October 28, 2016 — I teach middle and high schoolers in ELA. Frequently I hear, “Why do we have to learn this?” or “When am I going to use this?” When I counsel with parents and students about online curriculum, they gravitate towards prescriptive software, so they don’t have to waste time covering material they already know.
As I talk with teachers across the country, I hear their concerns about standards alignment and competency. I feel the movement towards competency based assessment (CBE) benefits students, because it focuses on skills and removes busy work.
One tool for organizing a CBE approach lies in Moodle. This spring, Moodle HQ released a stable version of Moodle 3.1, that incorporates a robust tool for tracking competencies.
First, Moodle admins load a list of standards to a course from a variety of standards already listed in the Moodle competencies catalog. Alternately, they can write their own standards to use. Then, when creating assignments, teachers simply select the standards that the activity covers.
As the students navigate the course, teachers see how the students master each standard. They can easily see areas the students excel in and areas in which they need to invest more time.
Also, Students can view their own progress in the course. Teachers and/or students can draft learning plans for the course, using the competencies.
Finally, teachers can set rules within Moodle to assist students. By using this feature, they assign tasks to students based on their previous work. They can either block an assignment until a student achieves competency in a previous task, or they can assign additional assignments if a student fails to be successful in an earlier assignment.
The CBE features in Moodle give power to teachers and students for measuring growth within a course. Teachers also gain tools to provide data to districts about student growth, saving time in the process. Students also save time by concentrating their time in the course on the areas in which they have the greatest need.