Competency Based Learning

From Coder Merlin
Within these castle walls be forged Mavens of Computer Science ...
— Merlin, The Coder

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Competency-Based Learning: Constructing and Phrasing Indicators of Learning[edit]

Competency-Based Learning (CBL) focuses on the mastery of specific skills or competencies as the primary goal of education, rather than the accumulation of credit hours or grades. In CBL, learners must demonstrate their mastery of each competency before moving on to the next. Therefore, it's crucial to construct and phrase indicators of learning in a way that clearly communicates what the learner should be able to do.

Here are some guidelines for constructing and phrasing indicators of learning in a competency-based system:

  1. Action-Oriented Verbs: Use action verbs that denote the skill or ability the learner should be able to demonstrate. For example, verbs like "create," "analyze," "design," "implement," "evaluate," etc., are effective in this regard.
  2. Clear and Concise Language: The indicators should be written in clear, straightforward language that is easily understandable by all stakeholders, including students, teachers, and parents.
  3. Observable Outcomes: The indicators should be observable and measurable. It should be clear when a student has or hasn't demonstrated the competency.
  4. Alignment with Competencies: Each indicator should align with a specific competency. There should be a direct and clear connection between what the student is expected to learn and the indicator of learning.
  5. Consider Various Levels of Mastery: Indicators should be constructed to reflect different levels of mastery (e.g., beginning, developing, proficient, advanced), which can provide a more nuanced understanding of a student's progress and abilities.
  6. Real-World Application: Whenever possible, indicators should be tied to real-world applications of the competency. This can help make the learning more relevant and meaningful to the students.

Here are some examples of well-constructed learning indicators for a Computer Science course:

  • "Analyze and evaluate different algorithms for their efficiency and effectiveness."
  • "Design and implement a database system to manage and manipulate data."
  • "Create a user-friendly web application using front-end and back-end technologies."
  • "Demonstrate the ability to write clean, efficient, and well-documented code."
  • "Collaborate with a team to develop and deliver a software product."

Each of these indicators uses an action verb, specifies an observable outcome, aligns with a specific competency, and has real-world application.