College Preparatory School for Girls Grades 3-12

Competency-based Learning

Competency-based Learning at Holton prioritizes agency, encourages adaptability, and reflects the cultures and expectations our students will encounter in the future.

Core Elements

  • The essential skills [competencies] include explicit, measurable, transferable learning outcomes that empower those students.
  • Assessment is a meaningful, positive learning experience.
  • Students receive timely, differentiated learning support based on their individual needs.
  • Learning experiences emphasize application and creation of knowledge, in addition to the development of essential skills and dispositions.

Essential Goals

  • Agency: Students learn best when they feel ownership - a voice and a choice. Teachers are mentors and coaches rather than just instructors.
  • Equity: In order to combat systemic inequities, CBL meets all students where they are. With diverse teams of educators, schools develop and provide individualized learning opportunities and a culture of care.
  • Transfer: Students learn to extend what has been learned in one context into other contexts. They seek to apply their knowledge and skills to address real world issues and connect to their community.
Why Competency-based Learning?

From the Student Perspective:

  • Empowers students through student-centered education
  • When done well and with intention, students know what they are learning, why they are learning, and how to demonstrate mastery.

From the Educator Perspective:

  • To empower students as active participants in the learning process who can use the same language their educators use to self-assess and advocate for themselves.
  • Establishes a common understanding of quality in performance
What Does Adopting Competency-Based Learning Mean?

⇨ From Content-Driven to Skills-Driven

  • The goal is to leverage content in service of the development of core competencies and learning outcomes.”  Students and teachers understand why the content is relevant to competencies and outcomes.

⇨ From Time-Based to Performance-Based

  • Focused on the acquisition of essential skills and understandings with time built in for student practice and reflection

⇨ From Grading to Feedback

  • Feedback occurs during the learning process
  • Rubrics are used

⇨ From Lessons to Experiences

  • Use of performance-based assessments
  • Students receive  feedback about the their learning process and skill development

⇨ From Educator-Designed to Co-Designed

  • Taking student goals and interests into account
  • More of a facilitator role than instructor, guiding them towards discoveries

Competencies in the Classroom