This blog was originally published on EdNC and is the fifth piece in a five-part series of perspectives from RTI International on competency-based education amid COVID-19. Follow along with the rest of the series here.
The North Carolina State Board of Education approved the submission of the Report to the North Carolina General Assembly about Competency-Based Assessment and Teaching Models on May 7, 2020.
Included in the approval was a transmittal letter from Chairman Eric Davis requesting further discussion about competency-based education (CBE) between the General Assembly, the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI), and the Board. Davis’ letter states that this discussion would cover the complexity of transitioning to a new learning and assessment system and include “consideration of the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of instruction that continuously meets the needs of students, particularly in situations requiring stay-at-home orders.”
The report was initially brought to the Board for discussion on April 2. During that presentation, two questions arose:
- Knowing that one of the biggest barriers to moving in the direction of CBE is community support and shared understanding of what CBE is, how can North Carolina move toward CBE?
- Is the emergency remote learning response to COVID-19 the impetus to begin a statewide CBE journey?
Addressing barriers and shared understanding
The aforementioned report includes a definition of CBE that was created in partnership between North Carolina’s Regional Education Laboratory Southeast Alliance — which includes DPI — and educators across the state.
As a personalized learning approach, CBE provides a flexible and engaging learning environment in which progression is based on mastery of explicit learning objectives, or competencies, as demonstrated through evidence of student learning, rather than the time spend in a course/topic.
The Alliance also worked with educators and its members to develop a CBE Mastery Framework.