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Getting Smart Podcast

Dec 5, 2018

In this special episode of the Getting Smart Podcast, Erik Day and Mary Ryerse are (temporarily) kicking Caroline and Jessica out of the studio to talk about what they’ve learned (and shared) about competency-based education at the this year’s iNACOL Symposium.


Getting Smart staff recently published a landscape report on the state of competency-based education (CBE), entitled: “Show What You Know: A Landscape Analysis of Competency-Based Education,” which was discussed at a panel with Mary and a fantastic group of education thought leaders at the iNACOL Symposium. Following that, Mary had a conversation with Tom where they recapped their findings of the report, as well as some of the leading schools and districts that are personalizing learning and pacing.


In this episode, the Getting Smart team will be sharing portions of the panel and Mary’s subsequent conversation with Tom. You will be hearing from Michele Cahill, Managing Director of School Success, at XQ; David Ruff, Executive Director of Great Schools Partnership; and Shatoya Jordan Ward, the Principal of Purdue Polytechnic High School (at XQ). Tune in to hear their takes on competency-based education!


Key Takeaways:

[:14] About today’s special episode.

[1:16] Tom and Mary set the stage for the report.

[1:34] Mary’s favorite examples of competency-based learning in her own life.

[3:17] Mary and Tom discuss the premise of the report and how it all came to be.

[5:00] Why competency-based is more appropriate than measuring learning through grade levels.

[6:18] The importance of keeping equity at the forefront of competency-based learning.

[7:24] Mary introduces the thought leaders involved in the panel.

[7:38] Michele speaks about her time in New York City.

[8:45] What Shatoya has learned about competency-based learning.

[9:38] David shares his thoughts and passion for competency-based learning.

[10:17] Mary summarizes the five key themes they explored in the panel about competency-based learning.

[10:43] Mary and Tom discuss noteworthy model schools and networks.

[13:49] The panel’s thoughts on what makes a noteworthy model school or network.

[19:01] Tom and Mary discuss competency learning processes and tools.

[20:15] Tom mentions some promising partnerships where model schools are being developed in conjunction with toolsets.

[20:58] Mary talks about the importance of utilizing tools.

[21:25] Shatoya elaborates more on the tools and model at Purdue Polytechnic High School.

[24:11] Michelle talks about competency tools and their goals at XQ.

[27:38] The panel discusses well-informed assessments.

[29:41] The panels discusses some of the challenging parts of competency-based learning and some of the significant barriers involved.

[34:44] The importance of sharing and getting feedback.

[35:23] The panel discusses policy and advocacy around competency-based education.

[38:57] Michele and David answer an audience question about scaling competency-based education.

[43:39] Tom and Mary discuss how to best prepare teachers for (and support them in) competency-based environments.

[44:46] The panel’s observations on the subject of teacher prep.

[47:34] Mary’s final words for wrapping up this week’s episode and Erik’s recommendations for further listening.


Want to Listen to More on This Topic?

Take a listen to Episode 151 where Tom talks with Michael Fullan about how schools worldwide are redefining learning outcomes, and Episode 158, where Tom and Lydia Dobyns discuss why and how schools should work together in networks.


Mentioned in This Episode:


iNACOL Symposium
XQ Institute

Show What You Know: A Landscape Analysis of Competency-Based Education

Great Schools Partnership

Purdue Polytechnic High School

Lindsay Unified School District

League of Innovative Schools

Nokomis High School

Empower Learning
Teton Science School
DSST Public Schools


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