If state leaders want more student-driven learning in classrooms, creating policies that support teachers is critical. That’s according to a new report from iNACOL, a nonprofit that supports competency-based education.
The report outlines five recommendations for state policy leaders on how to help develop teachers so they’re prepared for competency-based instruction:
1. Convene a state task force to craft a unifying vision and road map. This task force should include a diverse group of stakeholders who can collaborate on what they think good teaching looks like. This kind of instruction should match how the state hopes to prepare its high school graduates.
2. Increase the diversity of the educator workforce. State leaders can identify barriers that stand in the way of a diverse teaching workforce, such as high tuition bills and loan repayments. The report authors recommend tackling college affordability in both undergraduate and graduate school.
3. Prepare teachers for learner-centered, competency-based, equity-oriented education. Leaders can see if teacher prep programs and professional development are aligned with competency-based instruction. One way to do this is by funding innovation pilots for experimentation in learner-centered instruction. Policymakers can also support micro-credentialing for teachers, so that they can build knowledge and skills in personalized learning over time.
4. Redesign teacher licensure and credentialing. State leaders can rethink what skills are necessary for teacher licenses and credentials in order to teach personalized learning. These skills may include different ways of assessing students, designing lessons and working with students who are progressing at their own pace. Teacher credentials can be multi-tiered to demonstrate how educators are advancing in their skills.
5. Build balanced systems of assessments that enable learner-centered, competency based, equity-oriented teaching. The report recommends designing assessments that balance measuring growth and proficiency and that show whether a student is at or below grade level. Allowing for portfolios in addition to traditional exams will also demonstrate the broader range of skills that a student learns.