ASCD.
CompetencyWorks, at the Aurora Institute, is a knowledge-building hub and online resource providing information about K-12 competency-based education.
The recorded presentation with Ed Roeber, Assessment Director, MAC, and accompanying article Re-balancing Assessment by Hoffman, Goodwin and Kahl set the stage to create a set of prioritized standards and develop performance assessments to embed in ongoing instruction and highlight the benefits of collaboratively scoring student work
This Learning Point summarizes a framework for curriculum elements and assessment principles that address all the learning goals we have for modern learners/21st century learners.
This tool defines an IEA - which integrates instruction, learning and assessment into instructional sequences. Steps to implement IEA's in classroom use are recommended. A table of IEA's with hyperlinks to examples is provided for quick access and further learning
In this Learning Moment video, author Jay McTighe answers the question, ""What assessment capabilities will be most helpful to educators who are implementing a competency-based education model?" October 7, 2021
In this Learning Moment video, author Jay McTighe answers the question, "What key competencies are needed for a student to be 'college and career ready?"-3.4.20.
In this Learning Moment video, author Jay McTighe answers the question, "What are the benefits of "mapping the curriculum" in terms of desired performances rather than simply in terms of content to cover?"- 3.4.20.
In this ALN Learning Moment video, Margaret Heritage answers the question, "Why do students need to be partners in the assessment process?"- 2.13.17.
Performance assessment is defined, and its use described, in this Learning Point.
Harrison, C. A., & Heritage, M. (2019). The Power of Assessment for Learning: 20 years of research and practice in UK and US schools. Sage Publications. https://www.amazon.com/Power-Assessment-Learning-Research-Classrooms/dp/1544361