Competency-Based Key Moves: Beginning with the Learner | Devin Vodicka | 2 Min Read

We need to begin with our learners. Historically, we’ve taken an outside-in approach in education, beginning with the needs of policymakers and working from there to implement assessment systems “to” students. We need to reverse that approach and begin with the learners.  We must start by designing to inform learning and then move to accountability once we are confident that we’ve achieved the primary purpose of empowering our students. 

By orienting first to our learners, we ensure that the utility of the assessment is optimized for the person who stands to benefit the most. In addition, by beginning with the learner we can shift from the student being a passive recipient of an externally-imposed assessment to an active, co-constructor of assessment as part of a meaningful learning cycle.

Just as the inputs are different in the emerging post-industrial, competency-based system, so too are the outputs — the “learner records.” Unlike report cards or transcripts that are historically organized by subjects or courses, the post-industrial, learner-centered system is also organized around the learner. Holistic learner profiles, digital portfolios, and other portable learner records are designed to inform ongoing learning. We are on the cusp of an era where students will…

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Devin Vodicka

Devin Vodicka is the CEO of Learner-Centered Collaborative and the author of Learner-Centered Leadership. He is also three-time California superintendent of the year (2016 AASA, 2015 ACSA, 2015 Pepperdine), Innovative Superintendent of the Year (2014 Classroom of the Future Foundation), and nine-time White House invitee, both in recognition for district-wide achievement, and to advise and partner with the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Educational Technology and Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools.