Source: Image of Plus/Minus/Delta chart, created by Jody Waltman
In this tutorial, we'll reflect on the implementation of competency-based education with a focus on a deeper learning and authentic instruction and assessment. And we're going to use a plus-minus-delta chart to guide our reflection. So we'll begin by just reviewing that idea of a plus-minus-delta chart, and then I will model the reflection process for you based on my experiences. I hope that this modeling of the reflection process will help you to, in turn, reflect on your own implementation of CBE.
Let's begin by reviewing the plus-minus-delta idea. A plus-minus-delta delta chart has three columns. The plus column is where you indicate things that are going well, or things that are working. In the minus column, you record things that are not working so well. And the delta column is used to track your ideas for opportunities for improvement. So specifically, within the context of CBE, we can use the plus column in our plus-minus-delta chart to record noted benefits of CBE in our classrooms.
In the minus column, we can record some anticipated challenges, or if we've already started to implement CBE, we can record the challenges that we've already faced. Finally, in the delta column, we can track any ideas that we might have for better incorporating CBE in order to meet our students' needs.
So I will model this process for you based on my experiences, but, of course, your own personal experiences are going to vary. So while you can use my reflection as a jumping off point, I encourage you to actually spend some time here thinking about how you would fill in this plus-minus-delta chart for yourself in the context of incorporating CBE. With that focus, again, on the deeper learning and the authentic instruction and assessment.
So for me, in the plus column-- the things that are working well with CBE or the potential benefits of implementing CBE with my students. I know that focusing on the individual competencies, identifying those specific key knowledge and skills for my students, helps me to better focus on what I want to cover in my instruction. And it also helps my students to track their progress, as well. One particular strategy that I have found really helpful is to rewrite my standards as "I can" statements.
And I actually have posted these "I can" statements for my geometry course all over my classroom walls. My students can refer these "I can" statements in order to help them to see the big picture and see where we're going with the instruction. But I find that I actually refer to the "I can" statements maybe just as often as the students do. Because as I am trying to decide what examples to use in a lesson or what skills I want to focus on in a particular day's lesson, I look at that list of "I can" statements to determine whether the examples I've chosen or whether the exercises that I'm including in the lesson really are in line with the specific skills that I want students to be practicing.
Now, in the minus column, some of the challenges with facilitating CBE, either anticipated or already happening. For me the biggest challenge with CBE is just the logistics. In a classroom of 20 or 30 students, how can we actually logistically approach this idea of CBE?
One idea that I have used this year in my classroom is adaptive learning technology. My district has implemented one-to-one digital devices, so students are able to access this adaptive learning technology from their own individual device. I can, in the background of the software, indicate the specific skills that I want students to be working on, and then they can work through the instructional and assessment modules at their own pace.
So even though that particular element might actually be considered a plus, that my students have access to this technology, a minus that I found here that goes hand-in-hand with that technology, is I find it makes me feel a little removed from my students. I'm not interacting with them as much as I normally would be when they are so engaged in the instruction and the assessment on their devices. So for me, that has been a minus.
So in the delta column now, this is where we can try to brainstorm some ideas for incorporating the strengths of CBE into our classrooms in order to better meet students' learning needs. So for me, a delta is that I would like to try to find ways to keep on using that adaptive learning technology, but also to combine that with other instructional strategies that would help me to feel more connected to my students on a day-to-day basis instead of just having them spend so much time focusing on their screens.
And now it's your turn to stop and reflect. Please take that plus-minus-delta chart and put it to use with your own reflection process. 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 joining me today. Have a great day.
(00:00 - 00:32) Introduction
(00:33 - 00:54) Plus/Minus/Delta Charts
(00:55 - 01:26) Plus/Minus/Delta Charts for CBE Reflection
(01:27 - 04:50) Model Reflection
(04:51 - 05:23) Stop and Reflect
Reflections of Deeper Learning: Deeper Learning In Practice
This is one in an American Youth Policy Forum series of reflections that include implications for Deeper Learning.
Montgomery County Public Schools: 10 Basic Quality Tools for the Classroom
Scroll down to see an overview of and resources for using Plus Minus Deltas to reflect on teaching and learning. This tool helps you reflect on what is working well, what needs to be changed, and ideas on how to change those instructional practices.