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CBS ’Proved its Worth’ During Pandemic

WPS Competency Based System

A nationally recognized education website pointed to Westminster Public Schools as an example of how a competency based approach to education pays off when students have more control of their own learning.

K-12 DIVE profiled the district’s Competency Based System (CBS) in a news piece headlined “Colorado district's CBE approach may offer solutions to address learning gaps.”  The piece, which you can read here was published on Monday and focuses on how the pandemic has impacted learning.  

WPS Chief Education Officer Oliver Grenham and Jeni Gotto, Chief of Instruction and Assessment spoke at length with the publication about how a competency based system works and why it was especially effective during the COVID-19 pandemic. CBS requires students to show mastery of a learning topic before they advance to the next level. Some students move quickly while others are allowed to take more time to fill in learning gaps.

This approach proved especially effective during a time when students worked in both an in-person environment as well as remote online learning.

The authors of a report from Regional Educational Laboratory Central at Marzano Research, “Overview of Selected State Policies and Supports Related to K-12 Competency-based Education,” are fans of the competency based approach.

“With all the disruptions, revisiting competency-based education and personalized learning is relevant,” R. Marc Brodersen told K-12 DIVE. “You’re working with students where they are.”

The researchers found that nationwide while reading growth did not appear to be dramatically impacted by the pandemic, many students lost ground in math.