Competency based learning (competency based education) is the new buzz word. Below are a collection of pieces showing the new direction common core and standardized testing is taking. The USDOE and Nydoe are attempting once again to pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting Americans by saying that they are reviewing testing, due to the enormous backlash from both parties. This is not what is actually happening. Tests are going to be year round, computerized, embedded, and much more stealth to offer the appearance of “listening to the parents and teachers who demand less testing.” Teachers are going to be mere tech facilitators for students to spend the majority of their day doing online tasks. The technology costs will skyrocket, and as planned, big money will be changing hands.
A parent shares her verbal statement/SRC Testimony:
“So, it looks like high-stakes testing was actually just a pit stop, not the destination. Competency or proficiency-based education is the big new thing. Having adopted core standards, departments of education nationwide are poised to match them to competencies. This is being done right now in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Before you know it, we’ll have transitioned to a new “personalized” form of education where students spend most of their days collecting badges for digital portfolios by mastering online modules. They’ll also generate vast amounts of data for workforce development, which is what public education is really all about, right?
Parents would never knowingly allow bricks and mortar schools to be turned into cyber versions of themselves. So, to make that shift more palatable, students will be offered some down time with “real-world,” “community-based” projects that have their own competencies. Some will be for non-cognitive skills, because traits like grit and teamwork are important and need to be documented as part of a child’s learning trajectory. Fortunately, it looks like the community schools model is coming onto stage just in time to serve as a perfect foil for online learning.
The average person imagines a community school approach would be about making schools strong, neighborhood anchors. But that concept is being co-opted by reformers. Through credit-bearing “Extended Learning Opportunities,” they will aim to outsource classroom instruction (in addition to school librarians, nurses, and counselors) to friendly neighborhood partners. Out-of-School Time Learning is a new growth market.
For a while teachers will be on the sidelines to coach kids through the modules, check the data dashboards, and sign off on community projects. But over time, taxpayers will start to think “maybe we don’t really need actual school buildings or teachers anymore.” “It’s so much easier to just have learning hubs with mentors who don’t have tenure or pension benefits and are paid through grants.”
“Who wants to shoulder a property tax increase for new roofs or boilers?” “Surely we can recoup some funding by selling off our aging buildings to condo developers.” And so slowly that people don’t even realize what is taking place, schools, as real physical entities, will be dissolved. Schools will have become diffused within the community, the exact opposite of an anchor.
So if you hear people start talking about “any time, anywhere, any pace learning,” pause. Do you want to outsource your child’s education to uncertified partners or computer modules? Do you consider your child “21st Century Human Capital” or part of a “Cradle to Career Civic Infrastructure?” Who even thinks up concepts like “Mass Customized Learning?” People like Tom Vander Ark are anxious to usher in a brave new era of neoliberal global education. It’s sure to make a mint for technology companies and those busily coding the newest versions of B.F. Skinner’s “teaching machines.” The question is, will we let them?”
-Alison Hawver McDowell
Philadelphia Public School Parent
Read further here. It’s crucial.
Anna Shah, Hudson Valley Alliance for Public Education and SOTHVNY Blog shares connects these dots for us:
“This is a long piece, but a very important read for all parents who are interested in understanding where NY public education is heading. Just connect the dots –
-more data collection,
-more testing not less,
-more sharing of personal student information,
-less interaction between students, teachers and classmates
-larger class sizes
-more standardization under the guise of personalized learning and
-a phase out of teaching and learning, to be replaced by technology instead of live instruction.
The SOTHVNY blog piece below runs through NYS’s development toward Competency Based Education by connecting the proverbial dots and shows how Questar Assessments fits into the CBE plan.
An excerpt from from my blog piece:
The purpose of Questar assessments in NYS:
“First, eliminate the one-to-many teaching approach. Students can’t receive personalized instruction and personalized learning when a teacher has to teach to the most common denominator. We can solve this problem with technology by giving every student a tablet device that wirelessly connects to adaptive software in the cloud — and treat them as the students’ own, personal whiteboards, with lesson plans that target their level of mastery; instruction tailored to their individual learning styles and capability levels; and learning modules presented just to them. A single assessment when students first enter the school, regardless of their age, would easily determine at what level of instruction these on-the-tablet lessons would begin.
Second, seamlessly integrate assessment with the instruction presented to each student on his or her tablet. Educators know that best-practice teaching involves instructing for five minutes, asking students a few questions to determine if they’ve understood the material, backtracking if necessary, and then moving on to the next topic. Yet most teachers don’t teach this way for two reasons: pedagogical momentum and a lack of technology that integrates instruction and assessment seamlessly so it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the class. With tablets and the right software, this approach is possible on an individualized basis: after every five minutes of individualized tablet-based instruction, students would be presented with a brief series of questions that adapt to their skill level, much as computer-adaptive tests operate today. After that assessment, the next set of instructional material would be customized according to these results. If a student needs to relearn some material, the software automatically adjusts and creates a custom learning plan on the fly. The student would then be reassessed and the cycle would continue. With both the instruction and the assessments integrated into the same software and presented as a continuous “flow” to each student, THERE IS ALMOST NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INSTRUCTION AND ASSESSMENT IN THE MIND OF A CHILD.
Third, assuming that all instructional material and formative assessments are aligned to achievement standards, there is no longer a need for students to take standard end-of-chapter tests. The formative assessments that are interwoven with their instructional materials provide sufficient data for teachers to gauge student progress through, and mastery of, each topic. Furthermore, these results are available in real time throughout the day and across days and weeks. In reality, there would be little need for interim progress reporting, since the software would reteach topics as needed to ensure full and complete mastery of subjects. However, it would be useful for teachers to know if students are falling behind significantly so they can take alternative remedial steps. Given this model, there is also the logical conclusion that real time data, when aggregated across an entire district, can also reduce or eliminate the need for district benchmark tests. There is no need for interim benchmark tests if an administrator can see, in real time, the aggregate and disaggregated performance of students across the district and their predicted performance on end-of-year summative assessments.
Fourth, eliminate grade levels. Because students progress through subject material at their own pace, they can be grouped by ability instead of grade level, similar to competency-based learning approaches currently being tried in various schools and districts. In this idealized model, grouping students by ability supports the project-based learning that is a key component to academic and social development and is used to complement the individualized learning plan provided by students’ tablets.
It would be naïve to think that such a holistic change to classroom structure and pedagogy would be easy. A number of significant funding, process, training, and political challenges would need to be addressed. But embracing a holistic change instead of trying to fit individual improvements within the current classroom structure offers us our best opportunity for true, impactful change in the learning environment. To paraphrase Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, we must be “willing to lose sight of the shore” and make uncomfortable changes to make a significant leap forward in education”.
All this begs the question, are they really listening or just barreling forward with the common core plan? Dont get too comfortable…CBE is planned for NYS.
What I am tryng to point out in this piece, is that elected officials and SED officials have been COMPLICIT in allowing this to happen. That is the whole point by providing the dots for people to see with their own eyes and connect – the point should not be missed – NYS is and has been developing a switch to CBE right under our very noses. Once you connect the dots, it is very easy to see the big picture.
Read more and connect the dots yourself:
Educator Denis Ian questions who will be held responsible;
““Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”
It’s all becoming sadly clear. This is the important reveal of the role of teachers for years to come … and it’s a very diminished role.
It seems that teachers … having been supplied everything from workbooks to lingo … will become technological “bone collectors” … gathering up data points throughout each and every day … and dutifully unloading their data-loads into the appropriate bins so that some “data reader” can pixel together a kind of ever-changing profile for every youngster.
I wonder if these data-dumps … over time … will reveal a kind of yo-yo performance (which is, after all, a very human possibility) … and I wonder who’s going to be blamed for such a disturbing learning pattern?
Can’t be the teachers, right? They had but a small role. Parents were kept in the dark, too, so they’re in the clear. Principals just made sure the technology was up and running. Can’t be them, right? So, who’s to blame for the wavy performance line bleeping across the screen?
I have a thought? How about pinning it all on the data dogs? Yeah! … those data freak-a-zoids who swore on a stack of algorithms that they had the code … the key … to unlock and then tame all of the human variables that have bugged learning since time began.
The question is simple. If they’re tripping up on the job … and if the students are producing uneven results … and if most adult involvement has been reduced to almost nothing … then shouldn’t we all crush the creators who have initiated such dreadful performances? We did that to teachers, right? Well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Time to pillory the pillory-makers.
They insisted they could save every child in every school under every circumstance. It was all just a matter of … algorithms. Is this just another software failure? I know some rich guy who’s good at software failures. And he’s not very good at education either. Maybe that’s the right explanation. I’ll bet it is.”
Michele Myers Trageser shares
“Ladies and gentleman, over the past four years, we have tried to disseminate information about what the bigger picture is in regard to the education reforms. Trying to get people to understand that it is about more than a test. In the beginning , it was not easy to find info, we really had to dig. Now however, the reformers are so confident, they put out the info. Unfortunately, not all choose to see it or connect the dots. The info about the use of iPads in the “pilot program” in Mineola. The student ambassador for the common core task force coming from a high school “supported by ” New Tech Network. They “support” hundreds so schools, But right now, just a few in NY. The corner stone of their programs is online individual learning guided by “facilitators”. Look up New Tech Network. Read about their start and who funded them. There’s college readiness in kindergarten.
And in some ( maybe all ) parts of Florida, in order to graduate high school, kids MUST take at least one online course. Where is this all heading? Well the new testing company hired by New York, Questar, explains it for us.
Oh and by the way, did I mention that the tech firm Blackboard, owned by Richard Parson ( chair of the common core task ‘farce’ ) company that has million dollar contracts with the state ed dept., is used to provide the online courses? Follow the money.
We stick kids on some sort of online app or course and no longer need teachers —- just facilitators. These reformers are co opting the terms “project based learning ” and innovative. So parents hear those educators fighting the reforms using those terms as something we are striving for , something good. Then they hear reformers say that that is what they will do , and if they are not informed think it means something good. Don’t get me wrong. Tech has it’s place. Online learning may be good for some. But as the ultimate goal in education? No way in hell.”
Deborah Abramson Brooks shares:
“We should be screaming from the rooftops that having our kids sit at desks with computers all day is unacceptable — both in terms of physical eye strain and radiation issues, and in terms of education pedagogy. I do not send my child to school to learn via a computer. I want her to have interaction with her teachers and interaction with her peers. I want a human being to ask her questions and I want a human being to respond to her. I want her to hear what other children have to say and I want her to be able to respond to what other children have to say. I want her to develop listening skills, and speaking skills.
Loss of laughter in the classroom. Can’t tell you how many times my daughter comes home and tells me so and so teacher cracked her up, or said or did something silly to make the lesson fun, etc. Or so and so kid said or did something that contributed to the class. It’s worse than everyone being on their devices in a restaurant or on a date.
So much troubling about this. WHAT ARE OUR POLITICIANS THINKING?????”
New York children already think the reason to finish a book is simply to get to the next level of a test. How very, very devastating.
And this, from bought and sold media;
The president of NEA is joining forces with a school choice
advocate to present a new vision of education. The vision seeks to reimagine every aspect of the education system: moving from students as “passive vessels to be filled” to “co-creators of learning”; from “individual teachers expected to serve as content deliverers” to “networks of qualified adults facilitating learning and development”; from learning that is “localized in a school building” to learning that “occurs at many times, in many places, and through many formats”; from “standardized linear curricula divided into subjects” and “organized in age cohorts” to “contextualized curricula” matched to students’ distinctive needs, strengths and interests and organized in “diverse and shifting groups.”
Here in New York parents and teachers screaming from the roof tops of the corruption in education and the poisonous testing and common core agenda have perhaps inadvertently hastened this process. The quicker they try to shut down the masses of protests, the quicker they will put their plan into place to hide the testing and move to electronic learning. Teachers, if you don’t fight this, your craft will be swiftly destroyed. Parents will lose all insight into their child’s education. Testing will NOT slow but be constant and hidden. What is next for the oligarchs to do TO us?
Remember, the captain of this ship is a computer techie. A complete take over involving moving education online and out of the hands of educators (and parents) has been the end game all along.
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