How might we support learners in...

Beginning at a level appropriate to their prior knowledge and learning needs

Example Strategies

Use all available data to determine where a learner falls on the appropriate learning progression for major and sub skills
Example: Teacher and learners regularly review data to set goals and adjust learning and instruction.

Partner with learners to identify the most suitable learning format for their current academic level (e.g., class, groupings, activities, software)
Example: A teacher has regular check-ins with individual learners after learning activities to discuss how successfully they learned something, and what that says for the types of learning activities they should focus on moving forward.

Design learning experiences that explicitly connect new content to prior knowledge and skills
Example: Using a learner profile, a teacher intentionally designs mini-lessons to build upon her learners’ past experiences and strengths.

Articulate short- and long-term learning expectations that are appropriate for learners’ current
academic levels
Example: A teacher sets goals with learners on which steps of a project learners will complete in a week.

Assess learners during the first parts of any lesson/unit to determine the starting points on their learning paths, then continue with dynamic, fluid grouping changes to prevent “tracking”
Example: A teacher starts each class with an entrance ticket to check for understanding, and then creates dynamic groups for mini-lessons or independent work that learners can opt into based on their needs.

How might we support learners in...

Engaging in productive struggle

Example Strategies

Provide feedback that is objective and non-judgmental to reinforce a learner’s sense of control for improving his/her mastery
Example: A teacher eliminates all language from his feedback that denotes fixed conditions such as “you’re smart” or “you’re talented.”

Encourage learners to experiment and try multiple strategies to solve problems
Example: A teacher gives an assignment where learners are assessed not only on successfully solving a problem, but by how many ways they can think of to solve the problem.

Create rigorous learning experiences that involve multiple points of “failure” and require perseverance by learners
Example: A teacher has a board in her room where learners publicly share examples of times they have “failed” and what they learned from the experience.

Encourage learners to reflect and report on effort and strategies as often as reporting on results
Example: A teacher ends every class by having learners publicly share examples of peers putting forth great effort or using successful strategies.

Provide flexible time to allow learners to struggle/work on a problem or project for an extended period of time
Example: A teacher implements a “workshop” block of time each day for learners to work on a range of projects and tasks at their own pace, but with set deadlines to maintain rigorous expectations. It allows learners to spend more time on challenging content and accelerate through easier content based on their skills.

How might we support learners in...

Progressing at a pace that fits their learning needs

Example Strategies

Create learning menus and vertical alignment of activities
Example: A teacher creates a document listing out multiple activities and sources of information for learning about and practicing a specific learning target.  Students then choose which resources to use to reach the given target.

Use formative assessment and learner feedback to enable advancement if a learner has mastered the objective needed to move onto the next objective
Example: Students are allowed to skip a unit test and move on to the next topic if they have shown mastery of the content through earlier quizzes and assignments.

Allow learners to move through content at varied rates regardless of their starting level
Example: A teacher has designated “assessment blocks” during the week when students may take mastery assessments on a topic when they feel ready.

Provide a daily workflow of formative assessment, intervention and feedback to learners
Example: A teacher establishes a transparent system using an online learning management system (LMS) for learners to take micro-assessments, receive or seek support based on results, and get direct feedback from a teacher or peer.

Clarify deadlines about the pace of progress and what happens when learners take a longer or shorter time than peers
Example: As students work through content at their own pace, the teacher provides a suggested pace guide which explains to students by when they should master different concepts. It also explains the different supports that will be given to students who are not keeping up with the pace guide.

How might we support learners in...

Demonstrating competency when ready

Example Strategies

Offer learners opportunities to gauge and discuss their readiness for demonstrating competency
Example: A teacher offers learners “Checks for Understanding” throughout a unit, where learners can self-assess on how much they understand so far. They then discuss with a partner what they know and what they need to go back and learn some more.

Allow learners flexible, ongoing and repeated opportunities to demonstrate competency
Example: A teacher creates a system so if learners don’t “pass” on an attempt, they may go back, learn and practice the content in different ways, and attempt the assessment again when ready.

Provide learners with on-demand access to assessments
Example: A teacher “flips” the classroom and learners are given assessment options to choose from when they feel ready.

Coach learners to self-reflect on their level of competency
Example: A teacher has his learners rate their perceived level of mastery in their journals on a daily basis to build self-awareness.

Model strategies for learners to confirm their level of competency prior to formal assessments
Example: A teacher creates a system of “peer-teacher-pretest” in which learners teach another learner a topic and determine, through that experience, if they are ready for a formal assessment.

How might we support learners in...

Demonstrating evidence of learning in multiple ways

Example Strategies

Provide learners with access to multiple assessment options
Example: A teacher provides learners a menu of options for how to show their understanding of a concept.

Support learners to co-create the rubric based on the learning objective(s)
Example: A teacher and a subgroup of learners co-create a rubric that will be used for assessing their project.

Co-design with learners multiple ways for demonstrating competency with standards
Example: A teacher works with their class to develop a menu of options for how to show understanding at the end of a unit (make a movie, draw a diagram, give a presentation, etc.).

Leverage digital platforms and multimedia to capture multiple forms of learning and build an ePortfolio
Example: A teaching team shifts to an ePortfolio platform to capture all work on a daily basis and provide multiple means of documenting and showing learning progress.

Partner with learners to select the content, product or process they will use to demonstrate proficiency, as well as devise the methods that will be used to show evidence of their learning
Example: A teacher and learner work together to develop learning plans, including goals, strategies for learning, tools needed and how learning will be demonstrated.

How might we support learners in...

Receiving recognition based on demonstrated competency (not seat time)

Example Strategies

Identify which competencies need to be met to obtain credit, advance and/or receive other recognitions for learning
Example: A team of teachers establishes a competency map across levels that enables assessments to be taken regardless of perceived “grade level.”

Ensure that learners are clear about expectations and requirements for recognition
Example: The team of teachers adjusts their report card to be proficiency based and hold regular mini-conferences with learners to check their understanding of their progress.

Create an organized and accessible system for tracking evidence of learning (e.g., performance, assessment, credits and competency progression)
Example: A school team adopts a digital portfolio platform that is accessible by parents, learners and teachers and provides transparent issuing of recognition for work.

Change classroom policies for learning recognition and progression that take into account varying speeds of learner competency
Example: A teacher removes the weekly summative assessment on the same standard for all learners, and she implements a new system with flexibility – but with set expectations – around when learners demonstrate competency.

Provide learners with copies of standards/objectives to keep in their digital data binder. Learners can record when each standard/objective is taught, learned, mastered, etc.
Example: A teacher models for and supports science learners to design and develop their digital data binder over time.