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How to Make Competency-Based Education Possible Using SpacesEDU

Competency-based education focuses on an individual’s competency, promoting a learner-centric approach where students progress after demonstrating mastery of certain skills.
Julia Wong
May 25, 2022

How to Make Competency Based Education Possible Using SpacesEDU

As we start to see a shift in education and classroom culture, we begin to see the focus shift to student growth and the importance of student participation using theories such as Competency-Based Education. With this change from traditional education, we see a shift towards differentiated instruction and assessment. What we are starting to see and what matters the most is equipping students with 21st-century skills and future-ready skills to become well-rounded adults ready to tackle their next steps after graduation and into their careers.

What is Competency-Based Education and Why Does it Matter?

Traditional approaches to education tend to focus on content knowledge. Students are often evaluated based on their ability to recall information and to demonstrate proficiency in particular tasks. In contrast, competency-based education focuses on the development of competencies, which are broader and more transferable across a range of contexts. These competencies may include things like critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Competency-based education promotes a learner-centric approach, as opposed to more teacher-centered approaches traditionally. Using competency-based education, students can take a more active role, and learn at their own pace with multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning. 

Through competency-based education and competency-based assessment, educators can help students build the skills necessary to reach post-secondary and career goals with a greater understanding of self and their own personal learning processes. Removing the stress of “failing” or “passing,” shifts the focus back to learning, while allowing students the confidence to make mistakes. As students build this confidence in the classroom, they start to feel empowered when mastering skills and more engaged in long-term growth and learning.

How to Make Competency-Based Education Possible Using SpacesEDU

Tracking Core Competencies Using Curriculum Tags and Proficiency Scales

SpacesEDU enables competency-based education through many of our features. Our most useful feature to support competency-based education is our Curriculum Tags. Teachers or Administrators can upload or create a set of core competencies within their SpacesEDU account. Once core competencies are added to the SpacesEDU account, teachers can correlate the educational content (Posts or Activities) with the competencies using Curriculum Tags. Educators can take that one step further by assessing a student on their development of competencies with Proficiency Scales. 

As students work through their classes and complete their assignments, they will be able to visually see their growth and progress towards a specific core competency. This helps students recognize the competencies that they have acquired and all of the competencies that have contributed to achieving mastery in a certain subject. 

Use curriculum tags in posts and activities to highlight students displaying core competencies like communication, collaboration and creative thinking!

Provide built-in formative assessments and feedback

As students work their way through assignments and activities within SpacesEDU, they’ll receive immediate feedback along the way. Students can receive feedback from teachers as well as families. This consistent feedback students receive from these formative assessments will help students improve their knowledge base so that they can continue to grow and apply that knowledge to future assignments and projects.

Allow students to reflect and self-assess on core competencies

Educators should provide students the opportunity to reflect on their experience and growth as it pertains to core competencies. When students reflect, they are given the ability to assess their own strengths and leverage those strengths, identify areas for improvement, set goals and make informed decisions about where to focus their efforts. Provide students with opportunities for reflection, by asking engaging prompts such as "What do you do when you disagree with someone in your group or discussion? How did you learn/develop that strategy?" or  "Can you provide an example of a time when you used critical thinking to solve a problem or make a decision?"

An Individual Space can be dedicated to students' reflections on core competencies. Work within this Space can be student-driven with their own posts, or students can comment on prompts created by educators! 

Students curate learning inside and outside the classroom

Competency-based education is flexible with students being able to demonstrate their knowledge and mastery, whenever and wherever it takes place. This enables students to take ownership of their learning and showcase the growth and work they feel most proud of. As students become curators, they are empowered to make their own learning decisions, applying and demonstrating their learning in their own personalized way.

Conclusion: Put competency-based education into action

Competency-based education helps students to develop and demonstrate mastery of a topic and prepares students for life beyond the classroom. The competency-based education model is one that holds a lot of promise for helping both educators and students create pathways for continual learning.


To better understand how to implement competency-based practices into your SpacesEDU classroom, learn from one of our Portfolio Experts by registering for an upcoming webinar, below.

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