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  • 1.  Competency Based Education in traditional courses

    Posted 11-06-2020 13:15:00
    Despite the complicated and difficult nature of setting up the course, I'm so grateful that I did transition to incorporating several aspects of Competency Based Education (also referred to as Mastery Based Grading) in my classes this term. Kate Wise from Hawkes is articulating a subset of the reasons I'm very glad I did:

    • Students advance when they master skills at a defined proficiency level -- so my students get a strong foundation in one skill to be able to use it in the next skill
    • Learning is more personalized, and
    • Emphasis on demonstrated learning over seat time -- so my student can progress through the easy-to-them topics as fast as they desire, and through the tougher ones more slowly
    • Transparency empowers and motivates learners -- YES! My students are so much more engaged in their own _learning_ not just point accumulation!
    • Assessment is continual part of the learning cycle -- both my students and I can see both where they are and the progress they've made toward mastery, which is highly motivating once they see they can actually improve their skills
    • Educators can offer more timely support -- the students are asking me questions about what they're learning _right now_ at the level they know it, allowing me to intervene in the most effective ways.
    • Students develop life-long learning habits -- I really, truly hope so! And based on what I'm seeing, I believe it will absolutely happen! (Not only learning habits, but it's completely changing learning mindsets among my students!)

    Barbra Steinhurst
    Portland CC
    Hillsboro OR

  • 2.  RE: Competency Based Education in traditional courses

    Posted 11-10-2020 21:33:00

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts about Competency Based Education/Mastery Based Grading. I agree with you completely. I use some components of Mastery Based Grading in my class, but I would like to transition the entirety of my classes to Mastery Based Grading. I missed it this year, but there is a group that hosts a Mastery Based Grading Conference every year. The website is, but they have not yet announced details of their 2021 Conference.


    Jon Oaks
    Instructor of Mathematics
    Macomb CC
    Warren MI