When you decide to move forward with implementing competency-based education in your classroom, you're making a commitment to making some pretty big changes in your classroom environment and how you do things. Not only is it important for you to clearly communicate the change and any associated expectations to your students, but the details of the change also need to be communicated to parents. So this tutorial will focus on the main points that you may wish to cover in your communications with parents.
You'll want to begin with the basics. What is competency-based education? Many parents probably have never even heard of the term before. So in your initial communications, you'll want to explain what competency-based education is and also how it differs from more traditional education. Next it's important to explain to parents why you are making the switch to implementing competency-based education. Here you'll want to explain to parents that CBE helps to provide flexibility in order to help all students master the knowledge and skills that they are going to need, not only to be successful in their school years but also in college and other advanced educational opportunities and in their future careers. Let parents know that CBE supports a more personalized approach to learning that will allow you to more fully address each student's individual needs.
Parents will want to know, what are the specific changes that they'll see in their child's education? You can outline for parents how both instruction and assessment will change in the CBE environment. For example, are you going to be using technology in everyday instruction? Will you be implementing more open-ended learning activities? Will students be participating in individual or small group learning, or some combination of those? Explain how you'll be using both summative and formative assessments. And what will your policy be regarding zeros? Are you going to use zeros in the grade book, or are you instead of going to use incompletes?
And finally, explain to parents how the Learning Management System, or LMS, will be used to support the implementation of CBE. The use of an LMS has benefits for both students and their parents. An LMS will allow students to access their learning materials anytime and anywhere, as long as they have online access. Students can use a learning management system to access advanced applications and programs that will assist them in their online learning, to obtain immediate feedback from the system, and even to submit completed assignments to you.
Parents, meanwhile, can use the LMS to communicate with teachers efficiently and quickly. They might also have the opportunity to view the specific content that students are learning in class. And parents can use the LMS to monitor their child's progress in real time. They no longer need to wait for a report card to be mailed home in order to get a picture of how their child is doing in school.
In this tutorial, we discussed communicating with parents about making the shift to competency-based education. Important points that you may want to cover with parents include a basic overview of competency-based education, the reasons when you're choosing to implement it, the changes that parents will see, and specific details about how a learning management system will be used to support CBE.
Now it's your turn to stop and reflect. Think about how you might communicate these details to parents through an email or a letter home, perhaps, or through an open house evening that is held at your school. How do you think the parents in your school community would react to this information?
As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you may want to explore the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.
(00:00 - 00:27) Introduction
(00:28 - 00:44) What is CBE?
(00:45 - 01:16) Why Are We Using CBE?
(01:17 - 01:52) What Changes Will You See?
(01:53 - 02:48) How Will Our LMS Be Used?
(02:49 - 03:14) Review
(03:15 - 03:51) Stop and Reflect
Assessment & Reporting: Frequently Asked Questions
The Calgary Board of Education provides a site dedicated to the explanation of grading and assessment and expected outcomes. This site has useful language for communicating with parents.
Characteristics of a CBE System
This is a helpful graphic from P21 that outlines the characteristics of CBE. This is a useful tool when designing parent communication strategies.