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What is the meaning of CBE and CBL?

Is it competency-based education or competency-based learning? CBE or CBL? What do they mean? Are they the same or different? Sometimes our terminology creates unnecessary barriers to our work.

Read this blog and we will help break it down for you and tell you what it all means in the field, and specifically to us.

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Planning Your CBE Journey

Before you begin your journey to competency-based education, you need to prepare for this change. Transitioning to CBE is so much more than just selecting and implementing competencies. It requires shifts in multiple and important areas related to mindsets, school culture, teaching and learning, systems and platforms, and traditional structures. The ultimate goal is to transform school into a just, equitable, and caring learning environment that meets the individual needs of all students.

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Mindset Shifts: Challenge your Thinking

  • Define your why
  • Clear mission/vision
  • Portrait of a Graduate
  • Personal and professional development for adults
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Continuous Improvement cycles

Instructional Shifts: Design for Engagement and Impact

  • Authentic and rigorous performance-based assessment
  • Student-centered and personalized to allow for voice and choice
  • Meaningful, engaging, and relevant learning experiences (PBL)
  • Maintain high expectations while providing scaffolding and access to all learners
  • Revision and feedback cycles
  • Teacher as facilitator of learning

School Culture Shifts: Build Strong and Meaningful Relationships

  • Advisory/Mentor program
  • Restorative practices
  • Circles
  • Trauma informed practices
  • Culturally responsive teaching
  • Safe environment that fosters risk taking for students and adults

Structural Shifts: Rethink Traditional Structures

  • Innovative scheduling
  • Additional time for teacher development and collaboration
  • Reallocation of resources (e.g. time, money, people, space)
  • Breaking down structures based on age, time, courses and grade levels
  • Learning outside of the four walls of school
  • Equitable grading systems

Systems Shifts: Transparently Track and Communicate Progress and Growth

  • Competency-based graduation requirements
  • Value academic and non-academic competencies equally
  • Progress/Growth/Crediting/Grading Policies and Guidelines
  • Student data dashboards, self-assessment, and goal setting (PLP)
  • Competency-based tracking platform designed to be student-facing
  • Data dashboards that integrate data across systems to view student progress

Getting Started with CBE Resources

This work is hard! When we started, there weren’t very many resources for us to use. That’s why we try to share as much as we can. We want to help you get started.

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