Offering Retakes is Not Competency Based Learning

One of my colleagues asked a question that inspired this post. Based on what she is seeing as her own school makes the shift, her question was, “Is having a student take the same test over and over again until they pass it, really proficiency based learning”? In Vermont we use the term proficiency which is interchangeable with competency. Competency …

3 Ways to Get Buy-in for Radical School Changes

Getting buy-in for radical school changes is a common complaint of school leaders. It is important to remember how you got to the point of believing a certain change was necessary. There was probably a learning process; you read books, heard podcasts, saw a compelling keynote speaker or heard something from a student that convinced you. Those experiences were all processed …

school innovation

Is There a Right Direction for Education?

The education community has frequently been accused of a swinging pendulum effect; implementing one initiative after another and then swinging back to the original. This has caused an inordinate amount of skepticism and apathy amongst long time teachers who don’t believe any innovation is worth implementing since it will just go by the wayside eventually, leaving all their hard work …

Marketing for School Change

Communicating About School Change I have been thinking about marketing a lot these days.  We want to communicate with stakeholders about school change projects but the language can be a huge barrier and can increase fear because it is so unfamiliar.  I have been playing around with messaging and documents. I have been focusing on communication methods.  But, I think …

Solutions to Test Prep

I was recently in Texas for South by Southwest Edu and I spoke with some teachers who are bound by some very strict instructional limitations because of what they identify as testing requirements.  At a recent conference in Baltimore, we heard from someone who was actually docked pay because of test scores.  These people always say that they must teach …

Do We have Three Heads?

Embracing Change I’m excited to take part in #IMMOOC, another brilliant and innovative idea by George Couros! This blog post is in response to the blog prompt “How are you embracing change to spur  innovation in your own context?” Two years ago Vermont enacted legislation requiring high schools to use proficiency-based graduation requirements rather than carnegie units and seat time. …

proficiency-based instruction

Designing Proficiency-Based Instruction

As I work with teachers to rethink their classrooms considering proficiency-based instruction, it has become clear that instruction will naturally become more explicit. As people question how a transition to proficiency-based learning might impact students receiving special education services or less self-directed students, I am becoming more confident that because teachers are being so much more deliberate in their instruction, …