In Westminster Public Schools’ authentic Learner-centered, Competency Based System, learners work on curricular content that is at their current level of knowledge and skill regardless of their chronological age. In contrast, a time-based system requires many learners to work on content that is too easy or too difficult, simply because the learner is at a certain chronological age or in a certain grade level. Our system of Competency Based Education allows learners to progress as necessary for them to master specific content in every subject area; time-based education does not.
Our curriculum is designed to be guaranteed and viable in the following content areas which in turn are divided in Performance Levels:
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Figure 1: Competency Based Schematic Design
The Content Areas, Performance Levels, Strands, Domains and Learning Targets are located on the District Wiki and can be accessed at the following link: http://wiki.adams50.org/mediawiki/index.php/SBS:Main
What is a guaranteed and viable curriculum?
A guaranteed curriculum is what IS imperative to teach – a curriculum that is communicated to all stakeholders against which we hold ourselves accountable.
A viable curriculum is what IS realistically taught during the time available
What are Domains?
Domains are related essential learning elements that are organized into strands that are commonly taught in conjunction with each other.
What are Learning Targets?
Learning Targets are the skills and knowledge in which learners need to demonstrate proficiency – essentially they are the Score 3.0’s on the Scoring Guide.
Why are Learning Targets useful?
Learning Targets are the essential learning’s that all students are expected to know, understand, and be able to do as measured by common defined Scoring Guides and Capacity Matrices.
What are Performance Indicators?
Performance Indicators are the skills that scaffold to the Learning Target (vocabulary, details, and processes) essentially these are the Score 2.0’s on the Scoring Guide.
What are the BIG IDEAS behind Domains and Learning Targets?
- Teachers and students need to be clear on what they need to know and be able to do if rigorous and enduring learning is to occur.
- A guaranteed viable curriculum is essential to increase student achievement.
- Ultimately the use of the Measurement Topics and Learning Targets will make collaboration, planning, teaching and learning more effective.
How do students choose which Learning Targets to learn? Can they combine multiple Learning Targets into one project?
Learners can pick an area of personal or general interest from a class or thematic unit and determine which Learning Targets (one or more) across several content areas could be demonstrated and mastered by a single project. This allows learners to “double-dip” with regard to Learning Targets.
Can you describe the “Personal Social” content area?
In our Learner-centered, Competency Based System, we have separated learner behaviors from academic performance. This means that we support and hold our learners accountable for developing both academically and personally. It also means that a learner’s demonstrated academic performance in any content is not negatively impacted when a learner does not meet expected performance in the Personal Social Standards at any point in time. For instance, if a learner does not “turn in an assignment on time” they do not receive a zero. Instead they must conference with their teacher to determine how they will provide evidence toward meeting the academic standard while also developing a goal to meet the expected level in the appropriate Personal Social standard.
The Personal Social Standards and Learning Targets can be found at the following link: http://wiki.adams50.org/mediawiki/index.php/SBS:Personal_v3
A video explaining the District’s expectations regarding the Personal Social Standards is available here: https://media.adams50.org/groups/learningservicesvideos/wiki/59bfd/Personal_Social.html