When leaders in the world outside of high school are asked what they value most in young people entering college or the workplace, they talk about leadership, teamwork, communication, problem solving, and work ethic. A "competency-based" system emphasizes the skills and knowledge students need to succeed in college, career, and the community. We call those skills and knowledge "competencies." All students need to show that they have met a high level of performance in competencies in order to pass classes and graduate. In addition, competencies are defined in a way that allow students to excel in areas of strength and interest.
LYNX students at Frederick High School have multiple pathways and opportunities to learn and demonstrate competencies, including structured classroom instruction, Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) and Experiential Learning with LYNX partners. LYNX students may participate in a combination of face-to-face, blended and virtual learning experiences.
- Learn. Learning happens in courses, programs, or experiences in and out of school. Teachers are clear about what students will learn and they share this with them. Teachers and students make choices about what and how students learn. Learning can be personalized for a student or the same for all students. Students can use what they have learned in new or different situations.
- Assess. Assessing happens when students produce work to show their level of understanding of one or more standards. This work is presented in a number of ways including products and demonstrations—such as tests, portfolios or projects, performances, or exhibitions. When students have gaps in learning, they can give evidence to fill those gaps and then move on.
- Help. Helping happens through extensions and support. Teachers and students work together to decide learning options and pace. When students achieve mastery, they can learn at a deeper level. If students are not yet showing what they know, they can get support. Students revise and redo work.
- Grade. Grading happens after teachers get evidence that tells them what students know (i.e., content) and are able to do (i.e., skills). This evidence could be tests, portfolios, performances, or exhibitions. Teachers use common grading practices (e.g., rubrics, scoring criteria) to give students specific feedback to improve their learning.
Scoring criteria describe levels of performance for each learning outcome. The use of common scoring criteria allows teachers and students flexibility and the opportunity for personalization while retaining the same rigorous career and college-ready expectations for all students.
To achieve our goal of personalized learning for all students, Frederick County Public Schools is working with Great Schools Partnership to transition to competency-based education at Frederick High School.